Update: ‘XBUS’ updated, and ‘Volvo electric MPV’ added.
There are 20 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 in the second half of the 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.
Xpeng MPV (Xpeng H93)
Xpeng Motors will launch a C-class model (as per Chinese classification) that “will be at a premium to the current portfolio of products” in 2023, Brian Gu, the company’s Vice Chairman and President, said during its Q1 2022 earnings conference call. According to reports floating on the Chinese web, the new flagship model will be an electric MPV codenamed ‘Xpeng H93.’ It will be built on the H platform that He Xiaopeng, the company’s Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO, mentioned during its Q3 2022 earnings conference call.
A spy video of the alleged Xpeng MPV is already on the web, courtesy of Weibo user 理想嘉-大D (watch on YouTube). The future model is seen featuring Xpeng Motors’ signature X Robot Face, consisting of a narrow daytime running light band spread across the width right below the hood shut line and an X-shaped smooth closed body panel flanked by separate main lights below that DRL strip. The main light assembly could integrate LiDAR units as well.
Gu said the new flagship model, which we believe will be the Xpeng H93, will be priced at over CNY 400,000 (USD 59,049). He also revealed that the electric MPV will be a highly profitable product with a gross margin of 20% or more.
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 54,606-64,939), while the prices of the four-seat customized version start at CNY 639,900 (USD 94,464).
Norway is Voyah’s first overseas market, and the company opened its first retail outlet there in the national capital on June 11, 2022. The first product for the Norwegian market is the Free SUV, following which the Dreamer could arrive in the country 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 41,320) and go up to CNY 439,900 (USD 64,939). The luxury MPV made its British 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 and has a refined and sophisticated look. 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.
The 009 is a six-seat electric MPV based on Geely’s SEA platform. It is 5,209 mm (205.1 in.) long, 2,204 mm (86.8 in.) wide, and 1,848 mm (72.8 in.)/1,856 mm (73.1 in.) tall. It has a long wheelbase of 3,205 mm (126.2 in.).
The 009 is the world’s first EV fitted with CATL’s Qilin batteries (presumably as per CLTC) of 1,000 km (621 miles). Based on CATL’s third-gen cell-to-pack technology, the new batteries allow a record-breaking volume utilization efficiency of 72% and a high energy density of up to 255 Wh/kg. Fast-charging (presumably from 30 to 80% SoC) takes just 10 minutes).
Zeekr offers the 009 in China in a WE variant and a ME variant. The WE variant has a 116 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that delivers a CLTC range of 702 km and the ME variant has a 140 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that delivers a CLTC range of 822 km. Both variants use two motors, one on each axle, producing 400 kW and 686 Nm of torque. A 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint takes just 4.5 seconds, which is just crazy for a mammoth like this!
Zeekr launched the 009 as its second model in China on November 1, 2022. It costs CNY 499,000 (USD 73,664) in the WE variant and CNY 588,000 (USD 86,803) in the ME variant. It’s a matter of time before the 009 ships overseas.
The Mercedes EQT is a small electric van derived from the T-Class and measures. It has a 2,716 mm (107 in.) wheelbase; a long-wheelbase version will follow in 2023. The standard van offers 551 liters of cargo space, expandable to 1,979 liters by folding down the rear seats. 516 kg is the maximum payload capacity, and that figure includes an 80 kg roof load.
Mercedes-Benz Vans will offer the EQT in a FWD variant that uses a motor with 90 kW (121 hp) of power and 245 Nm (181 lb.-ft.) of torque. A 45 kWh battery pack enables this motor. The maximum charging input the EQT supports is 22 kW (AC)/80 kW (DC). DC fast-charging from 10 to 80% SoC takes 38 minutes. 282 km or 175 miles is the WLTP range of the small electric van.
The Mercedes EQT will soon become available to order in Europe.
Next-gen Mercedes EQV
By mid-decade, 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 in 2025. The redesigned EQV 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.
Kia Carnival EV
Kia’s growing presence in electric vehicle segments could include an MPV by 2025. According to South Korean media, a Kia Carnival EV is in the pipeline. This electric MPV could be a conversion of the current, fourth-gen Carnival, one of the last Kia models without electrification in the United States.
In addition to a Kia Carnival EV, a Kia Carnival FCEV could be in the making. On September 14, 2022, Maekyung.com reported that Kia plans to introduce a hydrogen-powered Carnival after it completes the roll out of hydrogen military vehicles. A week after this news broke, the company showcased three hydrogen military vehicles at DX Korea 2022 (September 21-25, 2022). The Carnival FCEV could pack the same powertrain as Hyundai’s Staria Fuel Cell.
Stefanie Wurst, the Head of MINI brand, has told Autocar that a production Urbanaut is “thinkable,” the British publication reported on October 13, 2022. Wurst indicated that MINI would take any new decision about releasing a model with a new body style, including the Urbanaut, “by the end of the year (2022).” We should hear more about MINI’s plans later this year.
In an interview with Autocar 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.
The production MINI Urbanaut should pack the 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.
An Automobilwoche report dated July 31, 2022, 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 Yangwang Premium MPV
BYD’s upcoming premium electric brand, which goes by the name ‘Yangwang’ will target the electric MPV segment, though it first plans to launch a rugged electric SUV. As per a report Sina Finance published on August 25, 2022, and an electric MPV is expected by the first half of 2024.
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 21,316).
The XBUS van was to be available to customers in 2022, but the brand is facing delays, say reports from Germany. German publications such as SHZ.de say that the brand has received 15,000 reservations. Production could commence later this year.
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/GL8 EV
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
General Motors has also confirmed an all-electric Buick GL8 MPV for China. “The Buick GL8 and this one is really, the GL8 in China for Buick has really been a hit for many, many years. So now we electrify that,” said Mark Reuss, President of General Motors, at the 2022 GM Investor Day on November 17, 2022.
It is expected that the GL8 EV will be slotted above the Century – the current flagship of the GL8 range. Moreover, the all-electric GL8 is to employ the latest Ultium-derived platform, battery & powertrain technologies, and won’t be a conversion-type model. General Motors is yet to release any official details regarding the design and features/specifications, but it is likely to carry forward the ‘GL8’ branding to the all-electric model, citing the nameplate’s significance in China. That said, we suspect ‘Electra’ to be a prefix in all future Buick EV models.
Volvo electric MPV
While Audi contemplates releasing an electric MPV in China, Volvo Cars has apparently confirmed plans to launch a people mover in the country. In a year-end performance communication meeting held to announce the 2022 results and reveal future plans, the company announced that a Volvo electric MPV is in the pipeline (via AutoHome). The model will be revealed during the course of the year.
The Volvo electric minivan could be developed on the SEA platform, and many of its components and features could also be derived from the Zeekr 009, as per Chinese media speculation. It could have similar technical specifications, which may mean a CLTC range of over 800 km or nearly 500 miles. However, unlike the Zeekr minivan, it may also come in a more practical seven-seat version.
Initially, Volvo’s electric MPV might be exclusive to the region. In most markets, SUVs are taking over MPVs, but not in China, thanks to the nation’s new three-child policy. Volvo’s mid-decade line-up will see a showroom of 7 EVs.
Featured Image: VW