We’ve seen electric sedans, sports cars, crossovers, and even pickup trucks, but there’s one segment of the market that’s been left out: minivans. The only minivans I’ve seen are the Nissan ENV-200 work van and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (a PHEV). For the United States, the Nissan hasn’t been an option, but the Pacifica PHEV is all we’ve got.
When I tested the PHEV in 2019, I figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t much of an EV. It wasn’t very difficult to get the gas engine to kick on, even in EV mode. Why? Because the electric motor is somewhat undersized, and just doesn’t have the juice for passing or other maneuvers where you need a little extra oomph. But, for people who need the space and the functionality of an minivan, it’s the only girl in town (at least in the States).
But, Nissan seems to be figuring out that an electric minivan is important, because it recently announced pricing for its Townstar minivan, and it’s available either as gas or electric.
The Townstar is the e-NV200’s successor, and is designed to protect businesses against future trends and spur the transition to electric vehicles. What makes it appealing, though, are its two cutting-edge powertrains — one petrol and one fully electric — paired with the newest driving technologies.
Customers wanting zero-emission vehicles will pay from £29,945 for a short-wheelbase Townstar with a 45kWh battery and a range of up to 183 miles WLTP combined or up to 269 miles in city cycle. A refined 1.3-liter TCe petrol engine that is fully compliant with the current Euro 6d Full emissions requirements offers 130 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, giving power and efficiency in equal measure. Starting at £19,475 for gasoline versions, the Townstar offers a high equipment specification and a choice of either a short or long wheelbase.
Townstar brings a suite of 20+ technologies to the compact van segment, featuring advanced safety features and driver assistance systems such as Intelligent Emergency Braking, Hands-Free Parking, Intelligent Cruise Control and Around View Monitor (AVM). With these cutting-edge technologies, Nissan says the Townstar is setting the standard for its category.
There are four trim levels to choose from: Visia, Acenta, Tekna, and Tekna+. All are generously specified. The carrying capacities are impressive too: up to 600kg (SWB) or 800kg (LWB). And the maximum braked towing capacity is 1,500kg.
“We’re delighted to be providing more information about all-new Townstar as its arrival in the UK approaches. Offering two efficient powertrain solutions, practical design and unique Nissan technologies, it is comprehensively equipped to meet customers’ ever-changing needs,” said Allan Newman, LCV product manager at Nissan GB. “With tougher emissions standards, urban access restrictions, and ever-increasing demand for last-mile delivery, businesses large and small need to find effective and sustainable solutions to remain competitive and optimise their operations. We’re confident Townstar will meet their every need.”
Specs For The Electric Version
The two- and four-wheel electric versions of the all-new Townstar are priced at £29,945 and £36,995 respectively, with an 11kW (Visia grade) or 22kW AC (Acenta grade on) on-board charging system that will be class leading in its sector. There will also be a DC rapid charging connector standard across all Acenta grades, which can replenish the battery from 0% to 80% in around 40 minutes.
The cost of an all-electric short-wheelbase vehicle ranges from £34,845 to £35,845 for a Tekna+ model. The long-wheelbase all-electric Townstar has a starting price of £31,245 (Visia) and finishes at £35,845 (Tekna+).
All versions will come with a 5-year or 100,000-mile warranty on the engine and battery, in addition to an 8-year or 100,000-mile battery warranty for the EV version. This includes genuine parts and accessories as well as roadside assistance — giving comprehensive coverage for when you need it most.
If you’re looking at the petrol versions, the starting price is £19,475 for a short-wheelbase Visia trim level. It’s powered by Nissan’s 1.3-litre TCe petrol engine and has a 6-speed manual transmission.
The most costly short-wheelbase petrol-powered Townstar, in top-of-the-line Tekna+ specification, costs £23,125. Long-wheelbase petrol versions start at £20,775 (Visia) and rise to £24,425 (Tekna+).
While having a gas and an electric version probably doesn’t seem like exciting news to CleanTechnica readers, keep in mind that this could actually help companies and later individuals get into the electric version. Companies that don’t trust electric yet can get one and when they get used to the platform, moving to electric will give a mostly familiar experience. The decent sales Ford’s F-150 Lightning gets prove this theory out, as people accustomed to the gas version don’t find the electric version to be intimidatingly foreign and novel.
When UK Buyers Will See Them
The petrol and electric versions will begin selling on October 1st, while pre-orders for both models will open on August 22nd.
Why No US Version?
One of the cool things about the Townstar’s predecessor was its active air cooling. The vehicle reportedly had a cooling system that tied into the vehicle’s air conditioning system to cool the battery pack off. This isn’t as good as liquid cooling, but it put the vehicle head and shoulders above the related Nissan LEAF for commercial users.
For people in the United States, especially the South and Southwest regions, having an electric minivan with some kind of cooling and at reasonable prices would have been a great option for all of the years the eNV-200 was up for sale. But, alas, it was not to be, and we have no idea why.
This would have been a great opportunity for the company to introduce a new electric vehicle into the US market. With a new nameplate, growing demand for work EVs, and the beginnings of success with Ford’s commercial offerings, it would have been a great lower price alternative to vehicles like the e-Transit. But, once again, Nissan doesn’t seem to want to sell these in the United States.
Nissan needs to rethink this strategy, and maybe even step up and offer larger vehicles powered by electric, too. Even if the Townstar wouldn’t have been the most compelling option for US buyers who want larger vehicles, it would have at least given Nissan a beachhead in the growing commercial EV market.
Featured image provided by Nissan UK.
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