Will this Australian-developed autonomous vehicle preview the upcoming electric Suzuki Jimny?
Suzuki Motor Corporation and Melbourne-based vehicle software company Applied EV have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an autonomous electric vehicle using the Jimny’s ladder-frame chassis.
The Japanese automaker entered into an agreement with Applied EV in September 2021, and took a stake in the company in September last year.
Applied EV will take the the Jimny’s ladder-frame chassis and electrify it to create its Blanc Robot autonomous vehicle. It will be controlled by the company’s Digital Backbone central control system.
Previous prototype versions of Applied EV’s Blanc Robot have been programmable and modular with all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering.
The company says the autonomous vehicle will be able to be configured for multiple commercial uses like on-road deliveries and off-road industrial logistics.
This news of Applied EV electrifying the Suzuki Jimny’s ladder-frame comes as the Japanese carmaker said it will introduce an electric Jimny, along with four other EVs, in Europe by 2030.
It’s unclear if this agreement with Applied EV has anything to do with the forthcoming production version of the Jimny EV.
As previously detailed, Suzuki is set to premiere its first EV for Japan during the 2023 financial year, as well as its first EV for Europe and India during the 2024 model year.
The Japanese company previewed its first EV earlier this year at the Auto Expo in Delhi, with the eVX concept SUV.
It’s understood the new model, which is codenamed YV8 internally, is going to use a new dedicated EV architecture it’ll share with Toyota – which will make its own version as part of a wide-ranging EV rollout.
Suzuki also recently discussed plans to use a Porsche Taycan-style multi-speed EV transmission made by Canadian company Inmotive Inc. designed to cut costs as well as improve efficiency.