Nissan Insider caught up with Nissan’s LCV sales and marketing director, Francis Bleasdale, to have a chat about the electric NV200.
What’s the set-up with the electric NV200?
We’re getting right hand drive prototypes from Japan, and it is a van that has the LEAF’s battery technology, motor and IT system Carwings, so it is more or less the vehicle that will come to production.
We’ve got a trial with FedEx in which the van will be going into FedEx’s warehouse in Leyton for two months, and tested in the London area where it will be compared to an NV200 diesel.
Our engineers will be able to get an understanding of the electric NV200 in normal everyday operation, such as how do drivers use windscreen wipers, lights and the radio, and how different payloads will affect the van. We hope to have more trials with other companies too. Click here for more on Nissan’s trials with FedEx
Why is it purely the NV200 that is becoming electric?
I think the relationship between range and battery capacity better lends itself to the small van sector. At the moment, the NV200 is the right vehicle to go forward with this. In the future? Who knows? As battery technology develops, there will be other applications with bigger gross vehicle products. Smaller LCVs also give us a better volume opportunity.
How does it compare to other small electric vans, like the Ford Transit Connect electric?
The NV200 was designed from the outset to take the EV powertrain; it’s not a converted product. So the electric NV200 will be built from the ground up in the factory as an electric van, and we’re not relying on a converter to do it for us. That means it will be more efficient in production and lead-time, and will ultimately deliver a more competitive proposition.
It really sums up Nissan’s attitude to be the number one zero-emissions maker…
Absolutely. For us to make the next leading step in electric vehicle technology is amazing, and for us to have this kind of technology in LCVs is testament to our desire to also become number one in this sector.
Will the trials of the electric NV200 help sales?
There are two things I think it can help – one, it can allow us to understand how to build a product that is relevant for customers today, and enable them to convert to electric with confidence. Secondly, with some of the operators we are having discussions with, there is an immediate sales opportunity. It is about increasing their levels of trust in changing a proportion of their fleet to electric.