For those with a large family seeking zero-emissions transport, Nissan has the answer: the seven-seater version of its van-based e-NV200 people carrier.
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It uses the motor and lithium-ion battery pack from the Leaf EV and features two fold-down seats in the boot. The car has been built primarily for private hire taxi drivers, fleets and hotels, but it could also work as a cheap-to-run family car for private buyers.
It’s not suitable for long journeys, though. Nissan quotes a range of just 106 miles, yet admits 70 miles is more realistic. Still, the e-NV200 has its merits on short trips. As it’s based on a van, you sit high up, so visibility is brilliant – although the bouncy suspension and remote driving experience betray its roots. But you don’t suffer the diesel clatter associated with commercial vehicles, plus it’s nippy at lower speeds – the instant response of the electric motor makes it feel far swifter than its 14-second 0-62mph time suggests.
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There’s plenty of space inside the e-NV200 and the sliding doors make it easy to fit a child seat in the middle row. The rearmost bench is very tight on kneeroom, but unlike in many car-based MPVs, their bases are a normal height – so headroom’s fine.
In five-seat configuration, boot capacity is 870 litres. That rises to 2,940 litres with all the seats down, which is 601 litres more than in a Ford Galaxy. But storage is lacking, and quality is down on car-based rivals’.
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Even so, you can get it with gadgets such as CarWings telematics, sat-nav, a reversing camera and even a heated steering wheel. The biggest issue is price. Our Tekna Rapid Plus costs £26,429 after the £5,000 Government grant. It’s cheap to run, though, and if you can find a rapid charger, you can restore the batteries to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes.