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Portvandia: Portland selected as Nissan e-NV200 test bed

Sections: Powertrain, Telematics

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Nissan e-NV200 front quarter press image

(Photo courtesy Nissan)

The Nissan e-NV200 may be well on its way to being the first mass-produced all-electric cargo van. Its latest real-world test will come in EV-friendly Portland, OR, according to Nissan.

A press release from Nissan said Portland is “already a top breeding ground for electric vehicle (EV) sales.” The automaker will work with Portland General Electric (PGE) in a six-week trial to determine the viability of a electric delivery vehicle in the U.S. market. During the trial period, PGE reportedly will add the e-NV200 to its fleet in service with an underground crew that normally uses a larger diesel-powered van.

Nissan U.S. Director of EV Marketing Toby Perry said, “Oregon has been a top five market for Nissan LEAF sales in the U.S. due to proactive policies at the state level to encourage EV adoption, as well as robust charging infrastructure championed by the state and others like PGE. If we determine that e-NV200 fits into the U.S. commercial vehicle market, we expect that Portland would be a leading driver for sales as well.”

The press release said this is just one stop on the trail for two e-NV200 test vehicles that will make the rounds through top U.S. markets including California, Georgia, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., where businesses will use it in studying whether and how an electric van might meet their needs day to day. Nissan said companies who utilize EVs like the e-NV200 in their daily routines could see “a substantial reduction in operating costs and vehicle maintenance, while lowering their vehicle emissions footprint.”

PGE Business Development Director Charlie Allcock said, “EVs have already demonstrated their value as a sustainable choice for personal use, and fleet electrification is the logical next step. We’re excited to see firsthand the impact the e-NV200 can have on our own fleet and to help other companies understand the potential it represents for them.”

At my day job, I run a weekly paper route and sometimes deliver printed materials around our small town. A van like the e-NV200 would be perfect for this kind of work, because the actual distance traveled is usually minimal. My paper route covers 10 miles and goes from one end of town to the other and back again. Advantages of living in a small town are many and wonderful. The biggest disadvantage of small-town living for EV fans like me is the extreme lack of EV charging infrastructure in small towns — mine included. Perhaps if more automakers took their EVs seriously instead of viewing them as some sort of answer to government “extortion,” that would change.

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