Nissan preps for Electric Microvan road test

The Nissan e-NV200 is a pure-electric version of the gas-powered NV200 microvan. The automaker has just announced it will start field tests of its e-van this month in Saitama City (Saitama Prefecture) in Japan.

The Saitama City tests are among the latest performed by Nissan, which has been testing the e-NV200 in various locations since 2011. Elsewhere in Japan, for example, the EV have already been put through its paces by the AEONMALL Corporation and Coca-Cola Central Japan Co. FedEx Express ran its tests over in Singapore while British Gas drove the EVs around Europe.

image via Nissan

Saitama, for its part, will use the Nissan e-NV200 as part of its business routine between city hall and the various municipal offices. The EV is part of the city’s E-KIZUNA project which is looking on how such vehicles can deal with global warming and low-carbon emissions. Nissan, besides providing the vans, is also assisting with the development of charging stations and even how to promote EVs. Saitama, eventually, plans to use the data it gathers from the field test to recommend EVs into its vehicle fleet.

The Nissan e-NV200 made its debut here in the states last year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Like its fossil-burning sibling, the EV has a similar cargo space of 145 feet and 1,700-pound payload capacity. However, it borrows its powertrain from the Nissan Leaf which means it’s powered by a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery coupled to an 80 kW electric motor. Fuel economy, according to the automaker, is roughly the same (129 mpge city/102 mpge highway/115 mpge combined) despite the e-NV200′s greater weight. Note that while the Nissan NV200 will hit the streets of New York later this year as the city exclusive taxi cab, the e-NV200 is tentatively scheduled to go into production around 2017.

* Joel Arellano, EarthTechling