The kei car segment is unique to the Japanese market. Those small cars are still popular in the country despite the changing times in the automotive industry and it seems that they will also make a switch to electric power. This is what Mitsubishi is signalling with the announcement of the Minicab-MiEV, which will go into production in Indonesia next year.
But what’s behind that name? The Minicab-MiEV is a kei-car segment commercial delivery vehicle with a battery-powered powertrain. That powertrain comes straight from the i-MiEV – one of the world’s first mass-production electric vehicles that were also available as the e Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero. The Japanese manufacturer will transfer the existing EV components to the new commercial vehicle without sacrificing its cargo capacity.
Gallery: Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV
It is important to note that this isn’t a brand-new product, though. Mitsubishi has been selling a very similar version of the Minicab-MiEV in Japan since 2011 and has already delivered several thousand examples to customers. Production and sales were halted temporarily but the model returned to the assembly lines in November last year in response to the existing high demand for commercial EVs in the country.
With the new announcement, Mitsubishi emphasises the fact the electric kei car will also be produced outside Japan. The Mitsubishi Motors Krama Yudha plant in Indonesia will be responsible for assembling the model starting next year. The factory has an annual production capacity of 220,000 vehicles per year and currently has approximately 3,300 employees. Mitsubishi builds the Pajero Sport, Xpander, and Xpander Cross there.
A quick look at the specifications shows the Minicab-MiEV has an output of 40 bhp (30 kilowatts) and 145 pound-feet (196 Newton-metres) of torque. Customers can order it with one of two available battery options with 10.5-kilowatt-hour and 16-kWh capacities. The range at a single charge is 62 miles (100 kilometres) and 93 miles (150 km), respectively.