There have been numerous brief test drives of the upcoming Nissan EV in the last few months. All of those drives took place in a Nissan test mule which was essentially a second generation Nissan Cube fitted with the EV power train. Now, Nissan has been offering test drives in an updated EV prototype which utilizes the much more compact Nissan Versa. So how does this vehicle perform?

First off, the Versa is much closer to the dimensions and general layout as the soon-to-be unveiled EV. It does not have a spacious cabin as the Cube does, nor does it have the excessive interior room to house any of the EV power train components. The Versa is a great vehicle to test out the EV power train as it closely emulates what we expect of the production version.

On to the driving experience. Journalist Martyn Williams of the IDG News Service had a chance to take this Versa-based EV for a brief ride.

The vehicle has room for four to five people and can reach a top speed of 140 kph. Additionally, it travels up to 160 km on a single charge. This much is already known.

According to Martyn, what stands out most about the EV is that it simply blends in. The performance is similar to any other car in this class. It handles well and performs as expected. He said the only real indication that you are driving an electric vehicle is the battery indicator on the dashboard. The vehicle stands out for being ordinary.

The vehicle accelerates quickly out of corners and is extremely quiet while operating. In fact it is so quiet that Nissan is thinking of adding noise to give audible warnings to pedestrians.

The vehicle has its 80 kw electric motor in the old engine bay area and the batteries are positioned under the rear seat and do not intrude on seating or cargo area. It should be capable of charging fully in 16 hours on a 110 volt outlet or 8 hours on 220.

Though the full production vehicle is not available for test drives, the Versa with the EV power train is close to the real thing. It packages all of the EV components into a compact vehicle and performs admirably. The production car will launch globally, including in selected US markets, in only a little over a year and the excitement is growing.

Positive reviews of the Nissan EV over the last few months have made this vehicle highly anticipated. We will be seeing the real car in just two days.  Stay tuned!

Source: InfoWorld