Nissan e-NV200 Combi

Plus 7 Seater Evalia

Nissan e-NV200, 2019, nose
Nissan e-NV200, 2019, front
Nissan e-NV200, 2019, rear, static
Nissan e-NV200, 2019, rear
Nissan e-NV200, 2019, side, door open
Nissan e-NV200, 2019, interior
Nissan e-NV200, 2019, boot
Nissan e-NV200, 2019, boot, maximum

IF you need to be able to transport up to seven people but thought electric motoring was not an option then think again.

Nissan has billed its e-NV200 Combi as the world's first electric MPV.

It might not get the same sort of coverage at its higher profile stablemate the Nissan Leaf or more upmarket electric offerings like the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model S but the e-NV200 certainly fills a niche and in many ways makes perfect sense.

Its van underpinnings (essentially it's a version of the e-NV200 van) mean it might be just a little too rough and rugged for some but the ability to transport up to seven people and its immense practicality combine to make a fairly compelling USP.

There are both five and seven-seat versions of the e-NV200, though I would imagine most buyers will probably plump for the seven-seater.

The two seats in the third row can be folded up, while the middle-row three-seat bench can also be folded and tumbled out of the way, boosting carrying capacity.

According to Nissan it's possible to accommodate three full-size bikes with all the seats out of the way.

My initial feeling when I set off in it for the first time was that of being in a kind of upmarket milk float - given the silence, its van-like character and high driving position.

However, once you get over its initial oddness the e-NV200 is a vehicle that is very easy to like and for eco-minded families it is absolutely perfect.

No doubt it will also prove attractive to taxi drivers and shuttle firms.

Looks-wise it's not really any different to the many cheaper MPVs based on vans, in the shape of the Citroen Berlingo or Fiat Qubo, all of which offer space and versatility for a relatively modest price.

It is larger than vehicles like the Berlingo or Qubo though, given it's DNA is that of a mid-sized rather than a compact van.

Along with that high driving position it also has another van-like benefit in the shape of sliding doors, which make getting in and out super easy and are also a godsend in the kind of tight parking spaces you'll encounter in supermarket or multi-storey car parks.

Given it's an electric vehicle the e-NV200 is certainly not cheap, though that initial outlay is certainly compensated for by extraordinarily cheap running costs and is offset by the £3,500 government car grant.

Nissan quote running costs of around 2p per mile and there's the added bonus of the cost of maintenance being far less than a conventional diesel alternative.

So, what's the e-NV200 like to live with?

As with any electric vehicle you need to get into a charging mindset, and think just a little bit differently. You also need to plan ahead.

The e-NV200 has the same basic electric powertrain as the Nissan Leaf - it's powered by a 40kWh battery, which replaces the old 24kWh one.

A slight downside is that you won't get the same sort of range as the Leaf, given the overall design and a lack of aerodynamics but the range is quoted as between 130 and 180 miles.

Its range can vary considerably - depending on a whole host of factors - such as the time of year, temperature, how you drive it and whether you're using the heating or air-conditioning extensively.

Charging can be done in a number of ways.

You can simply plug into a domestic wall socket, as I did.

This can take a while - up to 21 hours to fully charge - so a preferred option would be having a 7Kw wallbox installed. A full charge using one takes around 7.5 hours.

If you're out and about and have access to a fast charger in a public place than it will deliver an 80 per cent charge in just 40-60 minutes.

Milk float comparisons apart, the e-NV200 is actually rather fun to drive.

It has a tremendous turn of pace, particularly from a standing start and there were a number of occasions when I left some rather confused looking motorists in my wake at traffic lights.

It's possible to regulate its power, and therefore the amount of torque available.

There are economy and power drive modes, which essentially do what they say on the tin.

In addition if you put the automatic transmission into B mode it will essentially brake the car when you remove your foot from the accelerator.

This also has the effect of regenerating energy back to the battery.

Although it is surprisingly powerful, not surprisingly the e-NV200 isn't really designed to go around corners at speed, so a degree of caution is required.

Ride quality is comfortable and given its relative bulk the e-NV200 is also surprisingly manoeuvrable.

It comes well equipped, with Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, a sat-nav system, cruise control and a reversing camera - which actually feels like an essential.

All the info you need as an electric driver is prominently and clearly displayed, particularly the range indicator.

A NissanConnect EV app will enable you to stay on top of electric car driving and is well worth getting familiar with.

FAST FACTS

Nissan e-NV200 Combi Plus 7 Seater Evalia

Price: £30,595 exc VAT

Mechanical: 108ps electric motor driving front wheels via CVT gearbox

Max Speed:76mph

0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 180 miles

Insurance Group:12

C02 emissions:0g/km

Bik rating:13%

Warranty:3yrs/100,000 miles

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