Japanese automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi have unveiled their first jointly developed mini electric vehicles, the Nissan Sakura and Mitsubishi eK, both built on the Kei EV platform.
Nissan and Mitsubishi announced in the middle of last year that they were jointly developing a new electric “mini-vehicle” which would make its first appearance this year.
Based on the Kei-EV architecture designed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to support ultra-compact electric vehicles, both vehicles were unveiled late last week at the same time.
Nissan’s Kei-EV is the Sakura, named after the iconic Japanese cherry blossom, which will go on sale with a base price of ¥2,333,100, which converts to around AU$26,000, a higher price. affordable price that Nissan hopes will give consumers more choice. in the EV market.
“The all-new Sakura follows the LEAF and Ariya as a mainstream electric vehicle,” said Asako Hoshino, executive vice president of Nissan. “We believe this will be a game-changer for the Japanese market and will make electric vehicles much more accessible to customers in Japan.”
The Sakura boasts an agile turning radius of 4.8 meters as well as a range of up to 180 kilometers (WLTC) with a 47kW motor producing 195Nm of torque.
Despite its classification as a mini-vehicle, Nissan still claims that the Sakura has a spacious interior, making it a perfect choice for city driving and daily errands.
An automated parking system adds further value to this claim, as do the three driving modes – Eco, Standard and Sport – which will provide optimum performance depending on the situation.
A state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery that’s proven performance and reliability in the Nissan Leaf makes its way to the Sakura, using a special stacking method of its cell to minimize the impact of the battery inside the vehicle.
V2X technology also allows the Sakura to provide a mobile power source in case of emergency, supplying a day’s worth of electricity to a home.
Nissan also announced that its Sakura will be available for test drives in the “metaverse” at Nissan Sakura Driving Island, marking an expansion of the company’s presence on virtual reality social platform VRChat.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi’s sibling eK X EV (pronounced eK cross EV), based on the same Kei-EV platform, similarly costs ¥2,398,000 to ¥2,932,600, or $26,500. A and $32,000 A, converted.
Unsurprisingly, the eK has many of the same numbers as the Nissan Sakura, with a range of 180 kilometers (WLTC) and a battery that can be used as both a charging vehicle or a home vehicle, offering a charge for everything , a kettle if you’re looking for a mid-way cup of tea, or your home during a power outage.
Available in two trim levels, the fully-featured eK G comes with a 7-inch color LCD meter and an innovative pedal operation mode, while the top-of-the-line P is equipped with additional features including pedal assist. SOS emergency and a 9-inch Smartphone-link navigation. system as standard.
Sales of the Sakura and eK are expected to begin during the Northern summer.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has written about climate change, clean technology and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transportation is his feet.