Japanese car makers Nissan and Mitsubishi may already have their own electric models on sale, but they are set to work together to develop a new small and affordable battery powered vehicle.
The companies are aiming to make the cheapest electric car yet, which should be released sometime in 2016. This new model is likely to be based on a small city car.
Reports suggest that the most likely basis for the new electric model is the jointly developed Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK-Wagon city car.
The Dayz and eK-Wagon have been developed to fit into Japanese Kei car rules, which offer tax breaks for particularly small cars. However, should the cars prove a success, it is possible they will be rolled out to other markets around the world.
This new model is likely to be around 40 per cent cheaper than the Mitsubishi i-MiEV when it goes on sale, which should make it competitively priced against petrol-fuelled rivals.
The Japanese companies have seen differing levels of success with their current models; Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV was launched in 2009 but only 30,000 models had been sold up until the end of 2013. Following slowing sales in the face of new electric rivals, Mitsubishi cut i-MiEV prices. However, the much newer Outlander plug-in hybrid is selling well.
In contrast Nissan’s Leaf has proven popular since its launch in 2010, with global sales of over 124,000 units by the end of 2013. The companies are expected to jointly develop key components including the battery pack for the new model.