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Nissan Townstar EV review

The Nissan Townstar EV is a great little van, but with a very limited target market


If the Nissan Townstar EV's working range and charging requirements align with your company's usage, it's a great little van. But battery range remains a key limitation.

Review overview

Overall rating


If the Nissan Townstar EV's working range and charging requirements align with your company's usage, it's a great little van. But battery range remains a key limitation.

Make and model: Nissan Townstar EV L1 Tekna+
Description: Small delivery van, electric
Price range: £33,995 + VAT (plus options)

Nissan says: “Offering a fully electric powertrain, practical design and unique Nissan technologies, Townstar is comprehensively equipped to meet customers’ ever-changing needs.”

We say: A great little van, but with a very limited target market.


This is the all-new Nissan Townstar, which replaces the previous NV200 small van in the Nissan line-up. And this review is specifically about the Townstar EV, which replaced the e-NV200 version.

It’s a sibling to the Renault Kangoo and Mercedes-Benz Citan, with all three being largely the same vehicle with various cosmetic differences.

We drove the top-spec Tekna+ version, which is a bit OTT for regular urban delivery work, but all versions of the van perform similarly.

Who is this van aimed at?

Operators who usually work in a relatively small local area – Royal Mail delivery vans, for example – and can charge at a central base. Preferably an urban or suburban area, as EVs work best in stop-start environments. For last-mile deliveries, it’s a very appealing prospect.

For best use of a van like this one, you’ll need to have your own charging point available at the vehicle’s base of operations for maximum convenience and minimum charging costs. If you’re relying on public charging, it’s not going to be as viable a prospect.

Who won’t like it?

Operators who have longer runs. Officially, the Townstar can manage 180 miles on a full charge. We drove the car in mid-winter, and the dashboard readout only claimed about 100 miles – and we didn’t go anywhere near filling up the cargo bay.

Even a 100-mile range between charging is plenty for many operators, but if your business needs to carry goods over longer distances, you’ll have to factor in a charging stop somewhere along the way or way back.

If your needs involve longer trips or higher mileage on a regular basis, a petrol or diesel van is still likely to be more suitable for your needs.

What do you get for your money?

The Townstar range is available in two lengths (L1 and L2) and three trims (Acenta, Tekna and Tekna+). Pricing starts at 33,995 + VAT for the entry-level L1 Acenta, running up to £38,545 + VAT for the top-spec L2 Tekna+. There’s also a crew van model in L2 length.

All models get the same 90kW (122hp) electric motor and 45kWh battery, which provides that official battery range of 183 miles on the UK/EU lab test.

In terms of kit, the Acenta is likely to cover most business needs, with sliding doors on both sides, full-width solid bulkhead, rear parking sensors and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto for navigation. Solid grey bumpers and steel wheels will probably suit fleets who expect their vans to get scuffed up in day-to-day operations.

Tekna adds some useful tech, such as a rear camera (handy when you have zero rear visibility and no internal rear-view mirror), front parking sensors and a smartphone holder in front of the driver if you don’t want to use Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. There’s also keyless entry, which can auto-lock when the driver moves away from the car and unlock as they return – very useful for all-day-long delivery drops.

The top-spec Tekna+ version is probably a bit over the top for hardworking urban deliveries. It looks the part, with fully colour-coded bumpers and trim, and 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, but it won’t look quite so pretty once those shiny wheels get all scratched up from kerbs and potholes. Inside, you get a fully digital driver display instead of analogue gauges, 360-degree camera system and an automated parking assistant. You can also option Nissan’s Pro Pilot semi-autonomous driving system, which is great for motorway driving but not likely to be too useful on a vehicle best suited to stop-start urban work.

What can you get in it?

The L1 models offer 3.3m3 of load volume, while the L2 versions extend that to 4.3m3. Maximum payload of the L1 Tekna+ version we drove is 469kg, although lower-spec L2 versions can stretch that to a maximum of 574kg.

This shows the other key limitation of electric vans. The equivalent petrol L1 Tekna+ version has a maximum payload of 716kg – that’s an additional payload of almost 250kg over the EV version.

Maximum load length is 1.8m for the L1 models, and 2.2m for the L2 versions. Internal width is just under 1.6m (1.2m between the wheel arches), while height is just over 1.2m. The means you can fit two Euro pallets in the back of the L1, although you’ve have to load them from the rear rather than the side. The longer L2 also comes with longer sliding doors, so you can get a pallet in from the side.

For ease of access, there are sliding doors on both sides. At the back are 60/40-split barn doors, which open to 180 degrees. A solid bulkhead divides the cabin from the load area.

What’s the Nissan Townstar EV like inside?

The cabin is comfy, with decent views forwards and to the side. As with any delivery van, over-the shoulder blind spot views are non-existent, as is rearward visibility – Nissan doesn’t even bother with an internal rear-view mirror. Fortunately, the mirrors are a reasonable size and the cameras help for reversing into tight spaces – although they’re not the best cameras we’ve come across. All models have rear parking sensors, while Tekna and Tekna+ models also have parking sensors at the front.

Assuming that you want to use your smartphone for navigation, the central screen is a decent size and it integrates easily with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Storage space through the cabin is good, with various slots, shelves and cubby holes everywhere.

The load space is tall and square with good lashing points for securing your loads. Sliding doors on both sides allow you to load and unload the van easily in any situation. The rear barn doors swing to a full 180 degrees and seem to hold their position well when open, although we weren’t really testing them in gale-force conditions.

