Update: ‘VW ID. Buzz,’ ‘VW ID. California,’ and ‘Maxus MIFA 9,’ sections updated.
There are more than 15 electric MPV and electric minivan models lined up for launch in the next few years, and here is what we know about them.
Chrysler Pacifica Electric
In 2016, the Chrysler Pacifica became America’s first plug-in hybrid electric minivan, and in 2021, it enjoyed its best year on the market. Later this decade, it could become one of the country’s first minivans available with a battery-electric powertrain.
In a conversation with MotorTrend in January 2022, Chrysler CEO Christine Feuell indicated that a Chrysler Pacifica Electric is in the pipeline. The model could be a part of the second-gen Pacifica range and revealed mid-decade. Feuell wants to change the way Americans perceive minivans and could design its electric minivan from a clean sheet. Giving the design an SUV-like feel, similar to what Kia did to the Carnival, wouldn’t be a bad idea, though she didn’t signal a change of that sort was coming.
Speaking with Automotive News Canada in February 2022, the CEO said that the minivan segment would continue being the “mainstay” for Chrysler. Here’s the brand that invented the modern minivan in 1983, and now they could be at it again with the first all-electric American minivan. Feuell said that the company wants to continue transforming that segment but did not confirm details.
At the 2022 New York International Auto Show in April 2022, Feuell provided more indications on what to expect from the Pacifica EV or the Pacifica electric successor. Talking to Green Car Reports, she suggested that the electric minivan may feature the Pacifica’s Stow ‘n Go seating or a new version of the same. More importantly, she hinted that 400 miles would be a good range for allowing customers to enjoy anxiety-free long journeys.
To be made in Windsor Canada?
The Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada, has been building Chrysler (Chrysler Group)’s minivans since 1983, including the Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid. Later this decade, it could become the factory manufacturing Chrysler’s first all-electric minivan.
On May 2, 2022, Stellantis announced it will transform the Windsor Assembly Plant to make it compatible with a new multi-energy vehicle (MEV) architecture that will provide BEV capability for multiple models. The company expects to start retooling in 2023. In a follow-up announcement on June 3, 2022, we got to know that, as expected, the company was talking about upgrading the factory for the STLA Large platform.
The EVs made in Windsor will get batteries made at an all-new battery manufacturing plant built with an investment of over CAD 5 billion (USD 3.7 billion). Stellantis and LG Energy Solution have partnered for this facility. Also located in Windsor, the Canadian battery manufacturing plant will have an annual production capacity of more than 45 GWh. Construction will start by the end of 2022 and production operations will start in Q1 2024.
VW ID. Buzz
The VW ID. Buzz will reach customers in Europe soon. However, its U.S. launch will only take place in 2024, following a big premiere of the U.S.-specification model in 2023. Based on the MEB platform, the ID. Buzz comes in standard-wheelbase and long-wheelbase forms in the European market.
Former Volkswagen Group of America President & CEO Scott Keogh had confirmed the U.S.-spec ID. Buzz will have a larger battery pack. It could be the 111 kWh version expected in Europe, although the EPA-est. range could be slightly lower, around 300 miles. Keogh has also said that there’s a huge demand building for the ID. Buzz in the United States.
The version that will be launched in the U.S. will have a 10.6-inch longer wheelbase (around 128.2 inches) and perhaps unique features adapted to the local market. We expect the ID. Buzz to begin around USD 60,000.
VW ID. California
Following the VW ID. Buzz, Volkswagen will launch an all-electric campervan under the VW ID. range. Volkswagen Group announced this surprise electric minivan as the ‘VW ID. California’ in the Planning Round 70 it conducted in December 2021. The company said that it would manufacture the ID. California in Hannover, Germany. The U.S. launch of the ID. California could take place in 2025.
Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle
If the California-based startup keeps all its promises, the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle will be one of the most futuristic electric vans on the American market. Going on sale in 2022 (as claimed by the startup company), it will be Canoo’s first vehicle launch. Designed for maximum cabin space, which incidentally leads to a sci-fi flick exterior, it is available in Base, Premium, Adventure, and Delivery trims. Its interior space is similar to a large SUV, claims Canoo.
The Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle’s exterior dimensions are similar to a compact car’s. Canoo is expecting to offer it with a powertrain that generates up to 300 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque and a battery pack that provides a range of 250 miles. The company aims to price the Base, Premium, and Delivery trims between USD 34,750 and USD 49,950. It has started taking pre-orders with a deposit of USD 100.
