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Nissan NV200 concept at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show
From a diver's dream...
To a professional toolbox on wheels

Nissan NV200 concept van at the 2007 Tokyo motor show: front view, closed.

NV200: yet another van? Scroll down to see for yourself.

APN,
2 November 2007.

A toolbox on wheels. That's what designers at the Nissan Design Center (NDC) in Japan and Nissan Design Europe in the UK had in mind when they designed the NV200 concept, displayed at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show (27 October to 11 November).

They were probably fed up with the seldom changing small van segment.

In other words, that's one way to make the van a desirable object of passion, even if you always hated vans.

Nissan NV200 concept van at the 2007 Tokyo motor show: combined view inside out.

As the pod is withdrawn from the van, the area left behind is transformed into a mobile office and IT dock.

Function & aesthetics - Says Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and chief creative officer at Nissan Motor Company: "A commercial vehicle has a specific job to perform, but that's no reason to design a purely rational vehicle with no warmth. In NV200, function becomes the aesthetic. NV200 is a highly efficient tool but one with a human touch."

Professional services are getting more and more specialised and technology oriented, with  computer extensions for diagnosis and repairs, not to mention the usual administrative work that an electrician, a plumber or a physician has to perform for accounts, tax, social security and similar purposes.

That's what makes the charm of a vehicle like the NV200 for professionals: it is a mobile office and van in the same package, with a sliding cargo 'pod' that extends to reveal IT workspace and living quarters.

Nissan NV200 concept van at the 2007 Tokyo motor show: dashboard.

Hard plastics, rubberised fabrics and acid yellow highlights.

However, in this concept's case, inspiration came from a professional diver. So it shows a more adventure- oriented context than a down-to-earth mobile mechanic, plumber or electrician van. But since flexibility is the name of the game, interior adaptations can be easily imagined with modular designs. Anyway, here is the adventurous context of the NV200 original idea, as told by Nissan.

Nissan NV200
Length 4,380mm
Width 1,700mm
Height 1,840mm
Wheelbase 2,820mm
Seating 2

 

When world-renowned marine biologist and underwater photographer Dr Alex Mustard sets off on an expedition, he takes with him underwater cameras and lights, scuba diving equipment such as wet suits, flippers, masks, air tanks and breathing apparatus.

Dr Mustard even takes an underwater scooter for reconnaisance trips, computer equipment for downloading his digital images and mobile communication equipment to send images to clients or research centres.

Naturally, he also needs a change of dry clothes, food, water and somewhere to sleep.

Nissan NV200 concept van at the 2007 Tokyo motor show: inside storage and fridge.

The end of the pod facing the inside of the van has hanging space for dry clothes. It also houses a small refrigerator, drop down sink unit and first aid kit.

In fact, he takes enough gear to fill a small van. And he wouldn't mind at all if that van could double as a mobile office.

Without pre-conceived ideas, the joint design team from Japan and the UK has developed this futuristic, yet entirely practical new concept.

From the outside, NV200 has a cab-forward design. Rising side windows accentuate a high waistline over a good 2820mm wheelbase, with a practical 1840mm height, for a roomy load space.

To make a flexible toolbox for professionals, a patented sliding cargo pod is divided into a number of separate areas into which different pieces of diving and photographic equipment can be stored.

Nissan NV200 concept van at the 2007 Tokyo motor show: open pod.

Wet lockers, 4 air tanks and an area for an underwater scooter.

The pod is latched inside the shell of the load area when the van is being driven. But upon arrival at its destination, it slides out rearwards to allow easy access to the storage zones. The pod is deployed manually with the aid of hydraulic rams, and sits on integrated 'drop-down' legs when fully extended.

As well as housing diving gear in separate 'wet' lockers, the pod holds four air tanks (see photo above) and there's an area specially shaped to hold the underwater scooter securely. Lockable roller blinds protect the contents, while valuable camera equipment can be accessed either from within NV200 or from outside the pod.

Nissan NV200 concept van at the 2007 Tokyo motor show: office with computers and LCD monitors.

A computer table drops down from the side of the van to reveal two LCD screens. The front passenger seat swivels backwards on a single curved rail to face the table.

As the pod is withdrawn from the van, the area left behind is transformed into a mobile office and IT dock. A computer table drops down (opposite photo) from the side of the van to reveal two LCD screens upon which images can be edited. The front passenger seat swivels backwards on a single curved rail to face the table.

