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Nissan is trying to stay at the forefront of the rapidly-progressing electric vehicle market by announcing a plug-in version of their compact van today at the Detroit Auto Show, the e-NV200.
“A potential game changing vehicle in its segment, the battery capacity will support a driving range similar to the Nissan LEAF, while payload and cargo space will offer the same level as the current NV200. The production version would be targeted mainly at businesses, but also at private users or families in major regions,” Nissan corporate vice president, Hideto Murakami said in a press release.
The concept takes cues from the Leaf. “The Nissan e-NV200 Concept is a standout design, sharing the iconic EV look established by the Nissan LEAF but in a modern, active, functional commercial vehicle form,” said Murakami.
The fact remains that this is just a concept, so exterior and interior features have a lot of room to grow, though it makes sense that the company would borrow heavily from their already existing EV formula. Some concepts are easier to take seriously than others, because as many of us know: concepts often remain on the auto show floor and the drawing board. That isn’t the case for the e-NV200, Nissan sayas they are already conducting tests and preparing it for the real world.
The initial trial took place last year during the summer with the Japan Post Service and the company is continued that work in London with FedEx starting last month.
While cars with a range close to the current Leaf’s capacity will be good for deliveries in cities where routes are short and fleets are big, the reality is that charging times and the cost per vehicle may be prohibitive for small businesses who run frequent deliveries, even with federal tax credits.
The gasoline NV200 is produced in Japan, Europe and China and available in 40 countries, but currently not sold in the U.S. Americans can look forward, however, to seeing the NV200 late next year in New York City as taxi cabs.
GALLERY: Nissan e-NV200
Six Nissan Leafs will partake in a journey that no other electric vehicle has gone on before. As part of a pilot program, six pioneering Leafs will serve commercial duty as taxi cabs for one of the most populous metropolitans in the world, New York City.
The goal of this pilot program is to retrieve valuable information on how these electric vehicles will fair against the tall orders required to navigate New York’s busy streets. If the program proves to be successful, it will help further convince people that EVs are in fact viable options for daily use.
For those interested in participating, Nissan has provided an online application from which they will handpick eligible applicants. Remember, there will only six cars! Those interested will have until November 30th to apply.
[Source: Autoblog Green]
But it can all change very soon if Europe’s biggest car maker can have its way, as Volkswagen has just introduced the e-motion Taxi concept.
This Taxi concept is actually based on VW’s Up concept from a few years ago, which will eventually go into production. The e-motion version is powered by a 115 hp electric motor, which gets its power from a lithium-ion battery pack. VW says this concept has a range of about 180 miles, which is seriously impressive, plus it can get an 80% charge in just one hour. So a taxi driver could be on his lunch break while the car renews its own energy.
It won’t appeal to any boy racers though, as it only has a top speed of 74 mph, but that would be missing the point of this vehicle. The purpose of this vehicle would be to provide a city commute without contributing to the city smog.
It is a brilliant idea and all major cosmopolitan cities around the world can benefit from green transportation vehicles like this.
Will this e-motion Taxi ever go into production? Well it might not become a real taxi, but VW can certainly put this technology into production and thus give birth to a serious rival for the Nissan Leaf.
The yellow Ford Crown Victoria taxi is so common in New York City that it’s almost an icon just like the Yankees or the Empire State Building.
As Crown Victoria production winds down, cab drivers are digging in their heels in the city’s bid to replace the big, rear drive V8 powered sedans with hybrids and other more eco-friendly cabs. So far the first generation Honda Odyssey seems to be the only other vehicle that has won praise from cab drivers, largely due to its flat floor and spacious passenger compartment.
Eco-friendly vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Nissan Altima Hybrid and Volkswagen Jetta TDI have been met with a cool reception for a variety of reasons, but interior space seems to be chief among them. One cabbie who drives a Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid told USA Today that “Some would get into the Crown Vic over this if they had a choice of the two.”
Cab drivers also don’t like the high cost of maintaining a hybrid, with one stating that “Mechanics charge an arm and a leg for them”. On the other hand, the Crown Victoria’s rugged construction and dirt cheap parts prices make it well suited for the brutality of New York Taxi duty.
Unfortunately for these stalwarts, the Crown Vic, along with the Lincoln Town Car (a vehicle so ubiquitous in the executive transport service that it has become a genericized trademark) are no longer being produced, meaning supply will likely dry up in the near future. And what is Ford planning on replacing these cars with? A smaller hybrid, of course.
[Source: USA Today]