For years we have been saying Your office is where you are. Now we have the Nissan e-NV200 WORKSPACe, an electric van that has been converted into a mobile office. Nissan collaborated with UK designers Studio Hardie to build the works into their electric van, with such lovely touches as a foldout desk, big screen computer, LED lighting, WiFi, a fridge and of course, a serious espresso machine that pops up out of the counter.
With the cost of office space being what it is, and the cost of housing keeping many people sleeping in cars and vans, there is some logic to having them work in vans too. It does pack in some nice features, like a pull-out rear deck, storage for a Brompton folding bike, a panoramic glass roof and RGB LED lighting that you can make any hue you want. The seating can be set up in a side-by-side meeting mode, or one chair can be moved to the computer station. According to the press release,
With property prices in our capital cities at such a premium and the modern professional needing to be ever more mobile, businesses will need to think smart and consider what the workplace of the future looks like. With hot-desking and remote working on the rise, it is not too big a leap to see a future where our vehicles will become connected, energy efficient, mobile workspaces and the e-NV200 WORKSPACe project could become more than just a concept.
What it doesn’t appear to have is room to stand up, which I would think is a huge limitation if you are going to work long hours. Now they could have hired a shorter dude without a fedora, but I am not sure anyone could stand up in that. Also, Nissan is pitching this as “a more cost-effective alternative to traditional city-center office space,” but as Donald Shoup has taught us, there is no such thing as free parking- oh wait, there is- “it allows users to work for free in some city-centers that offer free EV charging bays, or escape the city altogether for the countryside or coastal fresh air.”
So it probably is not cost-effective at all, takes up more space than a regular desk and it is unlikely that anyone is going to fill up our city centres with office trucks. And if they do, people are going to get mad, like they have in New York where the very rich are getting driven around in Sprinter vans that have been decked out as lounges or offices:
“Using your vehicle as a luxury lounge is just usurping public space for your own private use,” said Michael Murphy, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that encourages New Yorkers to travel around the city more responsibly. “Streets are shared space and belong to the community.”
Nissan claims that this van “paints a picture of what desk-based employment could look like in the future as hot-desking and flexible working grows in popularity across the globe.” That’s a pretty gloomy picture, people huddling alone in vans in parking lots, coming out only to stand up and stretch and look for the nearest bathroom after drinking all that coffee.
Nissan showed a gas powered NV200 conversion a decade ago, but it was designed for a photographer who was always on the road, which I think made a lot more sense.