After more than a year of testing and previews, the Nissan e-NV200 electric van is finally going on sale.
In Japan, that is.
The e-NV200 will hit showrooms in its home market next year, Nissan says. The announcement follows a September statement from the company saying the van was in the final stages of development.
Production of the e-NV200 will begin in mid-2014 at Nissan's plant in Barcelona. The electric van will be sold worldwide following its launch in Japan.
Nissan says it's working on arrangements with the cities of Yokohama (its hometown) and Barcelona to use e-NV200s in public services. This could include deploying the electric vans with government agencies, and using them as taxis.
The e-NV200 is based on the NV200 small delivery van, which is now on sale in the U.S. A modified passenger version of the NV200 was selected as New York City's "Taxi of Tomorrow," although a lawsuit has kept it off cab duty so far.
The 80-kilowatt (110-horsepower) electric motor and 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack from the Leaf electric hatchback replaced the conventional NV200's gasoline engine and transmission.
Since the van is heavier than the Leaf, especially when loaded, a shorter range than the Leaf's 76 miles is expected.
Nissan unveiled the e-NV200 as a concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, and has been testing prototypes with commercial fleets since then. FedEx tested the vans in London and other major world cities.
When it goes on sale next year, the e-NV200 will be Nissan's second production electric vehicle, after the Leaf. We'll see if it has as much of an impact on the commercial market as the Leaf has had on the private market.