LDV last week confirmed three EVs for the Australian market from November 2022: the eT60 ute, eDeliver 9 van, and finally the Mifa 9 people-mover.
The company, part of China’s SAIC Motor, is currently expanding into Europe and the UK after using Australia as an expansion test bed for a few years now.
The Mifa 9 will be among the first battery electric MPVs on sale locally, with the just-launched Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer the only offering out there at the time of writing.
With sales of people movers so low compared to SUVs, most manufacturers – Kia excluded – have moved away from these humble family haulers. That gives LDV an opportunity.
The company previously had a presence in Australia’s people-mover market with the petrol-powered, van-based G10, which was very much a budget option.
So, what can you expect from this new Mifa 9 electric people-mover, which made its world premiere at Guangzhou Auto Show last November?
At 5270mm long (according to UK specs) the LDV Mifa 9 is 115mm longer than the top-selling Kia Carnival.
The seven-seat model will come first, with the eight-seater due in early 2023. LDV has confirmed three variants will be offered.
All use a 90kWh ternary lithium battery supplied by CATL delivering a claimed 440km driving range on the reasonably accurate WLTP test cycle.
This powers a 180kW and 350Nm drive motor.
Charging the Mifa 9 via an 11kW home wall-charger takes approximately 8.5 hours, while DC rapid charging requires approximately 36 minutes to go from 20-80 per cent full.
On the safety front, LDV says it expects the maximum five-star Euro NCAP and ANCAP rating, but there’s no result yet.
Features include a front-centre and three-row curtain airbags as well as the expected dual-front and front-side airbags. Driver assists will include autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, emergency lane-keep assist, and a fatigue reminder.
Details of the interior are limited, but press images from China show three touchscreens up front and one mounted to each front-seat headrest for middle occupants.
Higher spec grades look to have six captain’s chairs, while most if not all grades will have powered sliding doors and tailgate.
The big issue is pricing. In China, the Mifa 9 retails for between RMB 279,900 (A$61,200) and RMB 439,900 (A$96,000), so this is not a cheap and cheerful car.
Alongside LDV’s planned rollout of three EVs, fellow SAIC brand MG is also strengthening its EV range in Australia. It just launched the updated ZS EV and launches the all-new MG 4 in early 2023.
LDV is distributed in Australia by independent company Ateco, whereas MG Australia is a factory backed subsidiary operation of SAIC.
“Every major OEM is committed to developing electric vehicles, but what is less spoken about is the growing influence of China’s EV market on the rest of the world,” claims LDV Australia general manager Dinesh Chinnappa.
“In the first half of 2022, 2.4 million EVs were delivered to customers in China, more than double the total annual new car market in Australia.
“EVs now account for 26 per cent of all car sales in China, and 57 per cent of global EV sales. China is moving ahead in electrifying its transport industry and it’s bringing the rest of the world – including Australia – with it.”
We will fill you in with all the details on the 2023 LDV Mifa 9 EV people-mover once they come to hand.