Nissan is promising to take the ICE (internal combustion engine) out of ice cream with its all-electric, zero-emission concept for ‘Clean Air Day’ in the UK today (June 20th).
Most ice cream vans, particularly older models, have diesel engines which are kept running to operate the refrigeration equipment. But with some UK towns and cities now looking to ban or fine these vehicles, Nissan’s concept offers a potential solution for vendors looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
The prototype ice cream van is based on the e-NV200, Nissan’s 100% electric LCV (light commercial vehicle). The concept is a working demonstration of Nissan’s Electric Ecosystem, combining a zero-emission drivetrain, second-life battery storage and renewable solar energy generation.
“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,” said Kalyana Sivagnanam, managing director, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd.
“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.”
While the van’s motor is driven by a 40kWh battery, the on-board ice cream equipment, including a soft-serve machine, freezer drawer and drinks fridge, are powered by the newly unveiled Nissan Energy ROAM, which goes on sale later in 2019.
Designed for both professional and leisure applications, ROAM is 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.
Nor is it the fact that it’s electric which distinguishes it from a traditional ice cream van. The concept takes a number of new approaches including ice cream served from a hatch that opens in the side of the vehicle, with the vendor dispensing ice cream standing next to the van. Payment can be by cash, but also contactless bank card and smartphones via a ‘tap-to-pay’ panel mounted on the side.
And instead of a jingle to attract customers – not always popular with parents – the concept ice cream van has a smart button that generates a tweet of the van’s precise location using the global addressing service What3Words. What3Words divides the world into 3m x 3m locations, each with a unique three word address.
For the concept Nissan partnered with Mackie’s of Scotland, an ice cream producer powering its family-owned dairy farm by renewable wind and solar energy. The project demonstrates how a ‘Sky to Scoop’ approach can remove carbon dependence at every stage of the ice cream journey.
“We’re delighted to have worked with Nissan on this project as it’s the perfect complement to our own vision of becoming self-sustainable in renewable energy – and eliminating carbon in the journey from ‘Sky to Scoop’,” said Karin Hayhow, marketing director at Mackie’s of Scotland.
Clean Air Day is the UK’s biggest air pollution campaign. Co-ordinated by environment charity Global Action Plan, it is supported by more than 200 organisations, including Public Health England, British Heart Foundation, British Cycling, Royal College of Physicians, DEFRA, UNICEF, Asthma UK, Great Ormond Street Hospital and additional NHS trusts and local authorities.