First Drive

Nissan E-NV200

The story:
A mid-life refresh for the Nissan eNV200 brings increased battery power.
Key rival:Renault Kangoo
On sale:Now
NISSAN eNV200 40KWH Visia
Price:£24,400 plus VAT, not including Government EV grant
MPG:174-mile range
Power:109hp (40kWh)
Load length/height/width:2040mm/1358mm/1500mm

Mid-life revisions can be anything from a tweak of the headlights to a near-full-scale redesign, but with the mid-life upgrade of the Nissan eNV200 we have a first; the fitting of a larger battery.

From the outside, or indeed the inside, of the eNV200 it is impossible to tell it apart from the current version. The eNV200 still has a 649kg payload and a 4.2m2load bay volume. It still has a 109hp electric motor. The seating and dashboard are unchanged too, as is the exterior styling. It even drives exactly the same.

However, the thing about this upgrade is that jumping from a 24kWh battery to a 40kWh battery is quite significant. In the outgoing version the range was a claimed 106 miles using the NEDC official figures. In the new eNV200 this is now up to 174 miles. That’s a 64% increase. In essence, the battery upgrade is the equivalent of fitting a larger fuel tank to a diesel-powered van.

Nissan eNV200Official figures are not the same thing as real-world range. And Nissan knows this too, which is why it has also tested the eNV200 with the larger battery using the new and tougher WLTP system. The result is a range of 125miles. It’s a range that many drivers should achieve assuming they’re spending some time in town and not just on the motorway.

Alongside the usefully improved range, the only other item that’s been changed on the van is the charging system.

The eNV200 now has bi-directional charging. This means the van will not only take charge from the grid but can also return charge to the grid when necessary.

For some fleets this means the eNV200 can be used as a power-source in remote locations, but it also means that in the not-too-distant future, and with the right electricity supplier, it will be able to provide any remaining charge back to the grid. Using the eNV200 in this way could mean businesses making money on their fuel costs because the electricity sold back to the grid is delivered at peak times – such as early evening – when it is worth more. The vans are then charged at a lower, and cheaper, rate – such as very late at night or early in the morning. This is not yet widespread, but Nissan maintains this technology is on its way.

Even without the ability to resupply electricity to the grid, the eNV200’s much-improved range, plus what is expected to be a minimal price increase, will make the van more suitable for fleets than ever before.

The verdict

The NIssan was always a good-sized and well thought-out van in the sector, but it now has a far more useful range.