Nissan’s tiny electric Sakura is blowing Tesla out of the water with its shockingly low cost.
According to Business Insider, at just 11 feet long, the Sakura is the best-selling electric vehicle in Japan. Around half of the EVs sold in the country in 2023 were Sakuras. The car has a range of about 110 miles and can go as fast as 80 miles per hour.
Developed as a collaboration between Nissan and Mitsubishi, the Sakura also won the country’s car of the year in 2022.
Japan has not adopted EVs quite as quickly as other countries, as they, along with hybrids, made up just 2% of all vehicles sold in the country in 2022.
However, electric Kei vehicles — the smallest street-legal passenger cars, vans, and trucks that you can buy in Japan — are steadily gaining popularity, as tiny pickup trucks like the Daihatsu Hijet and the Suzuki Carry are affordable alternatives to larger vehicles, which some models costing as little as $5,000.
These types of vehicles are also picking up steam in the United States for their efficiency and affordability and have proven useful in settings like ranches and delivery services.
U.S. companies are trying to adapt to the Kei truck craze, with Telo, an EV startup company, planning a pickup truck the size of a Mini Cooper earlier in 2023. With a $50,000 price tag, however, it seems unlikely that that particular vehicle will disrupt its Japanese competitors at over 10 times the cost.
Additionally, Tesla has cut the prices of both the Model 3 and the Y in Japan in order to compete with the country’s growing electric industry.
Nissan also recently announced its revamped luxury EV, the Infiniti QX Inspiration. The news comes in tandem with the company’s phasing out of its popular electric Leaf model. The company also committed to making all of its new vehicles in Europe electric by 2030.
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