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Mitsubishi And Nissan Are Teaming Up On A Mini-EV

This will be small. Real small. Kei-car small. I'm expecting big things.

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The old Mitsubishi MiEV was basically a battery-powered kei car.
The old Mitsubishi MiEV was basically a battery-powered kei car.
Photo: Mitsubishi

There are two routes in the world of making an EV. You can cram as many batteries as possible into a car, weight and lithium mining be damned. See: the GMC Hummer EV, every Tesla. The other route is how little range, weight, and performance can we get away with? Japan can expect a new challenger in that realm from the company that brought you the MiEV.

I appreciate cars that follow the less-is-more approach to EV design, cars like the new Mazda MX-30. In truth, even Americans don’t really need 300-odd miles of range, or even 200-odd. After all, even with rising commute times in the States, our average commute length is still just a bit over 27 minutes. Our average distance is only around 11 or 12 miles, per the DOT. The Mazda MX-30 gets about 100 miles of range from a 35.5 kWh battery, for some perspective here.


Nissan and Mitsubishi announced that they’ll be working together on an EV with a wee 20 kWh battery, trying to squeak by with as little performance as it can manage, for the Japanese market. From Nissan and Mitsubishi:

With a nominal battery capacity of 20 kWh, the EV minivehicle has a driving range designed to cover daily needs in Japan. In addition to its mobility uses, the vehicle can provide electricity from its battery to a home, and in emergencies can act as a mobile power source.

At 3,395 mm long, 1,475 mm wide, and 1,655 mm high, the minivehicle has been designed to provide easy driving and handling in Japan’s often cramped traffic environments. Purchase prices (listed price minus subsidies) are forecast to start at approximately 2 million yen.


Again, for context, the Mazda MX-30 retails for over 4.9 million yen over in Japan. Less stuff, less cost.

I don’t know how ready America would be for a car like this. We certainly weren’t ready for the Mitsubishi MiEV when it came here the first time as basically an electrified kei car. But now I kind of wonder if the MiEV was just a bit too early for its own good.