|e-NV200. Click to enlarge.|
The e-NV200’s electric drivetrain, based on that used in the LEAF, is combined with the cargo volume of the NV200 to create a practical and versatile vehicle capable of carrying people or goods. Although based on significant elements of the two existing vehicles, e-NV200 is a bespoke vehicle with a unique part count of more than 30%. When sales start in June, e-NV200 will be available as a van or as a five-seat people carrier in Combi or more luxurious Evalia guises.
e-NV200 underwent a full engineering development program as if it were new from the ground up. The drivetrain has been re-engineered in a number of significant areas to suit its new role, while changes have been made to the vehicle shell to ensure there has been no compromise to cargo space.
Differences between e-NV200 and NV200 include visual changes, a re-engineered chassis, interior revisions, a new battery pack, a higher capacity regenerative braking system and other modifications to ensure e-NV200 is better suited to its likely role as a city-based delivery vehicle for cargo and people.
|Second-generation integrated electric powertrain. Source: Nissan. Click to enlarge.|
Mechanically, e-NV200 owes much to the Nissan LEAF with independent front suspension by MacPherson strut. LEAF also provides the drivetrain, including its recently introduced second generation 80 kW AC synchronous motor, which is now fully integrated with the battery charger and inverter in one compact, self-contained unit.
There are some significant changes, however, for e-NV200. Most notable is the Lithium-ion battery which has been changed to allow it to fit under e-NV200’s floor without compromising the cargo area. The new pack, which is built at Nissan's plant in Sunderland, UK, and assembled in Barcelona, has the same number of modules—48—as in Leaf and the same 24 kWh capacity, but is packaged differently.
The battery module is set low in the vehicle under the load floor and is mounted in a reinforced zone for extra safety protection in the event of an impact. The battery mounting assembly also helps boost the torsional and lateral stiffness of the vehicle by 20% and 35% respectively over NV200.
The battery can be recharged overnight using a domestic 16-amp single-phase 3.3 kW supply which reduces to four hours if a 6.6 kW/32-amp supply is used. A dedicated CHAdeMO DC 50 kW quick charger can recharge the battery from 0-80 percent in 30 minutes or less if the battery is already partially charged.
More than 1,000 public CHAdeMO quick chargers are now installed across Europe; in addition, a number of companies have installed their own dedicated quick charging facilities at their home depots or offices.
The instant torque delivery typical of an electric vehicle means the battery-powered version accelerates faster than its conventional cousin: its 0-100 km/h time is quicker than the 1.5 dCi-powered NV200, with final figures to be confirmed later this year.
Another drivetrain change over LEAF determined by e-NV200’s likely usage pattern is a new braking system with a higher regenerative capacity. This takes advantage of the vehicle’s typical stop/start city driving modes, while Hill Start Assist is fitted as standard, holding the vehicle for two seconds after the footbrake is released to allow smooth starting.
Although mainly targeted at businesses, Nissan is also targeting e-NV200to private users with large families. The e-NV200’s homologated NEDC range of 170 km (106 miles) is greater than the average 100-kilometer (62-mile) daily driving distance of more than half the fleets which utilize this class of van; the payload and cargo area is the same as NV200’s.
The LCV version still has a cargo volume of 4.2 m3 and can carry two standard Euro pallets, while sliding side doors on both sides and wide opening rear doors ensure that loading and unloading is as easy as possible.
The proven and highly effective electric powertrain driving e-NV200 is ideally suited to the typical stop/start daily routine of a working vehicle. With no exhaust or noise pollution, e-NV200 is environmentally and people friendly, while the lack of fatigue-inducing noise and vibration from the drivetrain coupled with the single-speed transmission will provide genuine benefits to every hard working delivery or taxi driver. Fleet operators, meanwhile, will love the low running costs.—Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Director of Electric Vehicles for Nissan Europe
A comprehensive real-world test program was undertaken in Japan and Europe with pre-production models handed over to companies including FedEx, Coca-Cola, DHL, IKEA, British Gas and the Japan Post Office to operate as part of their everyday fleets. Feedback from drivers and fleet managers has been used to fine tune e-NV200 before series production began at Nissan’s major LCV facility in Barcelona, Spain.