Mitsubishi will assemble the Minicab-MiEV electric commercial Kei car in Indonesia starting in 2024, marking the first time this particular model goes into production in a country other than Japan.
And if this doesn’t sound like exciting news, well, you’re right. But there’s a bigger story behind this cute little zero-emissions van and it’s about the resilience of old electric vehicles and their technology.
You see, the Minicab-MiEV is a van that dates way back to 2011, when it was first introduced in Japan, making it a 12-year-old design that goes into production as a brand-new vehicle in a facility that’s capable of making up to 220,000 units per year and employs about 3,300 people.
Gallery: Mitsubishi Minicab-MiEV Cow Edition...Yes Cow Edition (w/video)
But for those of you who are old enough to remember the MiEV part of the name, you should know that your memory is fine and that the small electric van shown in the photo gallery embedded above uses more or less the same electric system as in the 2009 Mitsubishi i-MiEV hatchback, which was one of the first mass-produced electric vehicles, alongside the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero.
In other words, Mitsubishi believes it’s absolutely fine to sell a commercial van that was designed more than a decade ago with an electric powertrain that debuted almost 15 years ago, albeit tweaked for commercial use. And for short trip deliveries in congested towns, it might just be the perfect choice for small business owners.
The Minicab-MiEV has a single electric motor that makes 30 kilowatts (40 horsepower) and 145 pound-feet (196 Newton-meters) of torque, and customers have two battery options to choose from: a 10.5 kilowatt-hours pack that offers up to 62 miles (100 kilometers) of range and a 16 kWh unit that can provide up to 93 miles (150 km) of range. The best part is that everything was fitted under the floor of the van, so the cargo capacity hasn’t been altered in any way.
It’s not much – in fact, it’s less than what the original i-MiEV offered – but for last-mile deliveries, it should be more than fine.
The Mitsubishi Minicab-MiEV will be assembled at PT Mitsubishi Motors Krama Yudha Indonesia (MMKI), where the Japanese marque currently makes the Pajero Sport, Xpander, and Xpander Cross.
What’s your take on Mitsubishi’s approach? Let us know in the comments below.