Mitsubishi isn’t done selling fancy golf carts, follows up iMiEV with K-EV Concept X Style

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Mitsubishi was one of the early pioneers of the modern EV era, launching the original iMiEV electric kei car on World Environment Day back in 2009. Against all odds, the iMiEV is still in production and, today, a fixture in EV markets across Europe and South East Asia – but this, too, must end. Meet Mitsubishi’s new electric kei, the K-EV Concept X Style.

Mitsubishi gave the press a sneak preview at the K-EV Concept X Style ahead of the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon (“K” because it’s classified as a “kei car” in Japan, and “EV” because – you know), showing it alongside a host of other products. Notable among these is the return of the storied “Ralliart” nameplate as a trim package on the Eclipse and Outlander SUVs and a “Vision Ralliart” concept car… but we’re not here for those.

About the K-EV

No technical information about the little Mitsubishi K-EV has been revealed as yet, but it seems likely that this is the first fruit of a known platform that Mitsubishi has been developing together with Nissan through the NKMV Co. Ltd. joint venture. As such, we can make a few assumptions:

  1. The new K-EV will have a larger battery than the 16 kWh unit in the iMiEV – but not much larger. The iMiEV delivered 160 km (99 miles) of range on the Japanese cycle and 62 miles on the US EPA cycle, which is pretty solid in densely packed cities.
  2. Mitsubishi will follow in Nissan’s footsteps and abandon the CHAdeMO charging standard for the more universal CSS standard.
  3. Mitsubishi’s new electric runabout will have less than or equal to 63 hp… because that’s the maximum hp “allowed” in the kei car category.

Nissan’s version of the NKMV-built car, foreshadowed by 2019’s IMK concept car, is also expected to bow at the Tokyo show.

Electrek’s Take

In the early, early days of the e-mobility revolution (read: before Tesla proved otherwise), most people thought of electric cars as glorified golf carts – and that’s kind of what the iMiEV was: a golf cart that would just touch 80 mph.

At that 80 mph top speed, it felt just like a golf cart. I know, I drove an iMiEV for a few months in 2011 and again in 2014. On I-290 outside of Chicago, the little Mitsubishi felt every inch a death trap, transmitting every expansion joint, surface irregularity, and cross wind directly through the cabin. When a truck – heck, a car passed you, you felt its wake. It was a terrible, awful, no good, rattly little death trap of a car… but it was an absolutely spectacular golf cart. And, if you could keep that idea in your head, you could learn to love it.

Here’s hoping Mitsubishi kept the fear factor alive in this new one.

Source | Images: Mitsuibishi.

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