A single award is more than enough to shout about, but two means you’re doing something really special. That’s exactly what the Nissan Townstar EV achieved in the 2024 What Van? Awards, when it picked up both the Electric Van of the Year and the Compact Van of the Year gongs. 

Bear in mind when the Nissan Townstar EV hit the UK market – September 2023 – this is an even more impressive feat, as just three months on sale turned our judges’ heads enough to award it double honours. Not only that, but the Compact Van of the Year category is chosen by judges without submissions, which means vehicles are selected on their own merits and nothing more, with no input from the manufacturer whatsoever. 

All of the above is testament to the excellent all-round package the Nissan Townstar EV represents for modern LCV fleets, but it’s worth exploring exactly what makes the double award-winning van of the moment. 

EV powertrain 

The option of an electric powertrain is critical for fleets keen to quash running costs and for those that want to reduce their carbon footprint, and the Nissan Townstar EV’s 100% electric drivetrain does exactly that. 

The 122hp electric motor is powered by a 45kWh battery, which collectively creates instant low-down torque for silent and rapid off-the-mark acceleration – ideal for businesses operating in cities, but also smooth and quiet out of town – and has a range of up to 183 miles on the WLTP combined cycle, putting it at the forefront of the compact electric van pack.  

Also ideal for urban operators is the Townstar EV’s complete lack of tailpipe emissions, rendering it compliant with the London ULEZ and existing and forthcoming clean air zones in other UK cities, so drivers and operators can duck in and out without fear of charges and futureproof their fleets.   

Those operating in the capital could also save up to £12,000 when they purchase a new Nissan Townstar EV with the Transport for London (TfL) Scrappage Scheme and the central Government’s Plug-in Van and Truck Grant. Subject to eligibility, the former offers up to £9,500 to sole traders, small businesses and micro businesses that scrap non-ULEZ compliant van and buy a new zero-emissions equivalent, while the latter (which is available to all – not just London-based operators) offers up to £5,000 to those purchasing an electric-powered commercial vehicle. 

Ergonomic design

A cutting-edge electric powertrain gets you a long way to a double award win – but not all the way. To be truly at the forefront of the pack, a van needs a fresh, modern design and, above all, enough space and a suite of practical features to render it truly useful for operators. 

The Nissan Townstar EV has those qualities in abundance, starting with its fresh, distinctive styling, honed for the best possible aerodynamic performance which, in turn, leads to optimum efficiency and refinement. Instantly recognisable as a Nissan, the front shield features the intricate Kumiko pattern – a unique design motif found in many of the brand’s vehicles – which reflects its Japanese DNA, and the van’s design language took cues from the company’s Ariya electric passenger car. 

Comfort is also a prerequisite, especially for the likes of delivery drivers, who spend their days at the wheel. The Nissan Townstar EV ticks the box here, too, as our judges praised its “refinement and ride quality [which] are of a high standard. The silent powertrain means the only noise entering the well-upholstered cabin comes from the wheels on the road”. In the cabin, the modern centre console features a 10-inch digital instrument panel, which offers easy-to-use touchscreen functions via its tablet-style screen. 

Practicality is a cornerstone of any van, but a double award-winner has to go a step further, which is exactly what the Nissan Townstar EV does with its series of versatile configurations. Available in short- and long-wheelbase guises, dubbed L1 and L2 respectively, cargo space ranges from 3.3m3 to 4.3m3, up to 1.8 metres of load length (L1), up to 2.2 metres of load length (L2), and the latter version’s side door spans 831mm, which creates enough space to load a Europallet. There’s also no shortage of pulling power from the electric drivetrain, which makes for an impressive towing capacity of 1,500kg. 

Advanced technology 

Think vans are basic? Think again, at least in the Nissan Townstar EV’s case. It is fitted with no less than 23 different technology features, and the aforementioned 10-inch digital instrument panel houses a multitude of cutting-edge functions. These start with the Intelligent Around View Monitor, which uses a 360-degree view to help drivers manoeuvre the vehicle in the tightest of city streets. The system displays the vehicle’s surroundings via camera feeds from the front, rear, and sides, and creates a bird’s-eye view of the van, providing drivers with a highly accurate image for ultimate ease of parking. It also detects nearby moving objects around and warns the driver to support safe manoeuvres when parking or pulling out of a space.

Then there is ProPILOT Assist which, when activated, allows the van to automatically follow the vehicle in front on a dual carriageway or motorway. It maintains a pre-set distance and keeps the van in the centre of its lane, even during gentle curves. It automatically slows down the van when the traffic slows, then brings it back up to a safe speed and distance when things get moving. 

Next up is the Intelligent Blind Spot Warning and Intervention system, which alerts drivers if it detects another vehicle entering their blind spot. It can also gently apply the brakes to tuck the van back into its lane if there is a risk of a lane-change collision.  

The Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Emergency Braking function builds on the above by monitoring the vehicle in front. It keeps an eye out for sudden deceleration and, when it detects it, alerts the driver that they need to slow down via audible and visual warnings, then independently applies the brakes to help avoid or reduce the impact of a collision.  

Last but not least is Intelligent Cruise Control. This system measures the distance from the vehicle in front and automatically adjusts the van’s acceleration and deceleration to maintain a safe distance and a smooth cruising speed. 

The Nissan Townstar EV also features class-leading connectivity systems, courtesy of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for on-the-go smartphone syncing via the 10-inch display, and the NissanConnect Services App. Pair the latter with the van’s infotainment system, and you can find the nearest charging station, plan your route simply with Google search, and travel smarter with Live Traffic Data, among other functions. 

The app also allows drivers to remotely keep tabs on the Nissan Townstar EV’s battery and cabin temperature. It displays the battery’s range and state of charge, and the climate control can also be adjusted on your phone’s screen while the van is plugged into a charger, so there is no impact on its electric range.   

The Nissan Townstar EV is available with three trim levels: Acenta, Tekna, and Tekna+, with equipment levels ascending accordingly. 

Peace of mind

Vehicle off road time (VOR) is a huge issue for fleet operators, and no business can thrive when its vans are off the road. That’s why Nissan’s LCVs are sold an industry-leading five-year/100,000-mile warranty, so businesses have ultimate peace of mind that their vehicles will remain on the road for the long run. 

For further confidence in the drivetrain and the most critical component of any electric vehicle, Nissan EVs receive an eight-year battery warranty. 

Brand and electrification expertise

Nissan is a pioneer of electric vehicles and has a wealth of experience in EV and battery technology. The brand has been at the pinnacle of electrification since it launched the original Leaf in 2010 – the first mass-market electric passenger car – and it laid the groundwork for plug-in LCVs with the popular e-NV200, which saw many a fleet take its first foray into zero emission commercial vehicles. 

The Townstar EV draws on those years of experience, which positions it at the forefront of the plug-in van market and means business operators can be confident that their choice of electric van is the culmination of that expertise. 

Nissan’s wealth of EV knowhow extends to the aftersales sector, too, with its 37-strong network of Van Centres and a highly trained team to support customers with specialist equipment, conversion capabilities, test drives, and more. 

For more information about the multi-award-winning Nissan Townstar EV, visit www.nissan.co.uk