On July 12, 2022, Walmart announced that it has signed an agreement with Canoo to buy 4,500 of its electric delivery vehicles, starting with the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle, with the option to purchase up to 10,000 units. The company plans to use them for deliveries of online orders. Within two weeks of signing the agreement, testing for rear-world deliveries started in a 7-days-a-week program in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex (DFW).
China’s Dongfeng Group’s high-end EV brand Voyah (‘Lantu’ in Chinese) unveiled its second product at the 2021 Guangzhou Auto Show (19-28 Nov 2021), an electric Minivan called the Voyah Dreamer. The luxury MPV was shown in a comfort-oriented, luxurious four-seat configuration. The MPV will do 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 5.9 seconds.
The Voyah Dreamer MPV measures 5,315 mm in length, 1,980 mm in width, and 1,810 mm in height, and it has a 3,200 mm-long wheelbase. It will be available in 4- and 7-seat versions. The Dreamer is equipped with front and rear motors that deliver 320 kW and a peak torque of 620 Nm. The front seats are 12-way electrically adjustable, while the middle row seats are 8-way power-operated. There are a plethora of features, including massage and electric leg rests for the middle row seats, 5G connectivity, and a Level 2+ autonomous driving system.
The new electric minivan features a fully digital instrument cluster, a large central touchscreen, and a large touchscreen passenger display ahead of the front seats. The rear-seat occupants get reclining seats with wing-type headrests, large leg rests, perforated leather upholstery, fold-out tray tables, and Xiaomi TV.
Dongfeng Group started production of the Voyah Dreamer in Wuhan in April 2022. The company has launched the electric luxury MPV in the domestic market. The prices of the seven-seat version range from CNY 369,900-439,900 (USD 51,466-61,205), while the prices of the four-seat customized version start at CNY 639,900 (USD 89,032).
Norway is Voyah’s first overseas market, and the company opened its first retail outlet there in the national capital on June 11, 2022. According to a Chinese press release that Dongfeng Motor published on mp.sohu.com, the company plans to launch the ‘Free’ SUV in the country in Q4 2022 (October-December 2022). The first batch, consisting of 500 units, is on its way. The Dreamer could arrive in Norway as the brand’s second product in 2023.
Maxus MIFA 9
The production Maxus MIFA 9 electric Minivan (shown as the MIFA concept at Auto Shanghai 2021) debuted at the Guangzhou Auto Show 2021. The MIFA 9 appears elegant thanks to its high-set bonnet and the absence of a large radiator grille. Unlike most MPVs, its bonnet isn’t angled downwards, making it appear muscular. It sports aero-optimized wheels and full-width LED taillamps.
On the inside, the electric van packs generous digital real estate. It features three large screens on the dashboard. A tiny animated virtual assistant can be seen on the extreme right of the dashboard. The MPV can be purchased with either six- or seven-seat configurations. The six-seater gets captain chairs in the second row. All seats are electronically adjustable—even the third-row seats get individual armrests.
The MIFA 9 electric MPV is based on a new platform called the Maxus Intelligent Flexible Architecture (MIFA). It comes with a 93 kWh li-ion battery with a CLTC range of 520 km (323 miles) with a single motor delivering 180 kW (245 PS) and 350 Nm of torque, with a longer range model of 650 km (404 miles) due in 2023.
Parent company SAIC produces the Maxus MIFA 9 at the Lighthouse factory in Nanjing, China. Prices start at CNY 279,900 (USD 38,944) and go up to CNY 439,900 (USD 61,205). The luxury MPV made its UK debut at the 2022 Commercial Vehicle Show that took place in Birmingham from May 24-27, 2022. It will be available at British dealerships from Q1 2023.
The Zeekr 009 is the second model from Geely Auto’s premium EV brand. The 009 has a refined and sophisticated look that gives it a Rolls-Royce feel. The tall and boxy grille seems to house digital lights inspired by the pipe organ, with a thick slab of chrome tipping its upper edge. The split headlamps comprise inverted U-shaped LED DRLs on the top and horizontal main beams in the middle section.
