Nissan NV400 electric... ambulance?

  • Nissan’s large van for Europe converted into an ambulance in Japan
  • One-off electric powertrain – but could it preview an e-NV400 for sale?
  • Full details, including Nissan’s thoughts about building a large electric van

Nissan EV Ambulance - based on NV400 van, front view, 2020

Nissan and Tokyo have joined forces in Japan to start trials of an electric ambulance – based on the NV400 large van.

This is complicated for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the NV400 is a European model, not typically sold in Japan. Secondly, there isn’t presently an electric version of the NV400.

Yet somehow, the stars have aligned to create the Nissan NV400 Zero Emissions (EV) Ambulance, which becomes the first electric ambulance on the Tokyo Fire Department’s fleet.

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We know. But this is interesting in as much as it hints that Nissan is experimenting with an electric version of its NV400 large van – which would presumably slot into the Nissan van range as the e-NV400, and bigger brother to the well-established e-NV200 electric small van.

Could Nissan build an electric version of the NV400?

Well, any manufacturer can do anything, and there are a lot of new electric large vans heading our way in the coming years – but in Nissan’s case this wouldn’t be a big stretch at all.

After all, the NV400 is a rebranded version of the Renault Master, and there’s already an electric version of that called the Master ZE – the ZE also standing for Zero Emissions.

Since Renault and Nissan are alliance partners, it surely wouldn’t be difficult to put an e-NV400 into production should the large electric van market really take off. Which it might do now that everyone has gotten so used to the improved air quality caused by the reduction in traffic during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

But will Nissan build an electric version of the e-NV400?

Funnily enough, we asked that question. And funnily enough, Nissan had a pre-prepared reply, saying: ‘We are closely following the market trends and studying the needs of customers. We are open for any opportunities but there nothing to share as of now.’

Nissan also cleared up any curiosity you might have about whether this EV ambulance might make its way to Europe, with a spokesperson adding there are ‘no plans to make the same for Europe at this time. The e-NV400 was developed on a specific demand for one unique model in Tokyo.’

So tell us a little more about this ambulance

It’s part of a ‘Zero Emission Tokyo’ initiative, and is going into service with the Ikebukuro branch of the Tokyo Fire Department, and even comes with an electric stretcher, intended to make moving patients easier for the ambulance crew.

Nissan EV Ambulance - based on NV400 van, electric stretcher, 2020

Similarly, the smoothness and quietness of the electric drive is expected to make the ride better for patients and staff. Plus it should be easier on any sensitive equipment on board.

The NV400 ambulance is powered by two main battery packs – though it’s a little unclear if these are 33kWh each or in total. (It would make sense if it was each, as the Master ZE is powered by a single 33kWh pack.)

Nissan hasn’t said what the driving range is, but given the weight of all the kit it won’t be a radically long distance; the 205-mile PSA Groupe medium electric vans weigh far less and require 75kWh of battery to go that far.

However, there’s also an additional 8kWh battery pack in the ambulance that powers the electric equipment and the air-conditioning system.

The ambulance can also function as a mobile power source in cases of natural disaster – a theme Nissan has explored with previous concepts, including the Navara EnGuard.

Also read:

>> The Parkers guide to electric vans

>> Our main Nissan NV400 review

>> Our Renault Master ZE electric van review

>> The best electric vans you can buy now

>> Future electric vans coming soon