Few things in life bring out the inner child in everyone quite like an ice cream van. And yet they are a blight on every beauty spot they rock up to on a sunny day. They sit there for hours on end with a diesel engine chugging away to power the freezers, making noise and chucking out pollution. But this Nissan e-NV200 shows there could another way.
Developed in conjunction with Scottish ice cream maker Mackie’s to mark Clean Air Day, the e-NV200 shows how a ‘sky to scoop’ approach could dramatically cut the ice cream industry’s carbon footprint.
As the name suggests, the e-NV200 is itself battery-powered. The various freezers and ice cream machines in the back are run off solar panels and Nissan’s upcoming Energy ROAM batteries.
The batteries in electric cars have a set useful life, after which they loose their ability to hold charge long enough for use in a car. But even at that stage, they aren’t completely useless. Old batteries from Nissan’s electric cars go back to their maker and Nissan has developed the Energy ROAM batteries to make use of them. The batteries are suitable for lots of different applications – including powering an ice cream van – and go on sale later this year.
The tie-up with Mackie’s came about because its factory is powered entirely by renewable energy.
As an ice cream van, the e-NV200 has a few innovations. Rather than playing a jingle through a PA to announce its presence, it automatically tweets its location. It has a contactless payment panel built into the body. And, because they have to stand outside, the vendor isn’t separated from the customer.
During down time, the e-NV200 can store energy generated by renewable sources to be put back into the National Grid.
Ice cream vans have now come under pressure in the war on emissions. If this concept proves to be viable, one of life’s greatest pleasures is less likely to fall victim to the war.
By Graham King