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by Tim Beissmann

CarAdvice has snapped a prototype of the Nissan e-NV200 in Melbourne just days after the electric van debuted in production form at the Geneva motor show.

The zero-emission compact light-commercial van was plugged in to a fast-charge port at Swinburne University with sand bags filling its cargo area.

Nissan Australia confirmed its parent company is currently conducting hot-weather durability testing on the e-NV200 in Australia before production begins in Barcelona, Spain in the coming weeks. Overseas sales begin in June.

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The driver of the e-NV200 explained the prototype was part of a larger fleet being tested on local roads. He claimed to travel roughly 250km a day in the electric van on two charges, one during the day and one at night. The e-NV200 has an official range of 170km based on European testing standards.

Nissan Australia corporate communications general manager Peter Fadeyev said the company did not comment on its development programs and could therefore shed little light on the spied van. He said Nissan Australia was “probably assisting in some sort of local capacity” with the program.

The car maker eventually plans to offer e-NV200 in all markets around the world and Nissan Australia has previously stated it wants to offer a full range of EVs in our market, though Fadeyev said the electric van is “currently not scheduled for introduction to our market” despite its appearance on our shores in prototype form.

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The e-NV200 combines the body of the NV200 compact van with the electric powertrain of the Leaf hatchback.

The familiar 80kW/280Nm electric motor sends power to the front wheels, while the 24kWh lithium-ion battery has been packaged differently to fit beneath the e-NV200’s floor.

In addition to its claimed 170km range, Nissan says the electric system provides a top speed of 120km/h and superior 0-100km/h acceleration to the 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel-powered NV200.

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Nissan claims recharging the battery from empty to 80 per cent from a fast-charging port like the one pictured takes 30 minutes.

The e-NV200 has an identical 4.2m3 cargo volume to the non-electric NV200, allowing it to carry two European-sized pallets, and retains its twin side sliding doors and rear barn doors. The e-NV200 will also be available as a five-seat MPV in some markets.

The City of Barcelona will launch the e-NV200 onto its taxi fleet later this year, while it will also make its way into New York cab ranks and Japan in the near future.




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