Remember when you were a kid and would race outside when you heard the ice cream van approaching on a warm summer’s afternoon?
Well now Mr Whipp-E could drive through your street without you ever noticing, unless he sounds the chimes, as Nissan has revealed Britain’s first silent ice cream van that is entirely battery powered.
It’s the first electric vehicle converted for use as an ice cream vendor and comes kitted out with a soft-serve machine, fridge, freezer, solar panels and a range of 124 miles.
Mr Whipp-E: This is Britain’s first electric ice cream van that produces zero exhaust emissions
It comes as part of Clean Air Day and is a concept vehicle to show the many ways Nissan is investigating reducing carbon emissions
With the ongoing crackdown on air pollution, diesel vehicles are number one target for ministers.
The iconic ice cream van is one of the motors that will annoy green activists most due to its high emissions output, and the fact they are left to idle to generate power for the freezers and the fumes produced are mostly inhaled by sugar-craving children.
It’s an issue that has reached a point that councils across the UK are now considering banning them from entering town centres.
And existing rules are already having an impact on the trusty ice cream vendors in the capital, as older diesel vehicles in London now face huge costs to drive into the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) introduced on April 1.
Nissan things it has found the solution – a zero emissions electric ice cream van.
It teamed up with ethical ice cream producer Mackie’s of Scotland (which uses solar and other renewable energy to power its dairy farms) to create an all-electric prototype based on the current e-NV200 electric van that’s priced from £32,700.
The van has solar panels on the roof that partly powers the equipment in the van that produces the ice cream
The prototype is based on the Nissan e-NV200, which has a claimed range of 124 miles between charges
Charge it from a rapid charger and the batteries will recoup 80% of its power in less than an hour. From a wallbox it takes 7.5 hours to fully charge, while it takes 21.5 hours to charge from a normal mains socket
The conversion has all the amenities required for an ice cream dispenser on the move, including a hatch that opens to the side of the vehicle to serve a long queue of clean-air-breathing customers.
Those purchasing a 99, Twister or Fab can even pay with their contactless bank card or smartphone app using a ‘tap-to-pay’ panel on the side of the van.
And instead of a speaker playing a jingle to attract customers (and create noise pollution), the concept has a smart button that generates a tweet of the van’s precise location using the global addressing service What3Words.
What3Words divides the entire world into three metre square locations, each with a unique three word address (for example, ‘trendy.angel.define’ is a spot on Brighton & Hove’s seafront).
Customers can sit around the vehicle without the fear that they’re breathing in harmful toxins
The e-NV200 that the ice cream van is based on is on sale and costs from £32,700
The prototype might offer a solution to keeping portable ice-cream dispensing businesses running
It means customers can easily find the exact location of the van rather than keep their ear out for it to arrive on their street.
Nissan claims the van has a driving range of up to 124-miles between charges, courtesy of the 40kWh battery.
And it doesn’t eat up any of the vehicle’s battery life to power the equipment when parked up.
Instead it uses a Nissan Energy ROAM portable pack to power the ice cream dispenses.
This is made up of lithium-ion cells recovered from early first-generation Nissan electric vehicles and ensures the ice-cream keeps flowing without restricting the range of the van.
These power packs can be recharged from either a 230-volt mains supply or the solar panel array on the van’s roof.
Most ice cream vans currently being used by firms have old diesel engines that produce lots of emissions
Unlike existing ice cream vans, the electric Nissan will avoid ULEZ and Congestion Zone charges as well as other low emission zones around the UK in the future
The ice-cream-making equipment is powered by an electric generator in the back called the Nissan Energy ROAM
Kalyana Sivagnanam, managing director at Nissan 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 concept has been created to coincide with Clean Air Day, which takes place today (June 20).
Conventional ice cream vans have to keep the engine idling in order for the freezers to keep running. That means they’re polluting even when they’re not moving
The electric Nissan doesn’t have this problem as the equipment onboard is powered by a pack made up of cells taken from old electric-vehicle batteries
It means the Nissan produces no exhaust emissions at any time
Commenting on the green ice cream van, Chris Large, senior partner at Global Action Plan – which organises Clean Air Day – said: ‘The Clean Air Day campaign is here to celebrate innovation and accelerate action.
‘We welcome Nissan’s efforts to make ice cream vans that serve up toxic fumes a thing of the past.
‘Schoolchildren campaigning for the Clean Van Commitment sent a video message to all van fleets encouraging them to get millions more electric vans on to UK roads in place of diesels.
‘I think those children would love this project.’
The car maker said the vehicle 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’
The van has been unveiled for Clean Air Day in the UK, which raises awareness of reducing emissions
Hundreds and thousands, but zero emissions: The ice cream is just as tasty as before and comes without the harmful pollution
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