yet another van? Scroll down to see
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.
the pod is withdrawn from the van, the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
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.
plastics, rubberised fabrics and acid
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.
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
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
Naturally, he also needs a change
of dry clothes, food, water and somewhere to sleep.
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.
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
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.
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.
a small generator housed within the
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.
exterior has a scratch resistant matt
satin finish in a steel grey colour to
emphasise the 'toolbox' nature of the
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).
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
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
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
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).