TOKYO, JAPAN -- Nissan gave another glimpse into the auto industry’s electric future at the Tokyo Truck Show last week, but this time electric vehicle-inspired trucks took the spotlight.
Nissan unveiled a trio of light commercial vehicles, each a variation of the Atlas F24 light-duty truck. The trucks tap advanced battery and other technologies used in the Nissan Leaf.
“We started mass-producing electric vehicles with the LEAF and now we’ve adapted the technology to an LCV using that know-how,” said Hideto Murakami, corporate vice president for Nissan's global LCV business. “So far, there haven’t been any major obstacles while developing the prototype.”
Nissan’s battery-powered e-NT400 Atlas concept uses a similar powertrain to the Leaf and can run up to 62.1 miles carrying a 1,320-pound load. It follows tests of an electric version of the smaller NV200 van earlier this year.
“We’ve announced that we’ll introduce a van-based EV following the LEAF,” said Murakami. “While the larger truck is still a prototype now, we’re researching potential demand and would like to put it into the market if we find that interest is high enough.”
Nissan also exhibited a refrigerator truck that uses lithium-ion power to keep chilled or freezer compartments running even when the engine is switched off, and another vehicle that acts as a power source, carrying three Leaf-type battery packs that provide enough electricity to operate a 20-person office space for four hours.
While demand, and supply, for e-trucks will likely trail that of electric cars in the months and years ahead, production models would aid Nissan’s stated aim to be one of the world’s leading makers of light commercial vehicles by 2016.