There are at least nine electric MPV and electric minivan models lined up for launch in the next couple of years, and here is what we know about them.
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 from anywhere 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). The company has said on its social media page that it will begin accepting deposits in the coming months, with customer deliveries planned at the end of the year.
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 built 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. Voyah has not announced any details about the Dreamer’s battery but has said the MPV will do 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 5.9 seconds.
The Voyah Dreamer features a fully digital instrument cluster, a large touch-operated central display, and a large touch-operated passenger display ahead of the front seats. For the rear-seat occupants, it includes features like reclining rear seats with wing-type headrests and large leg rests, perforated leather upholstery, fold-out tray tables, and Xiaomi TV.
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. Sales will start in China in May, with a simultaneous launch in EU markets like Norway and the UK.
The MIFA 9 electric MPV features a 90 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 650 km (404 miles) model due in 2023. Maxus will offer six and seven-seat versions of the MIFA 9 with prices ranging from CNY 269,990 (EUR 37,473) to CNY 379,900 (EUR 52,728).
The Zeekr 002, the second model for Geely Auto’s premium EV brand, is expected to be an electric MPV. 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 families require a spacious vehicle to haul weekend luggage and even accommodate child seats.
Zeekr plans to launch a new EV every year, and in 2023, it will start exporting cars to Europe. This will be key for Zeekr, which wants to sell 650,000 units annually by 2025. New 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 Zeekr 002 in the coming months.
With an expected 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.
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 that have a good network of hydrogen refueling stations.
VW’s first autonomous vehicle, the VW ID.Buzz, will be unveiled on March 9, 2022, with deliveries set to begin in the second half of the year. Based on the MEB-XL platform (stretched version of the MEB platform), the ID.Buzz should see variants with a range up to 350 miles (560 km) thanks to battery sizes up to 111 kWh and an optional solar roof which should help in its efficiency. The upcoming electric MPV will see single and dual motor configurations with acceleration figures to 100 km/h (62 mph) ducking under the 9 second mark.
In a press release on November 3, 2021, talking about its future strategy, Mini said it was working on a “new vehicle concept” with many creative solutions inspired by the Mini Vision Urbanaut. 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 some reports speculate Mini has not yet decided a 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 in the first half of 2022, and an electric MPV could be expected in 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 perfectly suited for European streets. And it’s light, too, weighing under 600 kg (net). It can carry up to 3 people and 1,000 kg of payload. A 56 kW motor drives the wheels and provides a top speed of 100 km/h.
The basic package which includes 8 battery modules (1.25 kWh each) 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 XBUS will be available in eight versions, including Bus, Tipper, CargoBox, Pick Up!, Open!, Camper, and more. There’ll be two chassis options: XBUS City and XBUS Offroad. ElectricBrands will manufacture the EV in Itzehoe, Germany, from mid-2022. Prices will start at under EUR 20,000.
Featured Image – VW