Update: ‘Chrysler Pacifica Electric,’ ‘Maxus MIFA 9,’ and ‘Mini Urbanaut’ 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 3.9 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 this year. However, its U.S. launch will only take place in 2024, following the big premiere of the U.S.-specification model next year.
Based on the MEB platform, the ID. Buzz comes in standard-wheelbase and long-wheelbase forms. However, the U.S. will get only the passenger model in the long-wheelbase form. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has not revealed information about the long-wheelbase vehicle.
The standard-wheelbase VW ID. Buzz uses a 77 kWh battery pack and a rear-mounted electric motor that produces 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque. This configuration provides it with an electronically governed top speed of 90 mph. Volkswagen has said that it will reveal the range later and that it plans to introduce more motor and battery pack options.
One of the future configurations could offer a range of up to 350 miles (WLTP) with a 111 kWh battery pack and a solar roof. A dual-motor configuration could offer a 0-62 mph acceleration time of under 9 seconds. These are pure media speculations, though.
Volkswagen Group of America President & CEO Scott Keogh has 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 ID.Buzz won’t come cheap. In Germany, the VW ID Buzz Pro (passenger model) begins at EUR 56,606 after Germany’s environmental incentives. The version that will be launched in the U.S. will have a longer wheelbase and perhaps unique features adapted to the local market, which might shoot up the prices.
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.
Morris Commercial JE van
Source – Youtube/Morris Commercial
The JE van is Morris Commercial’s first product (not to be confused with MG Motor, MG Commercial is a British brand revived in November 2019 by European and British investors and led by Dr. Qu Li). The Morris JE, a 1950’s Morris J-Type-inspired van, will retail for about GBP 60,000 (lease options will also be available). On its Facebook page in February 2022, the company said that it would open order books later this year, but there is no clarity on when customer deliveries would begin.
Salient features of the JE include 200 miles (320 km) of range, 1 tonne of payload, 80 percent fast charge in 30 minutes, and a carbon-fiber body construction. The Morris JE van will be exported globally after the initial launch in the UK. Morris Commercial expressed intent to build a pickup truck, campervan, and minibus applications on the JE’s platform, while detailing the vehicle back in November 2019.
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 55,315-65,783), while the prices of the four-seat customized version start at CNY 639,900 (USD 95,692).
The Dreamer could also arrive in Europe as Voyah has confirmed that it plans to enter Norway. The Nordic nation will be its first overseas market. According to a Chinese press release that Dongfeng Motor published on mp.sohu.com, the company plans to showcase the ‘Free’ SUV in Oslo in June and launch it in the country in Q4 2022 (October-December 2022). Voyah will open its first Norwegian retail outlet in the national capital, and 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 last year’s Auto Shanghai) 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 has chunky 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 has started producing the luxury MPV at the Lighthouse factory in Nanjing, China. Prices start at CNY 269,900 (USD 40,361) and go up to CNY 379,900 (USD 56,811). In the UK, the launch will be held by August 2022 and sales will begin in Q1 2023.
The Zeekr 002, the second model for Geely Auto’s premium EV brand, is an electric MPV. Announcing its 2021 Financial Results on March 23, 2022, Geely Auto provided an outlook of its various brands for 2022. For the Zeekr brand, it confirmed a pure electric MPV, which the Chinese media has given the unofficial name 002. “Zeekr intelligent technology continues to optimize high-end intelligent EV market layout, launch of luxury intelligent pure electric MPV,” the company said in its presentation for the 2021 Financial Results.
Electric MPVs like the Zeekr 002, the Maxus MIFA 9, and the Voyah Dreamer come on the back of China’s new three-child policy, which would mean many families require a spacious vehicle to haul weekend luggage and accommodate child seats.
Expect the 002 to come in six- and seven-seat versions. Spy pictures have revealed that it will feature comfy individual seats with electric adjustment, extra-wide headrests, and armrests with in-built storage space. This will probably be an optional feature, though. The basic configuration could have a bench seat for three passengers in the middle row. The leaked interior shots show a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a fully digital instrument cluster, and a tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system.
Zeekr plans to launch a new EV every year, and in 2023, it will reportedly start exporting cars to Europe. This will be key for Zeekr, which wants to sell 650,000 units annually by 2025. Zeekr products ride on the SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture), which should help the company maintain its timeline of launching a new EV every year and compete with global offerings in features and specifications. We should know more about the 002 in the coming months.
To launch in the second half of the year, 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 this year 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.
In a press release on November 3, 2021, discussing its future strategy, Mini said it was working on a “new vehicle concept” with many creative solutions inspired by the Mini Vision Urbanaut. On June 14, 2022, Mini teased this concept and said it will be a pure electric small crossover. Debuting the brand’s new design language that will be the basis for all its next-gen EVs, presumably including the production electric MPV derived from the Urbanaut, we’ll have a better understanding of it when Mini reveals it at the end of July 2022.
The upcoming product will pack maximum available space onto the smallest road footprint, it said. 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 Die Neue Klasse platform.
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 by June this year, 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. Measuring 3.96 meters in length, 1,64 meters in width, and 1.96 meters (offroad version: 2.03 meters) in height, it is ideally suited for European streets. And it’s light, too, weighing under 600 kg (net). It can carry up to 3 people and 1,000 kilograms of payload. A 56 kW motor drives the wheels and provides a top speed of 100 km/h.
The basic package includes eight battery modules (1.25 kWh each) and provides a travel range of around 200 km in the City Mode and up to 140 km in Mix Mode. When equipped with the optional packs (30 kWh battery) plus a solar roof that adds up to 200 km to the range, the XBUS can travel up to over 600 km (in urban conditions) on a full charge. The bus will also have active and passive safety systems like a crash box, roll bar, and electronic stability program.
The XBUS will be available in eight versions, including Bus, Tipper, CargoBox, Pick Up!, Open!, Camper, etc. There’ll be two chassis options: XBUS City and XBUS Offroad. ElectricBrands will manufacture the EV in Itzehoe, Germany, from the middle of this year. Prices will start at under EUR 20,000.
The XBUS van was supposed to be available to customers in Q3 of 2022, but the brand is reportedly facing delays, say reports from Germany. ElectricBrands 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.
Toyota Mid Box
Along with a wide range of Toyota and Lexus passenger EVs, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) unveiled a few commercial EVs during its media briefing on BEV strategies in December 2021. One was the Toyota Mid Box, a compact delivery van that could rival the VW ID. Buzz Cargo. We’re rooting for a passenger application that provides a simple alternative to the funky VW ID. Buzz!
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. The total range is 600+ km (373+ miles) on the CLTC measurement, and 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 electric versions are priced between CNY 390,000-460,000 (USD 58,321-68,789).
Li Auto MPV
Chinese automaker Li Auto presently offers the Ideal One range-extender SUV, while the new L9 is also slated for launch on April 16, 2022, in China. According to auto.sina.com‘s article dated March 29, 2022, Li Auto will now foray into the MPV space. The company is constructing a new manufacturing site in Beijing with a production capacity of 100,000 EVs. The plant will be opened in 2023, and a pure electric MPV is expected to be the first model to be made at this site.
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 vehicle will rival the Buick GL8.
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 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 could launch a production electric MPV inspired by this concept in a few years, 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 be 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