The 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon will be taking place next month and Mitsubishi will be attending the show to preview an all-new electric kei car co-developed with Nissan. Simply known as the Kei EV concept for the time being, the petite hatchback without a combustion engine will be followed shortly by the production version. The road-going model is set to hit the market during the next fiscal year in Japan, which kicks off April 2022 and lasts until March 2023.
While the adjacent teaser image is not what we’d called revealing, we do have an idea about the pint-sized EV’s dimensions since it will have to meet kei car regulations. These state a car mustn’t exceed 3.4 meters in length, 1.48 meters in width, and two meters in height. In addition, the vehicle must have a maximum of 63 horsepower.
Nissan teased its equivalent electric kei car a couple of years ago by showcasing the IMk concept. Even though the two will be mechanically related, Mitsubishi’s version should look significantly different to give the electric car its own visual identity. Although Mitsubishi labels the EV as a concept, we aren’t expecting any major changes from the production-ready model.
Rumors say the kei cars will do 200 kilometers (124 miles) at most before having to recharge what will certainly be a small battery pack given the ultra-compact dimensions. As to why Nissan and Mitsubishi are targeting the kei car segment, it’s extremely popular in Japan thanks to lower costs in terms of taxes, parking, and the vehicle’s asking price.
Both EVs will be assembled at the Mizushima Plant in Kurashiki city, Okayama Prefecture. To prepare the factory for the two electric kei cars, an investment worth the equivalent of $70 million is being made to install the necessary assembly and inspection equipment for the drive battery. In addition, some of the funds are for the stamping, welding, and painting assembly facilities after a previous decision was taken to produce the drive battery cases in-house.
The electric minicars are believed to cost less than two million yen (about $17,600) after EV incentives, but these could be even cheaper in some parts of Japan such as Tokyo where the subsidies are higher.