Regular readers may be familiar with the Nissan NV200 van, soon to be pressed into service in New York City as the much vaunted/maligned (delete as appropriate) "Taxi of Tomorrow".

You may also be aware that Nissan is testing an electric version, the eNV200.

It's currently in test fleets across the globe, and early reports are positive from both fleets and the people driving the vans themselves.

In the UK, energy firm British Gas is one of the companies running a pilot program. If it goes well, the returns are good for Nissan--British Gas hopes to make a "substantial proportion" of its 13,000-vehicle fleet electric by 2015.

It's looking good for Nissan. Particularly cold UK winter weather has provided ideal tough testing conditions for the small fleet of eNV200s, and drivers are coming away impressed.

According to Colin Marriott, fleet general manager at British Gas, "We have been very impressed with all elements of the Nissan eNV200. After our month long test in 2012 which went well the cold weather testing was vitally important to establish the van’s characteristics in real life working conditions.

Nissan eNV200: Driving Nissan's Prototype Electric Minivan

"The drivers enjoyed the experience and the vehicle’s performance and reliability. We will now continue further testing in 2013 and 2014 ahead of us deciding our future fleet mix."

Nissan's eNV200 is largely based on the regular NV200 delivery van, but swaps out the four-cylinder gasoline drivetrain (or diesel, in Europe) for the running gear from the the Nissan Leaf.

That means a 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and an 80-kilowatt (110-horsepower) electric motor, driving the front wheels. Range is likely shorter than that of the Leaf, yet despite UK testing temperatures reaching 10 degrees, the eNV200 has impressed all concerned.

Data learned in testing can help Nissan develop the van further--perhaps even ready for taxi duty when the expected fleet of electric NV200s makes its New York appearance in the next few years.


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