On the sides, the 009 features multi-spoke two-tone alloy wheels, slim door handles, and a kick in the beltline before the C-pillar. At the rear, the SEA platform-based electric MPV has an end-to-end combination light structure forming a T shape and block-lettered Zeekr branding.
The 009 is a six-seat electric MPV based on Geely’s SEA platform. It is 5,209 mm long, 2,204 mm wide, and 1,856 mm (with air suspension)/1,867 mm tall. It has a long wheelbase of 3,205 mm. Powering the large electric MPV are two 200 kW (268 hp) motors, presumably one at the front and one at the rear. Note that these specifications come from certification data from China’s Ministry of Industry Information and Technology (MIIT). Chinese media expects the 009 to deliver a CLTC range of 700 km (435 miles).
Zeekr plans to launch a new EV every year, and in 2023, it will reportedly start exporting cars to Europe. Overseas shipments will be key for Zeekr, which wants to sell 650,000 units annually by 2025. The SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) should help the company maintain its timeline of launching a new EV every year and compete with global offerings in features and specifications.
To launch by December 2022, the Mercedes EQT will appeal to young families and adventure enthusiasts looking for an electric MPV to carry their gear. Sharing its platform with the Renault Kangoo Z.E. electric MPV, the EQT is expected with a 45 kWh battery that provides a range of 300 km (186 miles) in the WLTP cycle. A front-mounted motor developing 90 kW (122 PS/121 hp) of power and 245 Nm of torque could be the mainstay of the European MPV.
Mercedes-Benz Vans says it has concluded winter testing of the EQT. It focused on driving performance, climate comfort, and preconditioning functions in winter testing. It will conduct additional tests in southern Europe in the coming months ahead of the launch. The company has confirmed that it will present the Mercedes EQT in 5- and 7-seat versions. It plans to launch the 5-seater by December 2022 and the 7-seater in 2023.
Next-gen Mercedes EQV
In 2025, a new-generation Mercedes EQV could replace the current model that premiered in 2019. While the current EQV is a conversion of the V-Class, thus an EV developed on a modified ICE vehicle platform, the next-gen EQV could be a bespoke EV. Mercedes-Benz Group is developing a new electric-only platform for electric vans and Light Commercial Vehicles called VAN.EA, and plans to launch the first model based on it in 2025. That model could be the next-gen EQV. The redesigned model should be more space- and energy-efficient and more luxurious.
Hyundai Staria FCEV
The Hyundai Staria FCEV was announced at the IAA 2021 (2021 Munich Motor Show), with a market launch planned in the second half of 2023. The Staria will get the third-generation fuel cell system.
There are two versions of the fuel cell system (100 kW and 200 kW), and the Staria FCEV is expected with the 100 kW cell. The third-generation fuel cell system is 30 percent smaller than the Nexo’s unit and should allow engineers to maintain the interior space the Staria offers. Sales of the Staria FCEV will be exclusive to countries with a good network of hydrogen refueling stations.
The production version of the MINI Urbanaut will pack maximum available space onto the smallest road footprint. It could borrow design cues from the MINI Concept Aceman, which previews the brand’s new design language. Some reports speculate Mini could revive the Traveller nameplate with the production Urbanaut, whereas others speculate Mini has not yet decided on the name for the electric MPV.
In an interview with Autocar UK at the 2021 Munich Motor Show, Oliver Heilmer, Mini’s designer, said that bringing the concept to production will be a “long process” as it is a different platform, and some of the features Mini is aiming for (like the steer-by-wire) are not in production yet. A 2025 launch timeline is what reports indicate for the production Mini Urbanaut, following the availability of the BMW Neue Klasse platform.
An Automobilwoche report dated July 31, 2022, has suggested that the MINI electric MPV could be based on Canoo’s proprietary multi-purpose platform (MPP) architecture. BMW Group doesn’t have the right platform for such a model and licensing the American startup’s platform could be a cost-effective solution to the problem. In addition to giving access to its dedicated EV platform, Canoo could manufacture the MINI electric MPV alongside the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle in the U.S. which could benefit both parties. BMW has a history of developing proprietary technology, and it remains to be seen how this will play out in the future.
BYD ‘R’ Premium MPV
BYD’s upcoming premium electric brand, which goes by the internal codename ‘R,’ will target the electric MPV segment, though it first plans to launch a rugged electric SUV. The brand will launch in Q4 2022, as per a report Sina Finance published on August 25, 2022, and an electric MPV is expected within 12-18 months of the launch.
