Nissan and Mitsubishi have announced their first all-electric production passenger kei cars in Japan as part of a joint venture. 

Both the Nissan Sakura and the Mitsubishi eK X EV, were co-developed by the two automakers are built at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima Plant in western Japan by the NKMV kei car joint project. The Nissan Sakura was previewed at the 2019 Tokyo Auto show and shares ideas of its design with the Ariya electric SUV, including the closed-off grille with a shield look for a high-tech feel.  

The Mitsubishi eK X EV was previewed earlier this year with the K-EV Concept X-Style and shares a substantial number of similarities. These include the rugged X-shaped front end look and prominent side fascia lighting that resembles the redesigned Mitsubishi Outlander SUV.  

The two cars are pretty much identical; however, they do feature differing front and rear end designs as well as different dashboards. From a mechanical viewpoint the battery powered cars do not differ very much at all. They both share a dedicated EV platform and feature the same motor, battery, and range specifications. 

The minicars are powered by a 20kWh lithium-ion battery that feeds energy into a front-mounted electric motor that makes 47 kW and 144lb-ft of torque. The range is estimated to be up to 111 miles based on WLTC cycle. While this may not sound like much Nissan have said the Sakura is “perfect for daily use” especially in Japan’s major cities.  

Both vehicles are very similarly priced, with the Nissan Sakura beginning at $18,21o and the Mitsubishi eK X EV at $18720. 

Japan’s kei car market makes up around 40% of light-vehicle sales in the country, but EV’s are vastly underrepresented, accounting for just 1.7% of total Japanese passenger car sales. The only other electric passenger car available in Japan is the Toyota C+pod two-seater.