As an amateur weekend woodworker (with emphasis on amateur), it has always been a dream of mine to have my own fully functioning and completed workshop in my garage. Time, of course, is not on the side of a weekend woodworker, as your day job almost always ensures that you're on the go.
Thankfully Nissan came up with a fully equipped workshop that you can actually take with you.
In the same way that Nissan conceived the Navara Dark Sky concept as a fully functional mobile astronomical observatory by approaching the European Space Agency (ESA), Nissan contacted woodworker and craftsman William Hardie of Studio Hardie to build mobile woodworking shop out of an NV300 van.
“With the NV300 Concept-van, Nissan is really thinking about the future of the commercial vehicle as an authentic partner for business customers,” said Francesco Giacalone, Nissan Europe's Director for LCV Planning and Marketing. “It’s practical and versatile as well as innovative and self-sufficient with the addition of Nissan Energy ROAM. We believe it has enormous potential in the LCV sector and is a key differentiator for Nissan commercial vehicles.”
The van itself looks like any standard NV300 from Nissan which, incidentally, is the company's version of the Renault Trafic. Renault and Nissan are, after all, partners in the alliance.
Unlike the Dark Sky, there are no outward modifications to the van's body panels apart from several solar panels on the roof and decal work that appears to resemble the grain you see in wood. Much of the enhancement and customization work were all performed on the interior of the van, all of which was done to maximize the tiny space afforded by the van.
Opening the back reveals a miniaturized woodworker's shop with LED light panels covering the ceiling. There are rails on the hardwood floor for a folding stool that can slide forward to a drafting desk with a touchscreen computer. All the tools have been arranged on the walls and doors such as try squares, combination squares, fine Japanese saws, mallets, woodworking clamps, hammers, and extension cords.
Key to the NV300 Concept-van is a framing system that appears to be built out of 2” x 2” lumber, forming a modular and innovative way to store so much equipment. The panel on the driver's side houses a unique shelving system for round-edged boxes for power tool storage and the like. The passenger side panel is used to store and stow a three piece workbench that the craftsman can assemble on site.
One unique feature of the van is the use of a yet-to-be-launched mobile power storage unit called Nissan ROAM. The device can be used to charge gadgets (via USB) and even provide AC power for tools like jigsaws and routers. Nissan says that ROAM was developed from their EV battery technology similar to the one used in the Leaf EV.
The woodworker-inspired NV300 Concept-van, according to Nissan, is a practical example of the philosophy of Nissan Intelligent Mobility and shows the possibilities of what the brand can deliver to commercial customers in the future.