Nissan's Ice Cream Truck Prototype Is a Solution to a Quietly Nefarious Problem

Photo: Nissan

We’ve reached the point of EV development where everyone can go ahead and get wild and start imagining literally all the potential uses for an eco-friendly vehicle (I’mma let you in on a little secret. Exactly like with a conventional car, EVs can do pretty much anything). And it’s not just because everyone loves whimsy and ice cream –ice cream trucks can actually be improved a lot.

The ice cream truck prototype uses Nissan’s electric light commercial van, the e-NV200, as its base and was released yesterday for the UK’s Clean Air Day, the press release says.


As Nissan notes, most ice cream trucks are powered by diesel engines that are left idling to keep things cool, which is exceptionally bad for the environment. Taking the ICE out of the ice cream truck (ha!) creates a more eco-friendly way to enjoy your sweet treats without guilt.

More from Nissan’s press release:

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.

“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 – 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 whole thing is powered by Nissan Energy ROAM, the manufacturer’s portable power packs. The packs use lithium-ion cells that were recovered from first-gen Nissan EVs, which is nice and recycle-y. When we talk about sustainability, we often don’t get very far past cutting combustion engines out of our life. Nissan is trying to get ahead of the game, imagining ways to recycle its old batteries and give ‘em a second go.

Though whether or not Nissan will translate that into production-ready forms, we’ll have to see.


The van features solar panels on the roof, so it can be charged while it’s lingering in one place dispensing treats, along with a more traditional charging port that can bring the van back to full capacity in an hour.

The ROAM packs won’t power the motor itself (that’ll be done by a 40kWh battery that gives the truck a range of 124 miles, enough for ice creaming), but they will manage all the neat stuff that makes an ice cream truck what it is—the soft-serve machine, the freezer drawer, and the drinks fridge.


Nissan is also changing the name of the ice cream truck game. Instead of the vendor standing inside the vehicle, they’ll dispense the ice cream from the outside, because who doesn’t love standing outside in the heat. Unfortunately, it’s also getting rid of the much-beloved ice cream jingle in favor for an automated tweet describing the van’s location, because we live in a dystopian hellscape.

I mean, what small child should be unleashed onto the hellscape of Twitter?

Photo: Nissan
Photo: Nissan

Honestly, I think the van’s a pretty damn great idea (the only thing I’m even slightly critical of is the very clinical-looking livery, but that’s a minor, shallow complaint). There’s no indication that this is anything but a prototype—that Nissan will actually get these bad boys rolling into production—but I’d love to see a bunch of e-NV200s lining the streets than, like, the very loud and stinky ICE sweets trucks you see now.

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About the author

Elizabeth Blackstock

Staff writer. Motorsport fanatic. Proud owner of a 2013 Mazda 2.