Nissan gave another glimpse into the auto industry’s electric future at the Tokyo Truck Show Thursday, but this time it’s electric vehicle-inspired trucks that are basking in the limelight.
The automaker, winning plaudits for its LEAF electric car, unveiled a trio of LCVs, each a variation of the Atlas F24 light-duty truck that tap advanced battery and other technologies used in the groundbreaking EV.
“We started mass-producing electric vehicles with the LEAF and now we’ve adapted the technology to an LCV using that know-how,” Hideto Murakami, corporate vice president for Nissan's global LCV business, said today. “So far, there haven’t been any major obstacles while developing the prototype.”
Pride of place at the truck show goes to Nissan’s battery-powered e-NT400 Atlas concept, which uses a similar powertrain to the LEAF and can run up to 100 kilometers* carrying a 600kg 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,” says 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 is also showing 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 LCVs by 2016.