Nissan is getting into the light commercial vehicle market in the U.S. next year with its new NV2500 and, possibly, with the NV200 that debuted in Geneva this week. The NV200 is a compact van based on Nissan's European B-segment platform used for the Micra. It can be configured as a seven-passenger van or a cargo van with up to 145 cubic feet of cargo room. In Europe, it's powered by gas or diesel engines of 1.5L or 1.6L capacities.
However, if we get the NV200 here there is a distinct possibility that it could come with electric drive. While we were running around in Switzerland, our good friend Mike Levine from PickupTrucks.com was at the NTEA work truck show in Chicago. There he caught up with Joe Castelli, Nissan's vice president of light commercial vehicles and fleet, and they discussed alternative drive possibilities. Castelli told Mike that, "dA hybrid or electric vehicle has to be considered for commercial vehicles."
Just as Ford has concluded with its upcoming Transit Connect EV, Castelli admits, "Electric vehicles aren't going to work if you're driving 300 miles a day on the road. But if I'm at a construction site all day or I'm a florist making lots of stops a quarter-mile apart than I can get away with an electric vehicle."
Given Nissan's major emphasis on electric vehicles in the coming years, it makes perfect sense to electrify a vehicle like the NV200. Packaging a battery under the flat load floor would be relatively straightforward and the short range duty cycle for commercial applications would play to the electric's strengths. Castelli even acknowledged that electric or hybrid drive is not out of the question for the larger NV2500.