The 2012 Detroit Auto Show kicks off on Monday, and Nissan may have a big surprise in store for field service vehicle fleet managers: an all-electric version of its popular NV200 van.
Nissan’s been mum on the details, but auto industry analysts — Motor Authority’s Kurt Ernst among them — seem confident that Nissan will unveil the all-electric addition to its NV line next week.
Nissan rolled out its NV200 last year and has been testing electric prototypes with companies around the world. Last month, FedEx began a two-month test of an electric prototype of the NV200 in London to see how the vehicle stands up to day-to-day punishment on the road. The Japan Post Service conducted its own test of the electric NV200 last year, and will continue the program through 2012.
The prototype is based on the all-electric Nissan Leaf, which means the electric NV200 will attain a full charge overnight or can be quick-charged to 80 percent in 30 minutes using a fast charge station. Public electric vehicle charging infrastructure is sparse in most of the country, so EV manufacturers will need to increase the battery life of commercial vans to ensure the vehicles are functional for an entire work day on a full charge.
“The Nissan NV200 EV prototype delivery vehicle will not only improve the quality of urban life, but thanks to best in class running costs has great potential to ease the economic burdens placed on companies,” Nissan Corporate Vice President Hideto Murakami said in a press release.
Starting in 2013, the NV200 will be thrown into another kind of service: New York’s taxi system. In May, the New York City announced that the NV200 would be the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” replacing the iconic Crown Victoria’s that ply the streets of Manhattan and the outer boroughs. The $1 billion deal would make the NV200 the exclusive taxi on New York streets for at least 10 years.
Check back with The SmartVan next week as we keep tabs on all the fleet and commercial vehicle news coming out of Detroit.