Production version of Toyota, Daihatsu, Suzuki commercial EV to be revealed within fiscal 2023
Do you remember the Daihatsu Hijet? For those not in the know, the Hijet is a cab-over microvan / kei truck that can carry people or move cargo with ease. Despite weighing less than a ton and measuring less than 3.5 meters long, the tiny Hijet can punch above its weight thanks to its three-cylinder engine.
It's no longer available in the Philippines but it is still making a name for itself in other countries including its home market Japan. In fact, it is now in its 11th generation and can still fit a small family or move sizable cargo.
In the near future, the microvan will be available as an electric vehicle (EV). This comes after Toyota, Suzuki, and Daihatsu announced that they will be revealing a prototype mini commercial van equipped with a jointly-developed battery electric system. Each brand will reveal its own version of the said commercial EV – Toyota will have the Pixis, Suzuki will showcase the Every, and Daihatsu will reveal the Hijet Cargo.
Despite the name difference, all three vehicles will feature a similar design and will adhere to Japan's Kei car classification. The official unveiling will take place at an exhibition event from May 18 to May 21 that will introduce the automakers' efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. The event will be organized by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) along with the G7 Hiroshima Summit.
The three companies jointly developed a BEV system suitable for mini-commercial vehicles by combining Suzuki and Daihatsu's expertise in creating small-size cars with Toyota's electrification technology. Daihatsu will produce the vehicles, and Suzuki, Daihatsu, and Toyota will each release their own version within fiscal 2023. The estimated cruising range per charge is expected to be around 200 km.
There's no word if the mini commercial EV will be offered outside Japan. But given that Mitsubishi will build the Minicab MiEV in ASEAN beginning in 2024, perhaps Toyota has plans in the future to make it available in emerging markets. And with Mitsubishi claiming that the Minicab MiEV is the only Kei-car class commercial EV produced by a Japanese automaker, perhaps Toyota wants in on that piece of the pie.
Do you think the Toyota Pixis, Daihatsu Hijet Cargo, or the Suzuki Every EV will make sense here in the Philippines? Let us know in the comments.