Electric vehicles get a lot of hype — and for good reason. They’re poised to drastically change the way we think about cars and transportation. Most of the buzz is monopolized by flashy players like Tesla and high-end performance hybrids, but Nissan is thinking about a more essential facet of daily transit.

The Nissan e-NV200 is an electric van that could kick off an urban revolution. Right now, Nissan is one of the only manufacturers working on making commercial traffic more efficient and more eco-friendly.

Read on to learn how the e-NV200 could change our cities for the better.

Nissan imagines a quieter, cleaner commercial fleet.

If you live in the city now, you probably don’t give a lot of thought to vans, trucks, and buses that lumber by on the road. They blend into traffic because they’re necessary and they’ve always been there.

With the e-NV200, Nissan asks: “What if they didn’t have to be? What if they could be better?”

By nature, these commercial vehicles, whether they’re hauling cargo or people, are producing more carbon emissions. They consume more gasoline and are powered by larger, less efficient engines. Even taxi services, with their large fleets, put more traffic onto the road and, therefore, more carbon into the atmosphere.

On top of that, these vehicles are noisy and slow.

Now imagine if all of those vehicles were powered by electricity. Suddenly these commercial fleets are producing zero emissions. With a fleet of electric vans, a business could move just as much cargo with a much smaller carbon footprint. Eventually, larger vehicles could be electrified, too. Think about how much quieter the road would be with electric buses and trucks.

You still wouldn’t give them much thought, but it would be for a much better reason.

The e-NV200 learns from the Nissan Leaf.

When you look at the Nissan e-NV200 from the front, it’s easy to see the influence of the brand’s first production EV, the Nissan Leaf.

Nissan e-NV200

The Low Emission Automobile of the Future donates its full powertrain to the Nissan NV200, a light cargo van well suited for such an experiment. If you’re familiar with the Leaf’s specifications, the following specs for the e-NV200 will look familiar:

  • Electric Motor: AC Synchronous 80kW
  • Battery: Lithium Ion 24kWh
  • Single Charge Range: 106 miles
  • Cooperative Regenerative Braking
  • Normal Charge Time (220V): 8 hours (full charge)
  • Quick Charge Time (400V): 30 minutes (80% charge)

Aside from re-shaping the battery pack, the e-NV200 and the Leaf have almost identical powertrains. The electric motor gives this van a top speed of 75 mph, while it accelerates quickly thanks to 207 lb.-ft. of torque. All of that is with zero emissions.

The van is designed to be functional as well as eco-friendly. With 122 cubic feet of cargo space – or room for 5 passengers – it’s versatile enough for most small businesses. The rear wheel wells are even flattened to make it easier to pack in cargo.

Nissan e-NV200 Cargo Space

Up in the front seats, Nissan has plugged in an easy-to-use shifter and two futuristic displays that fit an EV. The traditional instrument cluster is replaced with gauges to tell the driver how much power is being used. There’s also an estimation of the range left on the current charge that constantly updates. A large tablet-like display takes up the center of the dashboard and controls media and cabin climate.

Waiting on the world to change.

By now you must be thinking: “This van sounds great. Why isn’t it everywhere?”

At the moment, the e-NV200 isn’t sold in the US. It’s only available in Europe and Nissan’s home market. Beyond two pilot programs in Portland and Washington, D.C., back in 2014, Nissan says the time isn’t right to introduce this vehicle to the US market.

According to Green Car Reports, the e-NV200 would require minor structural changes to be eligible for sale here. To account for the cast of those modifications, Nissan would need to see interest in the e-NV200 in places beyond “green car cities” like Portland, San Francisco, and Atlanta. In other words, the company wants to know there is a chance for growth.

There’s also the matter of incentives. Right now, personal EVs are highly-incentivized with tax credits from the federal government. Other countries have put similar incentives in place for businesses looking to electrify their fleets, but the US hasn’t followed suit.

For the moment, the future of city transit is on hold. It’s still great that Nissan is working on vehicles like the e-NV200. The brand is dedicated to improving mobility in ways that have a positive effect on everyone’s lives.

If you want to learn more about electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, just ask your local Nissan experts.