Japanese automakers develop electric van to compete in EV market

Toyota is showing its commitment to electric vehicle development by partnering with its Japanese rivals, Suzuki Motor Corp. and Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. 

The three Japanese automakers plan to develop battery electric mini-commercial vans. The Street predicts the Japanese electric van would compete against the Ford E-Transit, GM BrightDrop, Volkswagen’s ID.Buzz, and Tesla’s future commercial/passenger van.

Toyota and its partners Suzuki and Daihatsu plan to unveil the prototype of a battery-electric mini-commercial van at an exhibition event organized by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and the G7 Hiroshima Summit. The exhibition will run from Thursday, May 18, to Sunday, May 21

Suzuki and Daihatsu contributed their knowledge in designing small cars to develop the electric mini-commercial van. The battery electric van also uses Toyota’s electrification technology. 

The three Asian companies plan to release their own versions of the electric van. However, Daihatsu will produce the vehicles. Daihatsu’s version will be the vehicles unveiled at the exhibition. 


At Tesla’s 2023 Annual Shareholders Meeting, Elon Musk stated that the company is developing two next-generation vehicles. The first is expected to be the long-anticipated $25,000 compact vehicle. The second might be a commercial/passenger van. 

“I just want to emphasize that we are actually building a new product… There are two new products that I think you will be very exciting about. And both the designs of the products and the manufacturing techniques are head and shoulders above anything that is present in the industry,” said Musk.

In its Master Plan Part 3, Tesla listed a potential commercial/passenger van with a 100 kWh battery pack with a high-nickel cathode. 

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