What’s under the bonnet?

The Nissan Townstar EV is powered by a single electric motor, which produces 90kW (122hp) and drives through the front wheels. Like all EVs, it has a single-speed transmission so there’s no manual option. Torque is decent at 245Nm, so it will still perform well while fully laden and, being an EV, the performance is available immediately rather than having to build up as the engine revs like a petrol or diesel van.

The motor is powered by a 45kWh battery, which as mentioned offers a claimed range of up to about 180 miles according to UK/EU government lab tests. However, this will reduce in real-world driving, as well as when the vehicle is loaded up rather than empty. Range is also affected by cold weather – we tested the Townstar in the middle of winter during a very cold week in January and the dashboard display suggested a maximum range of only 100 miles (and that was with an empty load bay).

What’s the Nissan Townstar EV like to drive?

The Nissan Townstar is mostly great for urban stop-start driving. Like any EV, it offers quiet, smooth and clean operation compared to a petrol or diesel van, which is pleasant for drivers as well as for everyone else around. In fact, the difference between the Townstar EV pulling up in my street compared to a rattly old Royal Mail van that pulled in shortly after was significant.

Underway, the performance is good and the ride is comfortable enough. The electric motor offers good low-down performance, which is exactly what you need around town. It starts running out of puff once you get to 60mph or so, but for cut-and-thrust driving in urban traffic it works well.

Being a pure workhorse, there’s no pretence at sportiness, which means no lowered suspension and big wheels. That will be a relief if you’re on the road all day, every day. It’s still not the softest ride you’ll ever experience, but it should at least be consistent regardless of how much load you’re carrying in the back. The driver’s seat helps with this, being comfortable and supportive.

The Townstar’s auto-locking and unlocking feature (on Tekna and Tekna+ models) is becoming more common on vans these days, and is also a useful bit of kit for delivery drivers. Assuming you have the key in your pocket, the doors lock as soon as you move away from the van and unlock as soon as you get close again. The function can be disabled if you don’t want to use it, but it’s certainly convenient.

Turning circle is pretty average, which could and should be better on an urban delivery van.

Charging the Nissan Townstar EV

As standard, the Townstar EV comes with the usual Type 2-to-Type 2 cable for connecting to a wallbox or slow charger, as well as a Type 2-to-Type 3 cable for plugging into a regular three-pin socket. Cable length is decent at about five metres – we’d prefer them to be a metre longer, but it’s better than some EV manufacturers provide.

There are no specific storage points for the charging cables, so you’ll have to work out where best to keep them for your needs. We’ve been told that they do fit on the overhead shelf in the cabin, but we didn’t try that.

The charging point is located in the van’s nose, so you’ll need to park nose-first into a parking bay so the cable will reach from the charging unit to your van.

The Townstar can charge at a maximum of 80kW if you have access to a fast enough charger. Nissan claims that you can charge from 0-80% in about 40 minutes at that speed, although charging rate slows down for the last 20%. Thermal cooling is standard, which helps to maintain charging speeds regardless of temperature.


If the Nissan Townstar’s working range and charging requirements align with your company’s usage, it’s a great little van. It’s smooth and quiet to drive, and if you can charge it from your home or office electricity supply then it should be cheap to run.

We’d suggest the mid-spec Teka model is probably a better bet than the top-spec Tekna+ model for most operators, but if you’re a small business owner that mixes business and personal use with the van, you may appreciate the extra convenience features.

Making the switch from a petrol or diesel van to an electric version is a big consideration for any business. There will be a learning curve and you’ll have to think differently about how you manage your vehicle to ensure it meets your business needs. But there’s no doubt that electric vans are becoming a big thing for urban and last-mile deliveries. If you’re ready to make that jump, you should definitely put the Nissan Townstar EV at the top of your shopping list.

Similar vans

Citroën ë-Berlingo | Fiat E-Doblò | Mercedes-Benz eCitan | Peugeot e-Partner | Renault Kangoo Electric | Toyota Proace City Electric | Vauxhall Combo Electric

The small electric van market is growing rapidly, with seven rivals to the Nissan Townstar listed above. In reality, however, these vehicles can be divided into two. The Citroën, Fiat, Peugeot, Toyota and Vauxhall are essentially all the same van, built by Stellantis (some of them right here in the UK) but wearing five different badges. The Renault Kangoo is basically the same vehicle as the Nissan, while the Mercedes is also closely related but with a few more differences.

As yet, Volkswagen and Ford don’t have models in this space. However, they’re working jointly on van models, so we’re likely to see electric versions of the Volkswagen Caddy and Ford Transit Connect eventually.

Key specifications

Model tested: Nissan Townstar EV L1 Tekna+
Price (as tested): £37,345 + VAT
Engine: single electric motor, front-wheel drive
Single-speed automatic

Power: 90 kW / 122 hp
Torque: 245 Nm
Max. payload: 465 kg
Max. load volume: 3.3 m3

Electric range: 183 miles (UK/EU lab test)
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km

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Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk
Stuart founded sister site The Car Expert in 2011. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for the car industry for over thirty years. He now provides overall direction for our four automotive titles.

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If the Nissan Townstar EV's working range and charging requirements align with your company's usage, it's a great little van. But battery range remains a key limitation.Nissan Townstar EV review