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Nissan e-NV200 Electric Van Concept: 2012 Detroit Auto Show

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Okay, so an electric van isn't as exciting as a hybrid supercar like the Acura NSX concept, or even a fuel-efficient, sporty compact like the 2013 Dodge Dart - but it's still an important vehicle.

That's because the regular Nissan NV200 is soon to be servicing New York City as the official replacement for the trusty Crown Vic. Nissan has been testing an electric variant for some time now, with examples under trial with the Japan Post Service and FedEx in London.

The Nissan e-NV200 electric van concept has gone on display at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, and more images have been released.

The e-NV200 concept bears a strong resemblance to the well-known Nissan Leaf, and it's not just the Leaf's striking Sky Blue Metallic paint.

Much of the front end looks similar, from the aerodynamically-styled headlights, through the chrome strip in the bumper, to the small, round fog lights and the charging port cover. The wheels too look suitably high tech, to suit the unorthodox powertrain.

The rest is much more minivan or delivery van, depending on the angle. Sliding side doors make rear access easy and at the back it's all business, with a top-hinged tailgate. Only the fancy rear lights and lack of a tailpipe mark it out from a regular delivery van.

Rather than coming up with an all-new powertrain, Nissan has sensibly chosen to fit the e-NV200 with parts from the Leaf. That means a 90kW, 24kWh battery with an 80kW AC electric motor, producing over 200 pounds-foot of torque from a standstill.

Nissan has no concrete plans for series production just yet, but seems keen.

"A vehicle like the Nissan e-NV200 Concept would energize the current compact van market in more ways than one - helping to improve the quality of urban life and providing a smart financial investment for large and small businesses alike," explained Nissan's corporate vice-president, Hideto Murakami.

For more auto show news, check out our full 2012 Detroit Auto Show guide.

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