Nissan’s Leaf is the UK’s best selling pure electric car, accounting for two-thirds of battery powered cars sold in the first nine months of 2014. That amounts to 2,969 sales – still a tiny sliver of the two million conventional cars sold over the same period, but a wedge that is steadily expanding. The whole of 2013 saw sales of only 1,812 Leafs, a number that could easily be doubled by the final tally for this year.
Now Nissan is branching out with its second electric car. Though it’s not really a car but a commercial vehicle. Nissan has taken the Leaf’s core hardware – battery and on-board charger, power electronics and electric motor, and even the whole front axle, and transplanted the lot into its NV200 van.
The battery powered e-NV200 that results can be bought either as a workmanlike light commercial or as a capacious five-seater Combi.
The van version can carry up to 770kg of payload and provides a cargo bay more than two metres long, with a rear opening more than 1.2 metres tall and roughly the same in width. That’s big enough to swallow a couple of pallets. Twin sliding side doors are fitted as standard.