The e-NV200’s big advantages over diesel-engined vans are that the torque from its electric motor arrives immediately (all 187lb ft of it) and that you don’t have any gears to change though. Driving is therefore seamless and smooth.
The obvious limitation is its shorter service range, but with a battery pack that allows the e-NV200 to cover more than 100 miles on a charge in real-world conditions, many vans, particularly if operated by businesses with set areas of operation, will survive the working day if charged on a nightly basis.
Occasional longer journeys are possible, too, thanks to fast charging; the on-board 6.6kW charger allows the battery to be charged up to 80% in just 30 minutes, at the kind of charging point you'll find at a motorway service station. That's compared with eight hours from a 32A wall box.
There’s also an Eco mode that helps drivers improve the range of the van. This limits acceleration and increases how much energy is recovered while coasting and braking. It’s a useful addition to the overall driving experience, because it encourages much greater awareness and forward planning in order to maximise the regenerative potential of the systems. However, with the Eco button turned off, the e-NV200 becomes an enjoyably and surprisingly fast little van.
The floor-mounted batteries help to lower its centre of gravity, and, in a high-sided van like this, that certainly makes it feel more planted than the diesel-engined NV200.
The real bonus, however, is in the utter serenity of its driving experience. The 1.5-litre diesel engine in the NV200 is not particularly noisy, unless you have the five-speed manual gearbox and are doing a lot of motorway mileage. But without an engine altogether, the e-NV200 becomes truly relaxing to be in thanks to its sheer quietness. Road noise is present, but only because there is nothing else to drown it out, so it's far from being bothersome.