Forget Tesla – this $13,000 tiny car is Japan’s best-selling EV – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Forget Tesla – this $13,000 tiny car is Japan’s best-selling EV

The $13,000 Sakura has quickly become one of Japan’s most popular cars.

SOPA Images/Getty Images

The 11-foot-long Nissan Sakura is Japan’s best-selling electric vehicle, per Bloomberg.The $13,000 “Kei car” has left rivals such as Tesla in the dust.Mini “Kei trucks” are taking off in the US, with some being sold for as little as $5,000.

Tesla may dominate the global EV market — but for drivers in Japan, a $13,000 tiny car is proving a better investment.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the Sakura — a $13,000 minicar developed jointly by Nissan and Mitsubishi — is the best-selling electric car in Japan this year, accounting for around half of all EVs sold in the country so far this year. The cost of the vehicle includes government subsidies, per Bloomberg.

The Sakura launched last year and has quickly become a phenomenon in its home country, winning Japan’s car of the year in 2022. The 11-foot-long car has a range of 180 kilometers on a single charge and can get up to speeds of 130 kilometers per hour.

The cozy interior of the Nissan Sakura.

SOPA Images/Getty Images

With 35,099 vehicles sold this year, the Sakura has far outperformed its rivals — including Tesla. The Elon Musk-owned automaker may dominate the EV market in the West, but in Japan, its larger passenger cars lag behind smaller electric vehicles, which as known as “Kei cars.”

It makes for a more challenging market for Tesla, which slashed prices of its Model 3 and Y electric cars in Japan earlier this year. The Warren Buffet-backed Chinese EV giant BYD, which is closing in on Tesla globally, also started selling its cars in Japan in January.

Kei cars are extremely popular in Japan, especially in rural areas with little public transport. Their cousins, Kei trucks, have become increasingly in demand in the US in recent years.

Kei trucks such as the Daihatsu Hijet have become increasingly popular in the US.

TORU YAMANAKA/Getty Images

These 11-foot long pick-up trucks such as the Suzuki Carry and the Daihatsu Hijet can cost as little as $5,000 and are very economical to run — although vehicles under 25 years old are subject to tight restrictions in the US.

Despite this, they have become popular in parts of rural America, with the diminutive Japanese vehicles being used on ranches, as delivery vehicles, and even as beekeeper wagons.

EV startup Telo’s first electric truck.

Telo

The craze for Kei trucks has inspired some US manufacturers to begin selling their own tiny vehicles, with EV startup Telo announcing a $50,000 mini cooper-sized pickup earlier this year.

The Sakura’s popularity comes as Japan’s famed car industry lags behind in the global shift to electric vehicles, with battery-powered electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids accounting for just 2% of vehicles sold in 2022.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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