The director of the premium brand, Zhao Changjiang, took to social media in November 2021 to collect feedback from netizens regarding a large 7-seat MPV. Given the premium positioning, we can expect the MPV to offer a range of 800+ km (500 miles) thanks to the BYD Blade Battery and the lightweight e-Platform 3.0.
XBUS, previously called eBussy, is a new retro-style modular van. It is available to pre-order in two chassis variants: Standard and Offroad.
The XBUS Standard measures 3,945 mm in length, 1,633 mm in width, and 1,920 mm in height. The XBUS Offroad is just as long, but it measures 1,691 mm in width and 1,970 mm in height. The wheelbase of both variants is 2,200 mm. The XBUS is suitable for various applications, thanks to the availability of various modules: Bus, Transporter, Tipper, Box L, Box XXL, Pickup BUS Double cab pickup, Pickup, Cabrio, and Camper.
The XBUS is an AWD vehicle with four in-wheel motors that produce just 56 kW of power but a whopping 1,200 Nm of torque! The top speed is higher than 100 km/h (62 mph), and the payload capacity is approx. 800 – 100 kg. The load volumes of Cabrio and Camper modules aren’t out yet, but the rest of the range offers up to 2,770 liters.
A 10 kWh lithium-ion battery pack consisting of eight 1.25 kWh modules is standard, but customers can opt for extra modules and expand the capacity to 30 kWh. There’s also a solar roof; the size, positioning, and production capacity depend on the configuration.
Charging the lithium-ion battery pack from 10-80% SoC takes approximately three hours through a single-phase socket at 3.6 kW or less than an hour with a type 2 charger at 11 kW. The base variant with the 10 kWh battery pack should deliver a range of up to 140 km (87 miles), and that’s an official estimate. The higher-end variants with a 30 kWh battery pack will likely travel up to more than 400 km (249 miles) on a full charge.
The XBUS has active and passive safety systems like a crash box, roll bar, and electronic stability program. In the UK, its prices start at GBP 17,526.05 (USD 18,945).
The XBUS van was to be available to customers in Q3 2022, but the brand is reportedly facing delays, say reports from Germany. ElectricBrands had planned to start production in Itzehoe, Germany, from mid-2022. The company faces challenges because of the pandemic as the global supply chains continue to be slow-moving, says Ecomento.de. Additionally, the staff strength is low, and there are delivery and production bottlenecks as well. German publications such as SHZ.de say that the brand has received 15,000 reservations, and deliveries are unlikely to commence before 2023.
BYD-owned Denza has launched its electric minivan ‘D9’ in China. The brand is offering four hybrid versions and two pure electric iterations. The D9 has classic MPV proportions, short overhangs, and a long wheelbase. The luxury MPV has a giant grille stretching from the bonnet to the bottom of the lower air dam. The design and styling highlights are centered around the front, while the rest of the vehicle is relatively traditional.
Going by Chinese media reports from the product launch, the party piece is the Denza D9’s cabin. The captain seats in the second row have 10-way power adjustment, massage, and 6-way headrest adjustment. A small screen on the armrest controls the seat’s functions, while rear-seat passengers also get individual entertainment screens. The driver’s seat gets 12-way power adjustment and face recognition. The MPV also gets massive 17.3-inch infotainment, operating the Denza link, with 5G, Bluetooth BT5.2, and Wi-Fi 6 features.
The pure electric model is based on BYD’s e-platform 3.0. It is available in FWD and AWD variants. Both variants have a 230 kW/360 Nm front motor, but the AWD variant has a 45 kW/110 Nm rear motor as well, which leads to an increased system power of 275 kW and a higher system torque of 470 Nm.
The FWD variant can travel up to 620 km (385 miles) on a full charge (CLTC), while the AWD variant has a slightly shorter range (CLTC) of 600 km (373 miles). The the minivan provides 150 km (93 miles) of range after just 10 minutes of charging. Also, the Denza D9 can charge from 30% to 80% in just 30 minutes, thanks to its heat pump.
The Denza D9 electric is available in 620 Premium RWD, 600 4WD Honor, and 600 4WD flagship configurations, priced at CNY 389,800 (USD 54,235), CNY 429,800 (USD 59,800), and CNY 459,800 (USD 63,974), respectively.
