Nissan’s all-electric ice cream van prototype presents a zero-emission solution to vendors

Nissan has partnered with ice cream makers, Mackies of Scotland, to create an all-electric, zero-emission ice cream van complete with a fridge, freezer, solar panels and soft-serve machine.

The ice cream van concept is based on Nissan’s all-electric e-NV200 light commercial vehicle, which combines a zero-emission drivetrain, second-life battery storage and renewable solar energy generation for the home as well. Through a V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) charger, the e-NV200’s battery can be used to store surplus energy from the National Grid and then provide it back to the grid when it’s needed.

Ice cream vans have come under criticism as most ice cream vans, particularly older models, have diesel engines which are kept running to operate the refrigeration equipment. Such ice cream vans produce harmful emissions, including black carbon, when left idling. Some UK towns and cities are now looking to ban or fine these vehicles. Nissan’s concept presents a potential solution for vendors looking to reduce their carbon footprint, and offer customers a better experience.

Nissan’s prototype van has a hatch that opens in the side of the vehicle, with the vendor dispensing ice cream standing next to the van – a customer-facing experience instead of being separated by an elevated counter. It also brings the ice cream van experience in to the present day with payment methods including cash, contactless, as well as a ‘tap-to-pay’ panel mounted on the side of the van, enabling customers to pay via smartphone.

Instead of a jingle to attract customers – not always popular with parents – the ice cream van concept has a smart button that generates a tweet of the van’s precise location using the global addressing service What3Words.

Whilst the van’s motor is driven by a 40kWh battery, the on-board ice cream equipment is powered by the Nissan Energy ROAM, which goes on sale later in 2019, a portable power pack that uses lithium-ion cells recovered from early first-generation Nissan electric vehicles (produced from 2010 onwards). This provides a sustainable second-life for Nissan EV batteries.

Kalyana Sivagnanam, managing director of Nissan Motor GB, said: “Ice cream is enjoyed the world over, but consumers are increasingly mindful of the environmental impact of how we produce such treats, and the ‘last mile’ of how they reach us.

“This project is a perfect demonstration of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility strategy, applying more than a decade of EV experience and progress in battery technology to create cleaner solutions for power on the go – in ways customers might not expect.

“By eliminating harmful tailpipe emissions, and increasing our use of renewable energy, we can help make this a better world for everyone.”

The family-owned business Mackie’s of Scotland powers its dairy farm by renewable wind and solar energy. It exports 4.5 times more energy to the national grid than the dairy farm consumes.

The all-electric ice cream van was unveiled on Clean Air Day in the UK on June 20.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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