A shockproof briefcase made from rugged ribbed plastic houses a laptop. When not in use, it docks into a side of the van beneath the worktable. A magnetic clipboard is attached to the opposite wall of the workspace, while moveable storage boxes are mounted in all three doors.

Nissan NV200 concept van at the 2007 Tokyo motor show: solar panels on the roof.

Solar panels feed a small generator housed within the van.

Natural light for the work surface comes from a small side window above the bank of screens and from a large domed skylight in the roof of the van (opposite photo). In tropical climates, the skylight can be diffused to prevent a build up of heat within the interior.

The end of the pod facing the inside of the van forms a bulkhead behind the front seats when the pod is not deployed, and has hanging space for dry clothes. It also houses a small refrigerator, drop down sink unit and first aid kit.

NV200's tanks hold enough water to supply a shower, fitted on the outside of the pod, to allow diving equipment to be washed after use.

Power for the computer, shower, fridge and other electrical fixtures comes from a small generator housed within the van. This, in turn, is charged by solar panels situated on the roof of the pod.

When the pod is deployed, the solar panels are directly exposed to daylight. But even when the pod is pushed back into the van, the panels line up beneath the skylight. In this way, power can be generated in daylight hours whether the vehicle is stationary or not.

Nissan NV200 concept van at the 2007 Tokyo motor show: rear view, closed.

The exterior has a scratch resistant matt satin finish in a steel grey colour to emphasise the 'toolbox' nature of the project.

A two-people tent - accessed from outside NV200 - is housed at the base of the B-pillar behind the driver's door, while fillers for fuel and water are housed within the opposite B-pillar. The driver and passenger doors open conventionally, while access to the workspace is via a single sliding door on the passenger side (of this right-hand-drive concept, which corresponds, in the opposite photo, to the driver side of a left-hand-drive vehicle).

In the cockpit area, the skeletal aluminium seat frames are covered in a washable contoured material similar to the fabric used in sports shoes, with a 3D texture for extra grip.

Open storage areas run the width of the van beneath the instrument panel and control cluster. Sensors within the storage zones detect movement and illuminate the entire area as soon as a hand or an object is placed in or near the shelves (photo right below).

Nissan NV200 concept van at the 2007 Tokyo motor show: illuminated storage area beneath the intsrument panel.

Open storage areas run beneath the instrument panel and control cluster. Sensors within the storage zones detect movement and illuminate the entire area as soon as a hand or an object is placed in or near the shelves.

With no centrally mounted rear view mirror needed, its location has been filled by a small colour TV screen. A rear-facing camera - a Nissan feature that up until now has been used as solely a reversing aid - projects the view behind the van to the screen at all times.

On either side of the panel are two forward-facing glazed holders into which high-powered professional underwater torches can be slotted. When parked, the torches provide a floodlit area ahead of NV200.

Most of the materials, textures and colours used throughout NV200 reflect those used in the diving world. The exterior has a scratch resistant matt satin finish in a steel grey colour to emphasise the 'toolbox' nature of the project.

Interior materials are either hardened lightweight plastics or rubberised fabrics finished in a dark grey with acid yellow highlights. The glass is also tinted yellow.

Underwater and organic references can be found all over NV200. The purpose-made 20in alloy wheels feature six 'arms' that appear to grip the tyre itself, octopus-fashion. The tread pattern on Goodyear's tyres - also specially made for NV200 - incorporate octopus suckers onto a trainer-style sole.

The designers in the UK have allowed themselves one small visual joke. Opening the sliding door reveals the legend 'Mind The Gap' on the step up into the work area… a reference familiar to anyone who used London's Tube network, or the "Underground".

The wooden floor of NV200 is finished in a hardwearing but natural ebony, bringing a touch of warmth to an otherwise working environment.

Although the NV200 has been designed to suit the specific needs of one user, a diver, the principle behind the concept has a wide ranging potential. The team has identified mobile libraries, greengrocery stores, florists and even field ambulances among possible users of the pod. It is an adaptable and flexible concept that could fit many different applications.

NV200 also features an environmentally friendly clean diesel engine. It is equipped with a number of safety systems based on Nissan's Safety Shield concept, including Around View Monitor and Distance Control Assist System (see our Nissan technologies special feature).

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