Mitsubishi is gearing up to make electric vehicles (EVs) more attainable not just for private motorists, but also for commercial businesses. While Toyota Motor Philippines got a headstart with the return of the Lite Ace, Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp (MMPC) may soon enter that segment as well with a commercial EV.
At the ongoing 2023 Indonesia International Motor Show, Mitsubishi announced that beginning in 2024, they will start production of the Minicab-MiEV one-box Kei car commercial EV in Indonesia. This marks the first time that the Minicab-MiEV will be built outside of Japan. More importantly, this signifies Mitsubishi's plan to offer the Indonesian-built Minicab-MiEV to other ASEAN markets.
“Automakers are now being required to respond to the rapid, global movement toward a decarbonized society. We believe that Kei-car class commercial EVs are the optimal solution to the 'last one-mile problem' in logistics. In order to meet the growing demand for EVs in the ASEAN region, we have made the decision to produce this vehicle locally outside of Japan for the first time. As well as continuing to support the development of Indonesia's automotive industry, we hope to contribute to the country's environmental initiatives,” said Takao Kato, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors.
First launched in Japan back in December 2011, the Minicab MiEV is the only Kei-Car class commercial EV produced by a Japanese automaker as claimed by Mitsubishi. From its namesake, the Minicab is powered by an electric powertrain derived from the i-MiEV hatchback. While official specifications are not yet available, the ASEAN-spec Minicab EV will likely have the same setup as the JDM version.
In Japan, the commercial EV is powered by either a 10.5 kWh or 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack which drives a single electric motor that puts out a humble 41 PS and 196 Nm of torque. On a full charge, the 10.5 kWh version gives the Minicab an estimated range of 100 km while the 16 kWh variant gives the EV around 150 km of range.
The battery itself is placed under the center of the floor which allowed Mitsubishi to maximize cabin space. In fact, Mitsubishi claims the Minicab MiEV has a payload capacity of 350 kg or 771 lbs. Interior dimensions, on the other hand, come in at 935mm long, 1360mm wide, and 1125mm tall (1230mm for tall roof versions).
With the Minicab MiEV set to be built at the PT Mitsubishi Motors Krama Yudha Indonesia factory in West Java next year, it won't be long before other ASEAN markets become interested in this commercial EV. And since the Philippines already gets the Xpander and Xpander Cross from Indonesia, the Minicab MiEV may also prove popular for those that want a zero emissions commercial vehicle to move their business.