Nissan's electric ice cream van concept packs treats and solar panels

Traditional ice cream trucks are incompatible with a world where environmental concerns take precedence over highly convenient treats. Here with a solution is Nissan, which has unveiled a concept fully electric ice cream van. Unlike traditional models, which burn gas or diesel while idling for long periods of time, the Nissan ice cream van is emission-free and utilizes second-life batteries.

Nissan created the ice cream van as a prototype based on the e-NV200 electric light commercial vehicle in partnership with Mackie's of Scotland. Ice cream trucks have unique energy needs compared to ordinary vehicles due to the refrigerators located inside. In non-EV trucks, these coolers are powered by idling the van or truck, which typically operate on gas or diesel.

Nissan's van is different: it uses second-life EV batteries alongside a zero-emission drivetrain to power the ice cream coolers and appliances without producing emissions. The van's motor runs with a 40kWh battery while the internal appliances are powered by the Nissan Energy ROAM set to hit the market later this year.

ROAM is essentially a portable power pack featuring lithium-ion cells harvested from Nissan's first-generation EV, hence the 'second-life' designation. Solar panels on the van's roof help provide energy while away from charging stations, which can be used to more rapidly replenish the vehicle's batteries.

The ice cream van prototype has a 124-mile range; when charged with a 230v mains supply, recharging takes an hour, whereas the solar panels can take a few hours in ideal conditions. The concept also replaces the arguably annoying ice cream jingle with a button that tweets out the van's exact location to followers.

The prototype van ultimately serves as a demonstration of how Nissan's Energy ROAM portable power pack can be utilized to help society shift its vehicles away from dependency on emission-producing fuels.