Li Auto MPV
Chinese automaker Li Auto presently offers the Ideal One range-extender SUV as well as the L9, in China. According to auto.sina.com‘s article dated March 29, 2022, Li Auto will also foray into the MPV space.
A spy picture (see on cnevpost.com) apparently shows a camouflaged MPV leaving Li Auto’s R&D center in Beijing, regarded as the company’s upcoming electric minivan. Despite the heavy camouflage, we can make out a few aspects of its design. The Li Auto electric MPV features a short hood, an expansive windshield, steeply raked A-pillars, a huge front quarter glass, and five-spoke aero wheels.
The Sina report states that in 10 minutes of DC fast charging, the EV will gain 249 miles (400 km) range. The MPV will measure between 208-212 inches (5.3-5.4 meters) in length, and the wheelbase will be between 126-134 inches (3.2-3.4 meters). The Buick GL8 is its main rival.
Li Auto could use CATL’s new CTP 3.0 battery in the electric MPV. Also called “Qilin,” the new cell-to-pack battery boasts a record-breaking volume utilization efficiency of 72% and an energy density of up to 255 Wh/kg. CATL says that EVs using this technology can deliver a range of over 1,000 km (621 miles) in a breeze. The CTP 3.0 battery can deliver 13% more power than the 4680 battery.
Li Auto is constructing a new manufacturing site in Beijing with a production capacity of 100,000 EVs. The plant will be opened in 2023, and the pure electric MPV is expected to be the first model to be made at this site.
Honda electric minivan
Announcing its EV strategy on April 12, 2022, Honda said it will launch 30 electric vehicle models worldwide by the end of the decade. With a wide selection of 30 electric vehicles ranging from commercial-use mini-EVs to flagship-class sports cars, Honda aims to start producing more than 2 million EVs annually by 2030.
Along with the announcement, Honda released a broad teaser having the silhouettes of its planned future EVs. As shown in the picture above, one of the teased models is a flat and boxy people mover. This Honda electric minivan seems to have proportions similar to the Honda StepWGN (Honda Step Wagon), which sits between the Freed and Odyssey in Japan. Honda is expected to share more details about its new electric cars in 2023.
The Odyssey has been a faithful servant to Honda’s American operations for the last 28 years. Honda has no better choice than to reinvent it as an all-electric vehicle for the future.
The Audi urbansphere concept, revealed in April 2022, is the third and final Audi “sphere” concept. It’s a luxurious electric van that Audi’s Beijing and Ingolstadt design studios jointly developed for Chinese customers.
The urbansphere belongs to the future where Level 4 autonomous driving is the norm in traffic-dense Chinese megacities. Measuring 5.51 meters (216.9 in.) in length, 2.01 meters (79.1 in.) in width, and 1.78 meters (70.1 in.) in height, and with a wheelbase of 3.40 meters (133.9 in.) it’s a truly grand MPV.
The urbansphere concept is an ultra-luxurious people mover for four individuals. The rear seats particularly offer a lot of comfort, allowing the passengers to tilt them up to 60 degrees and extending leg rests, too. A transparent OLED screen allows video conferencing, watching movies, and more, to make the best possible use of time on the go.
Based on the PPE platform, the Audi urbansphere has a 120+ kWh battery pack that should provide a WLTP range of up to 750 km (466 miles). With a DC fast-charging power of 270 kW, it can charge up from 5 to 80% in less than 25 minutes. Just 10 minutes of charging can provide a range of more than 300 km (186 miles). There is no official confirmation, but Audi is likely to launch a production electric MPV inspired by this concept this decade, designed for large metropolitan cities.
Buick Electra MPV
General Motors announced on June 1, 2022, that it had planned several Buick electric vehicles. The brand remains committed to the Chinese market, where five all-new electric vehicles based on GM’s Ultium platform will be introduced through 2025. GM has confirmed an electric Buick MPV, but no further details have been released yet. Future Buick EVs will take the ‘Electra‘ prefix.
Buick’s all-new EV portfolio will be empowered by the revolutionary Ultium platform, covering the mainstream MPV, SUV and sedan segments.Buick announcement (via media.gm.com) on June 1, 2022
The electric MPV will not be related to the GL8 MPV, as it’s a gas-powered van while the Electra MPV will be based on the bespoke Ultium EV architecture.
Featured Image: VW