Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors unveil lightweight electric vehicles for Japan

Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T) and Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) unveiled their first jointly developed light electric vehicles (EVs), aiming to attract more Japanese drivers to battery cars by offering micro models at low price.

The two Japanese automakers, which are part of an alliance with French automaker Renault SA, were once seen as pioneers in Japan’s electric vehicle market, but have struggled to attract customers and meet challenges fast-growing newcomers such as Tesla.

“I am confident that (the new vehicles) representing the alliance will be a game-changer for electric vehicles in Japan,” Nissan Chief Executive Officer Makoto Uchida said at the unveiling of the new models in the city of Kurashiki, Japan. western Japan.

Automakers hope to leverage their presence in Japan’s single market for micro “kei” cars, which make up nearly 40% of cars on the road in Japan, Reuters reports.

The alliance of the three companies earlier this year detailed a five-year plan to invest $26 billion in the development of electric vehicles, including kei cars.

Nissan, which produces the Leaf and Ariya electric vehicles, will offer its first light electric vehicle, the Sakura, starting at around 1.78 million yen ($13,891) after factoring in a government subsidy, and with a range of 180 km (112 miles).

Mitsubishi Motors, maker of i-MiEV electric cars, will launch the “eK cross EV” starting at around 1.85 million yen including subsidy, also with a range of 180 km.

Both automakers have announced that they will begin selling their new line of “kei” electric cars this summer.

“People who thought EVs were too expensive will be a little more interested in EVs and willing to try them out,” said Riho Suzuki, Nissan’s regional product manager.

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