Nissan officially started production of its second electric vehicle, the Nissan e-NV200 small van, at its assembly plant in Barcelona, Spain.
The battery-electric van blends the powertrain of a Nissan Leaf battery-electric hatchback, including its in-floor battery pack and electric motor driving the front wheels, with the tall body of the NV200 small van.
That vehicle is now sold only with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine in North America, supplied from a plant in Mexico.
FedEx to trial Nissan e-NV200 electric vanEnlarge Photo
Barcelona, however, will be the sole assembly plant for the electric NV200, Nissan said, including e-NV200 vans that will be exported to its home country of Japan--starting this June.
The company has not yet revealed, however, whether it has firm plans to launch the e-NV200 in North America. It will be offered in Europe and Asia as both a passenger vehicle and a light commercial van.
The NV200 formed the basis of New York City's "Taxi of Tomorrow," but that vehicle has had a slow rollout now that a court blocked its mandatory use for all taxis in the city.
Barcelona will be the world's first city to use fully electric e-NV200 vans as taxi cabs; British Gas has also order 100 of the e-NV200 commercial vans for service and delivery use.
The new electric van will add to Nissan's position as the world's highest-volume maker of battery-electric vehicles. As of last month, it had sold more than 110,000 Leafs in almost three and a half years.
Nissan suggested that increasingly strict European limits on vehicular carbon emissions, along with plans for emission-free zones in some center cities, make an electric delivery van suitable for launch in many European countries.