It was back in October 2019 when Nissan signalled its intentions towards coming out with a pint-sized EV by unveiling the IMk concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. However, it wasn't until late August this year when an official announcement was made regarding the development of a kei car with zero emissions as part of a 50:50 joint venture with Mitsubishi.
Fast forward to November 10, the concept car has evolved into a prototype. Of all places, the adorable little EV with a right-hand-drive layout has been caught testing in the United States with Michigan manufacturer plates. It is worth pointing out the road-going car will be smaller than the IMx since the concept was too long and wide to qualify as a kei car in Japan.
Gallery: 2022 Nissan IMk prototype spy photos
We already know the exact dimensions of the production model as Nissan said it will be 3,395 millimetres (133.6 inches) long, 1,475 mm (58 in) wide, and 1,655 mm (65.1 in) tall, thus its diminutive proportions will make it easy to manoeuvre on Japan's typically busy streets. Another important piece of information disclosed by the Japanese marque is the 20 kWh capacity of the battery pack, which will have enough juice "to cover daily needs in Japan."
As with many other recent EVs, the IMk (name could change for the production model) will feature support for bidirectional charging, meaning owners will be able to use the battery's energy to power external devices in case of an emergency like a neighbourhood blackout. Nissan is also promising "smooth driving" and "instant acceleration," although we're not expecting the electric kei car to break any lap records…
Gallery: 2019 Nissan IMk concept
In regards to the prototype, the heavy camouflage can't hide the fact it bears a strong resemblance to the IMx before it, not just in terms of size, but also as far as the headlights and taillights are concerned. It has some of the shortest overhangs we have ever seen, thanks to the dedicated electric car platform allowing Nissan to install a fairly generous wheelbase in relation to the IMk's petite size.
We can't help but notice the roof bulge and we are also wondering whether the architecture will be put to good use on larger vehicles since the kei car would be simply too small to sell outside of Japan. Don't be too surprised if the next-generation Micra supermini will morph into an EV since Nissan has made it clear electric vehicles are the future.
Meanwhile, the IMx production version will go on sale in the Land of the Rising Sun from next year and is going to carry an asking price of around two million yen (approximately £13,000 at current exchange rates) after taking into account local EV subsidies.