Nissan e-NV200 concept

There are two directions automakers can go to produce a vehicle with electric propulsion – be it a hybrid or an outright EV: make it look the same as any other car, or make it stand out. Like Toyota (for example) did with the Prius, Nissan made the Leaf look (for better or worse) unlike a conventional sedan. But while Toyota answered the call for more space with the equally "distinctive" Prius V, Nissan has gone a different route in producing a bigger brother for the Leaf.

That route is called the e-NV200, pictured above in concept form. And while the nose, unique shade of blue and electric powertrain are conceptually borrowed from the Leaf, the rest is nearly identical to the existing NV200 van that is being rolled out in New York as the city's new taxi of choice.

Nissan has just announced the production of the e-NV200, set to start next year at the same plant in Barcelona, Spain, as the conventionally-powered NV200. As a result, Nissan will hire 700 more workers at the plant and invest some €100 million (U.S. $126 million at today's exchange rates). Details like projected cost and annual capacity are not to be found in the press release below, but Nissan does say the electric van will be built starting some time in fiscal year 2013, which we take to mean before the end of March 2014.
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NISSAN TO PRODUCE 100% ELECTRIC VAN IN BARCELONA
- Electric variant of NV200 to launch in 2013-


- All-new 100% electric e-NV200 to enter production in FY13
- Nissan's second all-electric vehicle allocated to Barcelona Plant
- Major project investment by Nissan of €100 mn in Spain
- More than 700 jobs to be created at Nissan and its Spanish suppliers
- Multi-use vehicle providing families and businesses with unique driving experience
- Interior functionality and cargo capacity similar to existing NV200 with class-leading running costs


BARCELONA, Spain (May 23, 2012) - Today Nissan announced that a 100% electric compact van, the e-NV200, will go into production at its Barcelona plant in the 2013 Financial Year.

The new model will be based on the existing award-winning NV200 currently produced at the plant and will be an important and innovative addition to Nissan's global range of light commercial vehicles (LCV's).

e-NV200 will become Nissan's second all-electric vehicle (EV) following the launch of the multi-award winning Nissan LEAF in 2010, underlining Nissan's long-term commitment to zero emission mobility.

The new model, which represents €100 million investment by Nissan in Spain, is expected to create around 700 new jobs at the plant and throughout its local supplier base.

As the sole producer of e-NV200, Barcelona will supply world markets highlighting the growing competitiveness of Nissan's Spanish industrial operations. Last week a new medium duty truck was allocated to Nissan's Avila Plant in central Spain.

e-NV200 will provide both businesses and families with functional and roomy interior space and will retain the host of innovative and practical features of the current NV200 line up combined with the most advanced powertrain components of the Nissan LEAF.

This will deliver a driving range similar to the Nissan LEAF on a single charge and similar performance, together with best in class running and maintenance costs.

Andy Palmer, Nissan Executive Vice President, said: "e-NV200 represents a genuine breakthrough in commercial vehicles and further underlines Nissan's leadership within the electric vehicle segment.

"The new model will offer all the spaciousness, versatility and practicality of a traditionally powered compact van, but with zero CO2 emission at the point of use and also provide an outstanding driving experience that is unique to EV's.

"Crucially, it will also offer class-leading running and maintenance costs, which makes it an exceptionally attractive proposition to both businesses and families."

e-NV200 will also make a significant contribution to Nissan's aim of becoming the world's largest LCV manufacturer by 2016 as a key pillar of the Nissan Power 88 mid-term plan.

Last year Nissan achieved an historic milestone of selling more than one million LCV's worldwide in a single year.

Andy Palmer added: "e-NV200 represents a bold and innovative addition to our commercial vehicle range, which is already one of the broadest of any manufacturer.

"I would like to thank the Spanish and Catalonian Government for their continued support of Nissan in Spain, and congratulate the Barcelona workforce for earning the right to produce what will be an extremely important model for Nissan globally."

The current NV200 line up has already sold around 100,000 units. Its popularity led it to be chosen as the next generation New York City 'Taxi of Tomorrow' following a rigorous selection process.

Currently, intensive evaluations of prototype NV200-based electric vehicles are being carried out in Europe. Trials will continue in coming months in order to provide real-world feedback from the most demanding usage. Feedback will help Nissan to fulfill exact customer requirements ahead of the start of production expected in FY13.