Nissan has announced it will begin global proving tests of an electric vehicle based on its NV200 compact commercial van this month. Since going on sale is Europe and Japan in 2009, the gasoline-fueled NV200 compact commercial van has picked up numerous awards. It was also also recently chosen as the next generation New York taxi, so the announcement of an electric version offers up the possibility that at least some of New York's iconic yellow cabs may soon be getting a green tinge.
To evaluate the electrified NV200's capabilities under normal customer usage conditions, the first phase of testing will see one vehicle provided to the Japan Post Service to carry out postal collection and delivery tasks for approximately two months in the city of Yokohama. Following this, other companies will carry out similar proving tests in Japan and Europe.
The gasoline-fueled NV200 first appeared as a concept at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show sporting a sliding removable pod design with the cargo pod sliding out to provide space for a mobile office inside the van. Unfortunately, that feature didn't make it to the production model, which has been available in Japan and Europe since 2009 and in China and Singapore from 2010. Future launches are also planned for the U.S. and India.
In May this year, the NV200 was selected as the exclusive taxi for New York for a period of ten years, beginning in 2013. Nissan and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) have already signaled their support for electric vehicles with Nissan also providing up to six all-electric Nissan LEAFs to New York taxi owners in 2012 as part of a pilot program to study the use of electric vehicles as taxis.
So although Nissan is only at the early testing phase of the electric NV200, if all goes well then there's a possibility that at least some of the more than 13,000 strong New York taxi fleet will be made up of electric NV200s at some point over the contract period.