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Japan’s Honda to start selling micro-sized electric vans in October

By Thomson Reuters Jun 12, 2024 | 9:05 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) – Honda Motor will start selling a micro-sized electric van targeted at Japan’s delivery industry in October, the Japanese automaker said on Thursday, joining an increasingly crowded part of the market.

The small electric commercial van will have a cruising range of 245 km (152 miles), the company said in a statement. It will be classed as a “kei” vehicle, which are low-powered, low-taxed domestic vehicles.

The launch of the new model comes as Japan’s second-biggest automaker by volume separately plans to start selling an electric kei passenger car next year.

Honda is a powerhouse in Japan’s substantial market of kei micro-sized cars. Its N-Box model has long topped the ranks of Japan’s kei passenger vehicle market.

Micro kei vehicles are hugely popular among businesses and households to deliver agriculture produce, parcels and other goods in urban areas and the countryside in Japan, in part due to their relatively cheap price.

The roll-out comes months after Toyota Motor delayed the launch of a small electric van that it is developing with Suzuki Motor and Daihatsu, following a safety test scandal at Daihatsu.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp in December 2023 relaunched its own small commercial van, Minicab EV.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Jamie Freed)