The $15,000 EV Is Here and It’s Cute. But Only in Japan for Now

Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. unveiled two new electric mini vehicles, betting that consumers will embrace their battery-powered take on a well-loved class of the tiny, affordable Japanese.

Marking a key push into an less-served part of the EV market that could help spur wider adoption, the chiefs of the two carmakers took the wraps off Nissan’s “Sakura” and Mitsubishi’s “eK X EV” on Friday. The two small, boxy EVs are set to go on sale in Japan this summer at a starting price of less than $15,000.

Small and affordable “kei” mini vehicles are a popular means of transportation in Japan, especially among workers and families living outside of major cities where roads are narrow and public transport networks are sparse. In 2020 they made up more than a third of new passenger car registrations in Japan.