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Nissan, Mitsubishi reveal compact EV twins for Japan

Nissan and Mitsubishi have revealed electric Kei vans for the Japanese market, with a claimed 180km range and tiny proportions.

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Nissan’s latest electric car won’t be giving Lucid any sleepless nights with its range… but that isn’t really the point.

The Nissan Sakura is for the Japanese market only, and blends styling inspired by the Ariya SUV with compact van proportions. Nissan says it has a 4.8-metre turning circle; a Fiat 500 has a claimed turning circle of 9.3 metres.

Not only do its compact proportions (3395mm long, 1475mm wide and 1655mm tall, with a 2495mm wheelbase) make for a Tokyo-friendly turning circle, they mean the Sakura fits into Japan’s kei car class.

That means it’s cheaper to insure and register than a conventional car. It’s a vehicle class that’s unique to Japan, and was introduced after World War II to encourage manufacturers to build affordable new cars.

Under the skin is an electric motor making 47kW of power and 195Nm of torque, mated with a 20kWh lithium-ion battery pack good for a claimed 180km on the generous Japanese test cycle.

Pricing for the Sakura starts at the equivalent of $25,800 in Japan, and extends to $32,500 for the range-topping model.

Inside, the Sakura features what looks a scaled-down version of the Ariya’s interior. The driver is faced with a 7.0-inch instrument binnacle, while the central display is a 9.0-inch unit with wireless Apple CarPlay.

Nissan’s partner, Mitsubishi, also will offer a version of the Sakura in Japan. Dubbed the eK X EV, it’s built on the same bones as the Nissan, and offers the same claimed driving range.

Outside though, it has a tiny version of the Dynamic Shield face that features across the brand’s SUV range.

Mitsubishi has previously teased the car, which is something of a successor to the i-MiEV electric car that debuted in 2009. It even had roundly similar outputs, with a claimed 47kW of power and 180Nm of torque.

Unlike the 180km claim offered by the eK X EV, however, the i-MiEV was good for 160km on the Japanese cycle.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie

Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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