The number of electric cars you can buy is increasing by the week & soon it will be the same with van’s. Currently, for van user’s there’s the Renault Kangoo Z.E., Citroen Berlingo Electric, LDV EV80, Peugeot Partner Electric & o the Nissan e-NV200. But, 2020 will see the arrival of new electric vans from pretty much all the van manufacturers Although the Nissan offers the best range of current electric vans, it has been on sale since 2013. To keep it refreshed, Nissan updated it in 2018 using the running gear from the Nissan Leaf, with the 40kWh battery, which has increased the e-NV200 range by over 50% to 124 miles on the combined cycle, a distance the new electric vans may struggle to beat.
Offered in Visia, Acenta & Tekna trim, in theory there’s an e-NV200 for all buyers. Basic Visia includes Bluetooth, electric windows, a USB connection & steel wheels. Accenta adds rapid charging as standard, a reversing camera, automatic air-conditioning, battery heating/cooling to help the van maintain its charge & cruise control with speed limiter.
We were testing an e-NV200 in Tekna + trim, which comes with SatNav, 15″ alloys, automatic lights and wipers, plus our test van was fitted with the £252 Cold Pack, which adds heated front seats a heated steering wheel & heated door mirrors.
The e-NV200 comes supplied with two charging cables. A three-pin 10Amp cable & a seven-pin 32Amp cable. Using the seven-pin cable, we were able to charge using our own Rolec wall charger, which goes from zero to full in about 7 hours. You simply lift there flap at the front of the van, attach the cable & away you go.
The Acenta & Tekna versions come with a CHAdeMO socket that allows rapid charging from public charge points. This can add 80% charge to the battery in as little as 40 minutes, conditions permitting.
The Nissan only comes with two front seats & only the drivers seat can be moved back & forth as well as reclined. You should be able to find a comfortable driving position, we did, as the steering wheel offer’s both tilt & rake adjustment. If you need more cabin space, the passenger seat can be folded down to create a tray table. There’s also a full steel bulkhead, two sliding doors, near side & off side & unglazed French rear doors.
The cabin itself is rather bland, finished in grey & blacks. The quality is decidedly average, but it all works well & all of the switchgear is easy to use. For storage, you get a small glove box, two slim door pockets, a large flat area between the seats, twin dash mounted cup holders, a small dash top area & a lift up & over central box.
The Tekna is fitted with a really nice infotainment touchscreen, so accessing the DAB radio, SatNav, Bluetooth telephone & CD player is simple to perform. There’s hard to reach 12v & USB connector so you can plug your mobile in, but there’s no connected Apps for Apple Car Play or Android Auto.
Safety featured includes ABS with EBD, an alarm, electronic traction control, curtain, driver, passenger & side airbags, remote central locking & a tyre pressure monitor.
Press the starter button, engage D using the gear stick & you are ready to move off, in total silence. It’s nippy too, reaching 62mph in just 8.7 seconds with a less exciting maximum speed of 77 mph. The e-NV200 is easy to drive & simple to manoveure, but it’s hardly thrilling. It makes sense to utilise the Eco button, which adds some regenerative braking Nissan Leaf-style to the drive. This allows you to let the van slow itself down without the driver having to use the brakes & it’s easy to get used to. Disengage Eco & the Nissan is far more sprightly. But the down side is, that you drain the battery & the range decreases faster. So do as we did & drive in Eco all of time.
The Tekna is fitted with large side mirrors & a wide angle reversing camera, so going backwards is a cinch. The e-NV200 has a cargo volume of 4.2 cubic metres & there’s a payload of 705kg, putting it ahead of sister model the Renault Kangoo. The rear compartment is not large enough to stand up in at 1.36 metres, but it’s a useful rectangular shape. The battery is located underneath the load area so load volume does not suffer, so the Nissan has space for two Euro Pallets in the back, with 1.22 metres of space between the rear wheel arches. The rear sill is 524mm off the ground & there are six D-ring lashing eyes set into the load area floor. Payload is 705kg, almost 100kg more than the Renault Kangoo.
Whilst an electric van with range of 124 miles will work for some, it won’t work for all. Having a home charger makes all the difference. We were able to charge the Nissan to full, with the range showing 123 miles. We then drove it for just over 100 miles including two 40 mile motorway round trips using the cruise control at 70mph, before we felt the need to charge again. We reckon that if you avoid the motorway, you can easily achieve a 124 mile range or even more, but only if you stick to under 50mph or under this in urban areas. Even short, motorway, trips at a constant 70mph, will reduce the battery range much more quickly.
We found the Nissan’s cabin a comfortable place to be, with little wind & road noise entering the cabin, even on the motorway& in the wet. In slow moving traffic you can hear a pin drop & enjoy quiet, handsfree, telephone conversations. Compared to a diesel van it’s bliss to be in & the auto gearbox also takes the strain out of urban driving. All in all, we found the e-NV200 to be a quiet, relaxing, comfortable work place.
In conclusion, whether your business would benefit from running an e-NV200, really depends on your daily journey. For someone like a florist, or for the Post Office, or anyone who performs a series of short, local journey’s owning the Nissan would be a no brainer. A government grant of 20% up to a maximum of £8,000 can be applied to e-NV200 sales to sweeten the deal. This would make the Tekna + version we drove which cost’s from £26,839, a reasonable investment.
On the downside, the Nissan is bland looking, both inside & out & in 2020, everyone will be launching an electric van, with similar battery ranges.
Whilst we really enjoyed our time in the Nissan & managed to achieve just over a 100 mile range, we would add a caveat, that any electric van once fully laden, will not achieve such a good return, as we drove the entire week with the van unladen.
On a closing note, Nissan covers the battery for eight years & 100,000 miles. In this period, if the battery capacity dips below nine bars (out of 12) when recharging, Nissan will replace it free of charge. In addition, the e-NV200 is covered by a five-year/60,000-mile guarantee for its mechanical and electrical components. There’s also a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Nissan we feel, can be relied on when it comes to battery technology & the purchase or lease of an e-NV200 can be undertaken without any worries.