Nissan’s e-NV200 zero-emissions van delivers on all fronts.

The Nissan e-NV200 is is the result of crossing Nissan’s popular NV200 compact van/combi with their excellent,electric mid-sized hatchback Leaf.

And just like the Nissan Leaf I like e-NV200 for its quietness, its efficiency and the fact that it is an absolute doddle to drive. It has just the one gear and zero emissions. Select forward or backward and off you go – silently. It’s a very calming place to be and therefore – some would say – an ideal place to seat a white-van man.

Available as an all-out load-lugging Van or a Combi with configurable seating, whichever you choose you’ll get a great driving experience – and possibly for peanuts to run as you won’t be paying for fuel  or road tax. Maintenance costs are minimal too due to the lack of oil-changes and tune-ups – electric vehicles have very few moving parts that need attention.

Because the Nissan e-NV200 is silent you don’t need to worry about early or late deliveries because you won’t be disturbing anyone (why do you think milk-floats were the first all-electric vehicles on our roads?) and because it emits zero emissions you can also run the e-NV200 inside larger buildings with no fear of polluting the air.

I’ve been driving the e-NV200 Van in its “Tekna Rapid” guise which will cost you £19,597 OTR which excludes VAT at 20%, but includes government first registration fee and government incentive of 20% of the cost of the van (up to a maximum of £8,000) and includes the excellent Nissan CARWINGS telematics system which allows you to remotely connect to your vehicle using a smartphone. You can check on charging level and range, set timers for charging and even start up the air-con or set a timer to switch on the heating so that you’re nice and cosy when first entering the vehicle.

Even the base Acenta model (£17,256) comes equipped with heated front seats and heated steering wheel along with a reversing camera. The Acenta Rapid (£18,122) adds a rapid charging port (allowing 50kw DC charging) and Climate Control.

The Acenta Rapid Plus (£18,544) gives you a 6.6kw on-board charger, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers while the Tekna Rapid (19,597), along with the CARWINGS adds cruise control and speed limiter, audio controls on the steering wheel and 15in alloy wheels. Tekna Rapid Plus (£20,018) adds the 6.6kw on-board charger for maximum charging flexibility.

The Nissan e-NV200 doesn’t really have a competitor as the similarly-sized Ford Transit Connect and Fiat Doblo Cargo aren’t available as electric versions. So, if you’re after a green solution to deliveries – and a range of 106 miles between charges isn’t a problem – then the e-NV200 could be a bit of a no-brainer.

The van has a carrying capacity of 4.2 cubic metres which is enough to take two fully-loaded Euro pallets or cargo weighing up to 703kg and with a sliding door on each side it is very easy to load. The rear 60:40 split doors open 180-degrees and you can specify a single, lifting rear door instead that also incorporates a window for better rear visibility.

Because the batteries are located low beneath the loading space there is no room wasted and that extra low weight also helps lower the e-NV200’s centre of gravity making it feel well planted when scooting around town.

Inside the cabin will be familiar to any NV200 driver and the handy folding passenger seat that doubles as a desk is still there but the Leaf’s DNA is obvious with the main instrument cluster being almost identical to its family-friendly sibling giving you clear information about range, charge status and speed. The raised driving position is very comfortable and provides great visibility while the stubby gear lever falls perfectly to hand – even though you won’t need to use it very much once on the go.

The infotainment screen is intuitive and easy to use with a sat nav (if specified) that will show all the nearest charging stations, if needed, and whether they are currently being used or not.

Bluetooth connectivity is provided as well as a DAB radio on my model which comes with 4 speakers that give a reasonable quality of sound but won’t get you too excited.

Driving is a serene affair in the Nissan e-NV200 – there is no shudder every time the engine starts up, there is no noise to accompany you on your delivery route, no smell of diesel and no need to ever get diesel on your hands at the filling station ever again. Wonderful.

The e-NV200 feels pretty quick too because all the torque is available immediately. Push the accelerator and off you waft. Top speed is given as 76 and I managed 70 on the motorway no bother at all. It’s quiet too. You do notice some wind noise around the large wing mirrors but that’s only because there is no engine noise to drown it out.

With no load on board the van could feel a little wayward at speed but nothing to cause concern. However, around town it felt absolutely fine and was a pleasure to drive – just watch out for those pedestrians though as they simply can’t hear you coming and you need to be doubly aware of anyone who looks as they may step out without looking first.

But the elephant in the room when it comes to electric vehicles – and especially commercial electric vehicles – is, of course, range-anxiety. Is a range of 106 miles realistic for a delivery van? Nissan point out that over a third of delivery routes cover less than 80 miles in a day – so that would mean a large chunk of the market may never have to buy diesel again.

Charging from an ordinary, domestic socket via the supplied lead takes 12 hours from empty. If you use a 32A home-charging unit it will take just 8 hours and with the optional 6.6kW on-board charger, just 4 hours. There is a growing network of Rapid Chargers – many of which are still free to use – that will give you an 80% charge in just 30 minutes. So, if you plan well there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make longer journeys and potentially save even more money; although I suspect most buyers will stick to more local routes and banish range-anxiety altogether.

Of course, if you charge overnight you take advantage of lower electricity tariffs and Nissan reckon you could achieve a running cost of around 2p a mile which knocks spots off the figures for the equivalent diesel models and makes the Nissan e-NV200 a tempting – and viable – proposition for many small to medium businesses.

VERDICT: *****

Nissan e-NV200 Van

OTR Price: £19,597 (exc. VAT, inc. gov. incentive)

Engine: 80kW Electric Motor

Power: 109 PS

Transmission: Single-speed Auto

0-62mph: 14.0 secs

Top Speed: 76 mph

Range: 106 miles

CO2: 0 g/km

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