Nissan Unveils the NV200 Work Van

  On May 3, 2011, some people at Ford were undoubtedly knocked back on their heels when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, ““The city’s Taxi of Tomorrow is the Nissan NV200 – and it’s going to be the safest, most comfortable and most convenient cab the city has ever had.

 

On May 3, 2011, some people at Ford were undoubtedly knocked back on their heels when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, ““The city’s Taxi of Tomorrow is the Nissan NV200 – and it’s going to be the safest, most comfortable and most convenient cab the city has ever had. We started this process to leverage our taxi industry’s purchasing power to get the highest quality taxi, one that that can expand and redefine the legendary image of New York City taxicabs. The new taxis will be custom-designed to meet the specific demands of carrying 600,000 passengers a day in New York City traffic and the vehicle meets the top priorities identified by the public in our on-line survey.”

N

The New York City Taxi of Tomorrow: the Nissan NV200

Here was Nissan, all but invisible in the commercial truck segment, being named the exclusive taxi for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission starting in late 2013.

What was that all about?

1

The NV200 compact work van

Although the NV200 is something new in the U.S., this compact commercial van has plenty of use in other parts of the world (more than 40 countries), not only serving as a taxi in Japan, but a commercial delivery van in a wide range of applications.

And at the Chicago Auto Show this week, Nissan literally pulled the sheet off the NV200—the commercial van version--, which will arrive in the U.S. market early in 2013.

0

NV200: Stylish for a work van, isnt’ it?

During the unveiling, Joe Castelli, vice president, Nissan Commercial Vehicles and Fleet, said, “There is an increasing need for a ‘right-sized’ van that optimizes cargo space while offering the best possible fuel economy and an affordable price – the exact sweet spots of the innovative new Nissan NV200.”

To the point of the size, the NV200 has a 123-cubic-foot cargo capacity (based on SAE J1100 rev 2009) with an overall length of 186.2 in. (7.9 in. longer than those NV200s available elsewhere in the world) and a 115.2-in. wheelbase. It can handle the standard 40 x 48-in. pallet and has an estimated payload capacity of 1,500 lb. Loading is facilitated by 40/60 split rear opening doors that have two detents: 90° and 180°, and sliding doors on the sides.

0

NV200: Open for business

The NV200 is powered by a 2.0-liter, 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder engine, the same engine that’s used in the Nissan Sentra. In the Sentra the engine produces 140 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque. The van uses a Nissan Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Other performance-related features: the suspension deploys independent struts and a stabilizer bar in the front and leaf springs in the rear; disc brakes in the front and drums in the rear, with ABS and electronic brake force distribution standard; power-assisted steering; and 15-in. steel wheels.

What is most unusual about the NV200 is its overall design, the front in particular. While many commercial products appear as though those who drive them are visually numb, the NV200 has a characteristically Nissan front end, one that was obviously designed as much for style as substance.

According to Castelli, the NV200 will be initially offered as a commercial van only—no seats, as in the case of the taxis. However, they’re not counting other configurations out.

e

The LEAF-looking e-NV200, a conceptual electric vehicle

An interesting consideration is that at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit Nissan introduced a concept vehicle, the e-NV200, which is an electric-powered version of the work van. It uses a lithium-ion battery pack and an 80-kW AC synchronous motor that produces 207 lb-ft of torque. The system architecture is that used in the Nissan LEAF. Add that concept to the fact that as part of the Taxi of Tomorrow program for New York Nissan and cab companies are testing the LEAF for city use in what is obviously among the most-grueling transportation situations in the world, assuming that this works out as Nissan undoubtedly expects, the e-NV200 may not be a concept for long.

The non-conceptual Nissan NV200 is being manufactured in Cuernavaca, Mexico, for the U.S. market.