Nissan Doesn’t Just Make Electric Cars: It Makes Electric Trucks, Vans Too

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Nissan e-NT400 Electric Truck

Nissan e-NT400 Electric Truck

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Nissan might be about to celebrate the end of one year selling its all-electric Leaf, but it isn’t just making passenger vehicles green: It’s electrifying its whole fleet.

That was the message Nissan sent out last week when it unveiled a range of all-electric commercial plug-in vehicles at the 2011 Tokyo Truck Show.

Featured on display was Nissan’s gasoline NV200 Vanette Taxi, the vehicle set to form the backbone of the New York Taxi fleet from 2013. And while Nissan hasn’t yet displayed an all-electric version of the NV200 light-duty van the NV200 Vanette is based on, it isn’t far away from doing so, according to Nissan Corporate Vice President Hideto Murakami.

“In addition to passenger EVs such as the Nissan leaf, Nissan will focus efforts on developing and disseminating commercial EVs with the aim of becoming the leader in the field of zero-emissions,” Mr. Hideto said in an official Nissan press release.  “We are currently making preparations to release a new EV based on the LCV NV200”.

The news comes weeks after Nissan entered into an agreement with rival Japanese automaker Mitsubishi to purchase to sell a rebadged Nissan version of a Mitsubishi i-MiEV-derived commercial van for the Japanese domestic market. 

But it doesn’t stop with small commercial vehicles. 

Nissan NV200 Taxi

Nissan NV200 Taxi

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Also on display at the event was an all-electric concept delivery truck, which Nissan says could be used to offer zero-emission delivery services in city environments. 

Called the e-NT400 Atlas Concept, the truck was built using components developed for the Nissan Leaf. As such, Nissan claims up to 62 miles of range using the Japanese JC08 mode . Given the Japanese test cycle’s notorious over-exaggeration of real-world range, expect the e-NT400 to obtain between 40 and 50 miles of real-world range.

In addition to the all-electric e-NT400, Nissan displayed two trucks which, while powered by diesel, made use of large battery packs to provide extra functionality when the vehicle was stationary.

The first. a refrigerated truck, will help keep refrigerated deliveries cool without requiring the truck’s engine to be running constantly. Using a large lithium-ion battery pack, a high-efficiency air-conditioning unit can keep the truck’s load area cool for many hours while the vehicle is not running. 

But perhaps the most interesting of all to electric car drivers is the Atlas F24 Power Supply Truck. 

Powered by a regular gasoline engine, the truck is equipped with 72 kilowatt-hours of battery packs -- again developed from the standard Nissan Leaf battery pack -- which can provide backup emergency power to run a 20-person office or an entire neighborhood for many hours. 

What does this mean for car drivers? Quite simply, the commercial vehicle market is much more lucrative -- and larger -- than any domestic car market. 

In chasing the larger, commercial vehicle market, advances in battery technology for larger, more powerful vehicles will no doubt trickle down into electric car technology. 

And that can only be a good thing. 


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Comments (15)
  1. good for nissan - everyone else needs to play catch-up.

  2. "In chasing the larger, commercial vehicle market, advances in battery technology for larger, more powerful vehicles will no doubt trickle down into electric car technology."
    Pollyanna-ish thinking. No logic here.

  3. Nissan is really on a roll with their EV development, its good to see a major manufacturer make an effort to take the lead.

  4. evs will take over just like pcs did, like ipods did, like iphones did.

    i keep repeating - 10 years from now, i am wondering who is gonna want to put new bucks into what will then be seen by everyone as a technology going the way of the dinosaur.

  5. this has been known for quite awhile by those in the know. in the past 10 years around here, gas stations are never being rebuilt.

    before that, when one went down, it was back up with new tanks, etc.

    no one has been putting money back into gas stations once major renovations are needed.

    that is one of the biggest tell-tale signs in the preceding 10 years.

    right now, they have to balance the two, cuz they still want to sell us new cars, and they simply are still at the beginning stages of making evs.

    which has a lot to do with the price being high. there has to be something to induce these current buyers to purchase a new ice.

    so we will continue to see enough improvement in the evs to sell the cars that they can manufacture.

  6. Not sure where YOU live, but in my area, smaller stations are shutting down and being replaced with larger ones with more pumps. Probably due to increased regulation of fuel tanks & the economics of the business, which sells gas at little profit to make heaps of money on salty snack foods & sugary sodas.

  7. i guess your area is different from mine and cdspeed's areas.

  8. I have seen this happen allot there are numerous gas stations in my area that are abandoned. Owners of these stations have closed them up because they can't afford required updates. Now homeless people have taken to living under the old overhangs. There are so many of them sitting in ruin you could almost start a tour of failed gas stations, though I don't think many tourists would be interested.

  9. Oh don't worry I completely agree with you. So you have no need to repeat yourself to me. And don't forget iPads, the first gen iPad came out, the competition came out with theirs and now the notebook computer is starting to decline.

  10. hi cd,

    i was just repeating, not necessarily to you - LOL.

    it all makes me chuckle. i liken it to everyone adding a snowflake to the snowball, thinking it is gonna make a difference.

    the snowball is gonna come down the mountain now, come hell or high water.

    we got people talking about the battery being too expensive or too heavy or not enough range, etc. etc.

    all these things will "magically improve" as they sell more and more evs.

    i am not a car-person like you. my main interest is simply getting off oil, and the wars and other problems that are caused by it.

  11. It's funny I've always liked cars, but I don't like gasoline. I hate the smell of it, it will catch fire with the smallest spark, but the worst part is the exhaust. I can't stand exhaust I feel like I can't breath when I'm standing near a running car, or my lawn mower. And as you said we need to break our oil addiction, sadly most people don't realize how bad our oil addiction is because they've been addicted since the day they were born.

  12. hi cd,

    i am just thankful that it is finally happening. i have followed it for the past 20 years. a couple of other times it looked like something might happen and then got snuffed out.

    but there have been signs in the past 10 years that it is coming - the closing of gas stations is a big one.

    the change does need to come gradually. the car companies are just starting the process of reducing ices while they make evs.

    they need to stay in business, so it is gonna take a few years for the transition. but i do think 10 years is ample time to make the change.

    when that time comes, the consumer will no longer want an ice, because there will no longer be any reason to own one.

    batteries are still in their infancy.

  13. I don't get the comment that "the commercial vehicle market is much more lucrative -- and larger -- than any domestic car market". The commercial vehicle market might be more willing to spend the extra dollars for EVs than consumers (reduced maintenance, operating costs, pollution reduction goals, etc.), but surely the consumer market is much, much, much larger.

  14. Hey Mike ... I believe what Nikki was trying to convey was that the global commercial vehicle market is larger than any one national market (the largest being China and then the U.S.). Will have to check if that's factually accurate, though. I'll drop her a note. Thanks for the heads-up.

  15. Hi John,

    One of my colleagues suggested that the *current* market for commercial vehicles is larger (and more ready to adopt) EVs than the current consumer car market. This might be true since fleets typically look at lifetime costs (which include operating and maintenance costs) versus only the acquisition cost that most consumers consider.

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