It's a little confusing when a carmaker shows a concept vehicle derived from a product that it's going to sell but hasn't yet announced.

Nonetheless, the Nissan e-NV 200 Concept at the Detroit Auto Show attracted its share of attention.

With a Leaf-like charging port door on its nose, and Leaf mechanicals underneath--the 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and 80-kilowatt electric traction motor--Nissan's electric van actually previews a vehicle it plans to launch into the global market.

The electric van is just one of several plug-in electric vehicles the company will offer during the next five years, to take advantage of the new lithium-ion cell plant it's building in Tennessee.

When completed roughly a year from now, that plant will supply cells for Leaf electric cars, most likely e-NV 200 vans, and an electric Infiniti small luxury car that hasn't yet been announced.

The e-NV 200 electric van concept in Detroit was adapted from the Japanese version of the NV 200 gasoline van, though with left-hand drive.

The U.S. version of the gasoline NV 200 will have more side crash reinforcing structure and a longer wheelbase, to expand rear seat room so it can be used as a New York City taxi cab starting in 2014.


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