Functionality is the main motivator for buying and therefor designing a small van, leaving it more or less as a box on wheels. Nissan is looking to revolutionise the small van market with their NV200 Concept van where function becomes the aesthetic, but beauty still lies in the eye of the beholder. The NV200 tries to combine the functionality of a van with the comfort of a mobile office.
The Nissan NV200 has been co-developed by Nissan Japan and UK offices with a specific target in mind, namely marine biologist Dr Alex Mustard's needs. The van uses a 2820 mm long wheelbase and is 1820 mm tall providing plenty of storage space. Nissan uses that space for a patented sliding cargo pod which extends from the rear. This pod has several storage units and allows for easy access when stationary.
When the pod is 'out', the interior of the van can be turned into a mobile office. A panel / desk folds down from the side of the van revealing two lcd monitors, the accompanying laptop sits in a shockproof suitcase underneath. Working light comes from a long narrow window above the monitors and a skylight in the roof. The inside end of the pod provides room for hanging some clothes and a drop-down sink, fridge and first aid kit.
The cabin is fitted with aluminium seats covered in washable contoured fabric also used in sport shoes, and offers large open storage spaces underneath the dashboard which light up when you reach down. Obviously Nissan could not mount a conventional rearview mirror, so Nissan instead mounted a small color TV monitor which is hooked up to a rear-facing camera normally used for parking guidance. The cockpit also features a skylight but with a wave pattern for diffused light. The interior is colored grey with acid yellow highlights while the exterior is also painted grey it has a non-scratch matt satin finish to resemble the 'toolbox' nature of the concept van.
"We wanted to create a flexible toolbox for professionals," says Stephane Schwarz, design director of Nissan Design Europe.
Leaves us to wonder just how much you can store in the van while on the move? After all, the pod needs to go somewhere too.