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Nissan LEAF truck being tested in Japan

Nissan is testing a new battery electric truck, the e-NT400, in Japan with all components being based on the Nissan LEAF's electric powertrain.


According to Nissan's Japanese-language corporate news site, the company began testing a new electric truck this month based on the Nissan LEAF's powertrain and built on an NT400 chassis - a truck called the Cabstar in the UK and similar to the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter and other small delivery trucks sold globally.

The experimental e-NT400 utilizes the LEAF's 80 kW motor, 24 kWh battery pack, and other components. Its range is about 38 miles and it recharges to 80 percent in about 30 minutes from a 50 kW CHADeMO charger.

While thirty-eight miles doesn't sound like much, for an urban delivery truck like this, it's adequate. The duty cycle of a small box truck such as the NT400 is typically within twenty miles of its home base and well-positioned chargers at loading docks at the truck's home yard would mean recharging could happen while the truck is being loaded, which typically happens several times daily as deliveries are done throughout the day to and from the home dock.

Although details are scant, we can assume that the test period is to see whether this configuration is suitable for a small production run of these trucks for commercial purchase. Many businesses, especially in Japan which has heavy incentives for green energy use, could benefit from a truck like this and if the market is good, expansion of the offering to Europe or even parts of North America is not out of the question.

The truck is operating in Toyama, Japan and Nissan has not said how long the testing will be conducted.


Parks McCants    May 1, 2014 - 11:57AM

well, actually, if we discount engine idle time on most small delivery trucks, this thing may actually work for inner city , short rout delivery. How about load capacity? How much weight will it handle, and, how does the drive train and electric engine of the tiny Leaf push this truck down the road, or up city street hills. Boston and San Francisco come to mind...

Aaron Turpen    May 1, 2014 - 5:49PM

In reply to by Parks McCants

The NT400 is a 3-ton chassis. The truck itself is roughly the size of the largest U-Haul you can rent. Pulling freight is all about torque application, not "power" in the traditional sense. This is why diesel is often the engine of choice for freight moving. Electric is even better, since full torque is available throughout the RPM spectrum. You also remove the weight of the transmission in these vehicles, making up for the extra weight of batteries. A small, diesel-driven truck like this (typically 2.5L) puts out about 90 kW at its peak RPM point, so 80 kW with full torque from 0 RPM is better than equivalent.