- P11D Value / BIK: TBA / 9%
- 5-door People Carrier / Van
- 107bhp / 254Nm electric motor with 40kWh battery pack
- Range: 124 miles (WLTP Combined) 187 (WLTP City) / CO2: 0g/km
- 0-62mph/top speed: 14.0 / 76mph
What is it?
NISSAN bills the e-NV200 as a van with the heart of a Leaf, and if you consider that it’s almost identical to the NV200 but with an electric motor then there might be some truth to that.
At just 4.5 metres long, and 1.7m wide, the e-NV200 is barely any bigger than a Ford Focus, but manages to squeeze in seating for seven people. The front-wheel drive layout leaves plenty of space, avoiding the need for a bulky transmission tunnel like some of its rivals, which also means there’s a flat floor for easy access.
Under the bonnet lies an electric motor that’s powered by a battery pack hidden underneath the floor. It shares that with the new Nissan Leaf, which means it’s a 40kWh pack that almost doubles the range of the van from its previous incarnation. The surfeit of energy available means a driver could expect to keep going for more than 150 miles in urban driving, and more than 100 when pressing on.
Officially it’s good for 187 miles when measured with the new, more stringent, WLTP City test. This process replaces the unrealistic NEDC test we’re used to, resulting in range estimates more closely related to the real world.
Why would you want to drive a Nissan e-NV200?
- Zero emission driving opens up all sorts of tax breaks, making the e-NV200 a bit of a bargain. Zero-rated vehicle excise duty (or road tax), a low benefit-in-kind rating, a first –year write down allowance of 100%, and no congestion charge to pay in London or, currently, any other city.
- A real-world range of around 150 miles in the city, and possibly 120 in mixed use, opens up all sorts of possibilities for use, making it a far more viable proposition for both families and private hire operators, where a whole days use could be carried out on a single overnight charge.
- Seven seats makes the e-NV200 a viable choice for a private hire outfit, or simply a large family. Fold them all away and it’s as big as a van in the back, perhaps unsurprisingly considering its van parentage. The front passenger seat folds flat too, allowing for abnormally long loads to be accommodated.
- Even with all seven seats in use, there’s space for a couple of large suitcases. The rear most seats fold individually, so there’s the possibility of seating six people while having an area of the load bay for extra luggage.
- A digital instrument panel sits in front of the driver and keeps them aware of the important details, such as battery range, current usage, and so on. It looks high-tech and clear, adding a small touch of class to the cabin. This is added to with the touchscreen infotainment system that houses audi, navigation and other ancillary controls.
- Happily, heating and ventilation controls sit below with physical buttons, allowing for adjustments to be made without taking eyes off the road. Shortcut buttons on either side of the infotainment screen also cut down on the need to look away from the road ahead.
What might you put off a Nissan e-NV200?
- While there might be seven seats, five of them are rather best described as cosy. The middle bench is short on kneeroom, and three adults will find shoulder room on the tight side. The two seats right at the back are best used as a short-term temporary solution to having too many people on board.
- Performance is pedestrian, with a maximum speed of 76mph that is only just good enough to keep up with modern motorway driving. Initial acceleration is brisk, but from about 50mph onwards it gains speed at a frustratingly slow rate.
- Ride quality is, in places, dreadful. Whilst acceptable for a pure van, the relatively primitive suspension made up of leaf springs and a torsion beam at the rear struggles to deal with sharp bumps, ridges, surface cracks and so on. Smooth roads are, however, dealt with well.
- Whilst it’s never going to be considered alongside a hot hatch, handling characteristics are rudimentary. There’s not a huge amount of grip, while the front end feels strangely heavy, sapping confidence. That said, the low centre of gravity created by the battery packs positioning adds stability.
- Interior quality is a tad low rent in places, with lots of hard, scratchy plastics reminding the driver of its workhorse background.
- Despite accommodating seven passengers, there’s just one single USB socket in te e-NV200, and that’s located on the dashboard, away from any passenger access. There might be a 40kWh battery under the floor, but you can’t use it to charge your children’s new iPhone.
Verdict on the Nissan e-NV200
The standard diesel-powered NV200 is, frankly, unexceptional when compared to the likes of the Ford Tourneo Connect, but by adding an electric powertrain its appeal has been widened significantly. For those in the city, the instant torque and zesty behaviour of the motor makes the vehicle feel at home, which is where the e-NV200 excelled previously.
Now the capacity of the battery has been increased, and with it the maximum driving range, the e-NV200 is turned into something that can be relied on all day by most drivers, with just an overnight charge required using a Nissan-supplied charging port.
While it can be used to cover virtually every journey, it’s the financials that really move things in the Nissan’s favour. Capital costs are slightly higher than its rivals, such as the Hyundai i800, but the tax efficient status, low maintenance costs and fuel savings should more than compensate for a higher list price.
The e-NV200 can’t mask its van-based underpinnings, and it’s not the class leader in terms of comfort or desirability, but by merging some of the big ticket items from the Leaf Nissan has created a practical and sensible people carrier or private hire vehicle. That, and the future-proof nature of the car, makes it an option worth investigating.
What else should you know about the new Nissan Leaf?
Despite being given a significant new battery package, there are no cosmetic changes to the e-NV200 to highlight the new technology.
The NissanConnect EV app connects your smartphone to the cars systems and allows you to remotely control various aspects, such as pre-heating the interior in winter, or setting the climate control to cool things down in summer.
While the van version of the e-NV200 can swallow two euro pallets of cargo, the passenger version isn’t quite so capacious. However, there’s still room to squeeze in 2.9 cubic metres of well stacked cargo.
Tekna models and above come with heated seats and steering wheel, a more efficient way of keeping warm in winter without needing to run the energy-sapping heater.
Maintenance costs should be lower for an EV, and service intervals of 18,000 miles will result in less downtime. Should there be an issue, Nissan provides a five year warranty on any EV components, and three years for the rest of the vehicle.
Battery longevity is also guaranteed, with a five year warranty protecting against significant range loss.
Every model comes well equipped, climate control, rear view camera, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, cruise control, Bluetooth telephone integration and a 3.3kW on-board charger.
Plus models come with a 6.6kW rapid charger, allowing empty to full charges in around seven hours at home or in the office.
White van man could be a thing of the past with the e-NV200. Storm White might be a popular colour, but there are seven other hues to choose from, along with two interior options and two wheel trim designs.
The latest e-NV200 hasn’t been crash tested by EuroNCAP yet, but there are no structural changes from the previous version, suggesting that the three-star rating from 2014 would once again apply. The lack of electronic safety gadgets, such as autonomous emergency braking, knocks the score down, as driver passenger protection was considered mostly adequate to good.
Following trials in Japan and London as far back as 2011, the Japan-built e-NV200 was launched in 2014. American customers can choose a badge-engineered Chevrolet City Express version.