Mitsubishi gets down to business with 180-km Minicab EV kei van
At the dawn of the current EV revolution, Mitsubishi launched a highway-capable, mass-produced five-door hatchback called the i-MiEV, followed by an electric version of its veteran microvan. Now that Minicab-MiEV is being updated for 2024.
Mitsubishi's Minicab platform started life way back in 1966 with a kei-sized combustion-engine pickup truck, followed by a van model a couple of years later. Numerous versions have followed in the decades since, but the first electric prototype began testing in 2010.
The company reports that the Minicab-MiEV has sold around 13,000 units since launch, and that the upcoming Minicab EV kei-class commercial electric minivan is the evolution of that platform.
The 2024 model sports a new 31-kW electric motor, which has been integrated with the inverter into a single unit for the promise of quieter operation. Top speed hasn't been shared but it produces a healthy 195 Nm (144 lb.ft) of torque. There's a bigger Li-ion battery too for up to 180 km (112 miles) of WLTC per-charge range, a 35% boost on the previous model.
The 20-kWh battery pack takes 7.5 hours over 200-V (15-A) AC, but there's optional support for DC fast-charging for a top-up to 80% capacity in 42 minutes. Regenerative braking is also on tap to help eke more from the battery. And a handy 100-volt AC outlet in the floor console to the rear can be had for tools and appliances to be powered from the vehicle's battery.
Mitsubishi is promising a smoother ride than before thanks to improved front and rear shocks. The vehicle comes with safety tech such as auto high beam, lane departure alerts, ABS and hill-start assist, collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, parking sensors, SRS airbags, and three-point safety belts. The driver and passenger also benefit from heated seats, and the minivan can be optioned with USB ports for topping up mobile gadgetry while on the move.
It's available as a two-seat monobox cargo hauler with enough storage space for 14 boxes measuring 450 x 450 x 600 mm each (17.7 x 17.7 x 23.6 in), or operators can sacrifice room in back to configure in a row of bench seating for a four-seater version.
The Microcab EV is scheduled to go on sale in Japan from December 21, and though there's no mention of wider availability, the MiEV model will begin production in Indonesia next year, and HW Electro is bringing its Puzzle kei van to the US from 2025 – so never say never, right?