Nissan Motor Co. (IW 1000/29) announced Wednesday it will launch global production of an all-electric van, the e-NV200, as early as next year in the Spanish city of Barcelona, creating 700 jobs.
The Japanese carmaker said it would invest 100 million euros (US$126 million) in Spain to start production in its 2013 financial year at its Barcelona plant, which already makes the fuel-powered NV200.
"The e-NV200 represents a genuine breakthrough in commercial vehicles and further underlines Nissan's leadership within the electric vehicle segment," Executive Vice President Andy Palmer told reporters at the plant.
The new model is Nissan's second all-electric vehicle after the LEAF passenger car, and the manufacturer said it expected to create 700 jobs at the plant and among local suppliers.
Barcelona will supply the e-NV200 to the global market, said the Yokohama, Japan-based firm.
Nissan said range and performance would be similar to that of the LEAF, which boasts a top speed of over 145 kph (90mph) and range of 175 kilometers (109 miles) per full charge with the air conditioning off.
The automaker said an electric prototype of the NV200 was being evaluated in Europe and trials would continue in the coming months to get "real-world feedback from the most demanding usage."
Nissan employs 4,800 people in three production centers in Spain: Barcelona in the northeast, Avila in the center and Cantabria in the north, making all-terrain vehicles, vans and trucks.
Though Spain has no national car manufacturer of its own -- SEAT is owned by Germany's Volkswagen Group -- Spain is the second largest car producer in Europe behind Germany and 90% of output is for export.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012