As we count down the days to the Detroit Auto Show media preview (24 days from today), the announcements of new cars and concepts are now coming in regularly.

Or should we say announcements of announcements?

Evoking Honda's logo release yesterday, Nissan says it will show off an "innovative electric van concept" without providing either details or photos. Here's the full description:

This concept previews a future production version of a full electric vehicle designed to provide businesses or families with flexible, roomy cargo space, while offering a dramatic CO2 footprint reduction.

But we think we have rather more information than that.

We suspect Nissan's electric van concept will be the NV200 electric version that it's already testing in Japan. That vehicle uses the same battery and electric drive motor as the 2012 Nissan Leaf electric car now on sale in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

FedEx to use Nissan NV200 electric van in London

FedEx to use Nissan NV200 electric van in London

As we reported in October, Nissan corporate vice president Hideto Murakami said in an official press announcement, “We are currently making preparations to release a new electric vehicle based on the light commercial vehicle NV200”.

Just this month, Nissan showed an NV200 electric cargo van painted with FedEx logos, announcing that the global package delivery service will test an electric NV200 in London for two months.

The Japan Postal Service already operates several prototype versions of the electric NV200, which is being readied for fleet testing around the world.

New York City has also selected the Nissan NV200 as its "taxi of the future," using a window-van version, and Nissan is now modifying its design to comply with stringent U.S. side-impact crash test requirements.

Nissan has been awarded a 10-year exclusive contract, starting in 2013, to replace the current mixed taxi fleet of Ford Crown Victoria sedans, Escape Hybrid crossovers, and other hybrid and conventional cars.

Nissan NV200 Taxi

Nissan NV200 Taxi

While the first NV200 taxis will be powered by gasoline engines, it's widely expected that some proportion of the new New York fleet will be made up of electric NV200s. Nissan has hinted that its electric taxis could hit the streets starting in 2017.

Nissan also plans to display a second concept in Detroit, incidentally. This one previews the Pathfinder sport-utility vehicle replacement that will go on sale next fall.

While we hope and assume the production version of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder will be more fuel efficient than its predecessors--hardly stellar gas sippers--the electric van will clearly be the greener of Nissan's offerings in Detroit.

Keep your eyes on GreenCarReports for all our 2012 Detroit Auto Show coverage as we count down to the media previews, which start on January 9th.


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