During the last decade, major players in Japan's kei car segment have been focusing on electrifying their offerings and introducing zero-emission variants of their commercial vehicles. The Minicab i-MiEV, a five-door hatchback, was launched by Mitsubishi in 2009 as the world's first mass-produced electric car, followed by the Minicab-MiEV, an electric version of its popular kei van, in December 2011.
The new Minicab EV electric commercial vehicle is an evolution of the 12-year-old Minicab-MiEV, which has sold approximately 13,000 units since launch, and comes with a bigger battery for an improved cruising range and enhanced safety and convenience features to better cater to the needs of commercial customers.
Design-wise, it hasn't changed much compared to its predecessor. It features the same utilitarian styling and compact monobox design that makes it a great utility vehicle for last-mile delivery services in urban areas. It will be made available as a two-seat cargo van with enough storage space for 14 boxes measuring 450 x 450 x 600 mm (17.7 x 17.7 x 23.6 in) each or a four-seater for those operators who don't need as much cargo space in the back.
The minivan is equipped with side and rear doors to access the cargo compartment easily. Moreover, due to its compact design, it will easily navigate crowded city streets and will be able to fit into tight parking spots to unload packages.
Moreover, it will draw power from a 20-kWh battery pack that promises an extended cruising range of 180 km or 112 miles (in WLTC mode) per charge, which represents a 35% increase over the previous model. It will take approximately 7.5 hours to fully recharge the battery using 200V (15A) AC. Optional compatibility with DC fast charging stations will allow the battery to rejuice to 80 percent capacity in approximately 42 minutes.
Additional upgrades come on the safety front, with the new vehicle boasting Automatic High Beam (AHB), ABS and hill-start assist, lane departure alerts, front collision mitigation, parking sensors, SRS airbags, and more. Moreover, the manufacturer equipped the Minicab EV with improved front and rear shocks for a smoother ride.
Other noteworthy features include a 100-volt AC power outlet at the rear of the floor console, which comes in handy for powering tools and appliances when needed, and optional USB ports for charging mobile devices while on the move.
There is no word on international availability for the Mitsubishi Microcab EV for now. As mentioned, the new kei van is set to go on sale in Japan on December 21. The two-seat version will sell for ¥2,431,000 (US$16,300), while the four-seater is priced at ¥2,486,000 (US$16,640), which is the same price the company is asking for the previous model. Considering the 2024 model comes with an improved cruising range and enhanced safety features, it will be an attractive option for businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint and operating costs.