When the Nissan Leaf first shipped, some analysts pointed out that the air-cooled battery pack could be susceptible to heat in high-temp locales. Nissan dismissed these concerns, though a snafu over the dropping range of Leaf EVs in the Southwest U.S. apparently left its mark.
When the Nissan e-NV200 electric van ships later this year, it will do so with a “thermal conditioning” setup first uncovered by Transport Evolved. This system apparently routes warm or cold fluids into a radiator at the front of the slightly-altered battery pack, keeping the battery at its optimum temperature. A fan then draws air in through the radiator, warming or cooling it before pumped it over the battery pack through special channels. The system runs off of the air conditioner it appears, and is controlled entirely by the van’s on-board computer.
This marks a shift away from Nissan’s insistence that cooling the battery with air was good enough, even though other EVs and hybrids, like the Tesla Model S and Chevy Volt, both use liquid-cooling systems to maintain optimum operating temperatures. So why make the switch?
Simply put, Nissan expects the e-NV200 to be used primarily for commercial purposes. That means hauling bigger loads, more frequent charging, and long periods of idling waiting for customers or deliveries. Basically, a hardier battery pack is a must-have for the e-NV200, and we’re glad to see Nissan didn’t skimp out this time.