Nissan estimates that there are about 200,000 fleet vans operating in Europe that never travel more than 120km a day. Without revealing how many units Nissan plans to sell, Ebeling said those 200,000 are potential customers for the e-EV200.
He said that a fleet operator looking to reduce CO2 emissions could replace his entire fleet with more efficient diesels -- or switch a portion of the fleet to EVs to accomplish the same goal.
Another factor that will effect the overall market is that automakers in Europe need to reduce the average CO2 emissions from their vans to 149 grams per kilometer by 2020 from 173g/km now.
Forecasters are not bullish on the e-NV200. IHS Automotive expects Nissan's plant in Barcelona, Spain, which is the van's sole production site, to make 1,200 units of the EV van next year for global distribution. Volume is expected to rise to 2,742 in 2020, according to IHS.
Nissan will also offer the e-NV200 in Japan, but IHS expects most of the van's initial volume to be sold in Europe.
“The demand will be primarily driven by the changing legislation within the cities with upcoming low-emission zones and restrictions on fuel choice," Pavan Potluri, a senior powertrain analyst at IHS, said in an e-mail. "The biggest proportion of demand will be from taxis and commercial delivery fleets. They are already starting to appear in significant numbers in cities such as Amsterdam, with trials set to begin in other European and Japanese cities as well.”
In Germany, the entry e-NV200 with sales tax and including the purchase of the battery costs 29,819 euros. By comparison, the after-tax price of the entry NV200 diesel is about 18,390 euros and the entry gasoline variant is 16,480 euros with tax included.
Customers also have the option of leasing the battery for as little as 87 euros a month with tax. That drops the German starting price of the e-NV200 to 23,919 euros.
Nissan says that most private customers will pick the Evalia variant, which caters to the needs of minivan buyers.
The German starting price for the battery-powered Evalia, with tax and purchase of the battery, is 36,766 euros, compared with 21,490 euros for the diesel Evalia and 19,700 for the gasoline-powered variant.