Compact Commercial Vehicle Makers Share Common Platform for Mini-Van BEV

Japanese car makers Daihatsu, Suzuki, and Toyota came together to launch a single platform mini-commercial van battery electric prototypes at the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) exhibit which ran along with the G7 Hiroshima Summit. The G7 Summit followed the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, where EV and battery production was also one of the main strategies for sustainable goals.

One platform, three brands for the electric KEI-vans from Daihatsu, Suzuki, and Toyota.

As the Group of Seven heads of state met, the mini-commercial EVs were unveiled at an exhibition event that introduced a general plan of the Japanese automobile industry’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. The three single-platform, three-brand vehicles were equipped with a jointly developed battery-electric vehicle system.

The exhibition event organized by the JAMA is part of the organization’s accelerated action towards decarbonization in both regional and global economies, protect nature and biodiversity, and enhance circularity.

In the first half of 2021, the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT) was created to promote the widespread use of alternative fuel and electrified commercial vehicles. It is not simply a technology partnership between car makers, but a social implementation project leading to decarbonization.

Under the CJPT agreements, commercial electrified vehicles will be introduced, including heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks for main line transportation and mini-commercial van battery-electric vehicles for last mile deliveries. The tripartite agreement between the three car makers is a result of this goal.

The differences in the specifications of the three vehicles has not yet been released, but it is clear that these will only be badged engineered. Daihatsu will call its version the Hijet EV, following Japan’s most popular line micro-van. Suzuki calls its vehicle the EVery wagon, while Pixis is the name Toyota chosen for its version.

Clearly outlined in the tripartite strategy is that Daihatsu and Suzuki cooperated on the design and interior phase. Toyota will supply the electric powertrain, while Daihatsu will produce the vehicles for the three brands.

“The three companies jointly developed a BEV system suitable for mini-commercial vehicles by combining Suzuki and Daihatsu’s expertise in creating small-size cars with Toyota’s electrification technology to introduce this mini-commercial van BEV. Daihatsu will produce the vehicles, and Suzuki, Daihatsu, and Toyota will each release their own version within fiscal 2023,” the CJPT announcement indicated.

This CJPT agreement was first announced in July 2021, targeting an originally release by the end of 2023.

In Japan, the kei-vans are very popular in the city because of their compact size to tackle narrow streets and limited parking. It is the default choice in supporting last-mile logistics accounting for 60% of commercial vehicles on the road. Their sheer number makes them a type of vehicle capable of contributing significantly to the achievement of carbon neutrality if electrification advances.

Based on CJPT agreements in July 2021, the optimal specifications include a cruising range per charge of about 200 kilometers and flexible chassis that will allow various configurations “that can fully meet the needs of customers in the delivery industry.” In addition, energy management integrated with commercial vehicle operation management will lead to reductions in overall burden on society and CO2 emissions.

Through this initiative, CJPT will increase the movement toward carbon neutrality of the whole society, and together with its partners, take on the challenges it is facing as opportunities for industrial development and the strengthening of international competitiveness.

The Suzuki Smike is a very popular “kei-car” passenger wagon in Japan.

Related Story: Top Kei Car Makers Join Forces To Create Commercial Kei Vans


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