The MPV segment of the electric car industry may not see as much excitement as the electric SUV segment. However, at least seven electric MPV or electric van models are awaiting a launch in the UK from brands not new in the EV market in the foreseeable future.
Maxus MIFA 9 Electric MPV
SAIC Motor unveiled the production-ready Maxus MIFA 9 at the Guangzhou Auto Show 2021. On May 24, 2022, SAIC Motor confirmed through a press release that MIFA 9 pre-orders in the UK will start from August 2022, while deliveries begin in Q1 2023. Parent company SAIC started producing the luxury MPV at the Lighthouse factory in Nanjing, China, in November 2021.
The all-electric MPV looks fairly elegant due to its high-set bonnet, while it also misses out on a large radiator grille. As the bonnet isn’t angled downwards, it appears even more dominating. It also has chunky aero-optimized wheels and full-width LED taillamps. The SAIC Motor UK website has revealed the dimensions of the Maxus MIFA 9 on its website. The MPV measures 5,270 mm in length, 2,000 mm in width and 1,840 mm in height. It has a wheelbase of 3,200 mm, which can be termed adequate.
The cabin of the UK-spec MIFA 9 gets several premium features. The all-new electric van is now available with seven- or eight-seat configurations and features three large screens on the dashboard as well as a tiny animated virtual assistant on the right side. The second-row features captain chairs in the six-seater model, and all seats are electronically adjustable – even the third-row seats get individual armrests. Furthermore, the seats boast ventilation, heating and massage features. The Maxus MIFA 9 can be availed in three trim levels.
As per SAIC Motor, MIFA stands for Maximum, Intelligent, Friendly and Artistic. Some of the notable features in the British version of the MPV include an Auto rear liftgate, bilateral electric sliding door, electric power-assisted hydraulic braking, electric power steering, electronic parking brake, front and rear radar, device charging and intelligent headlight control.
The MIFA 9 electric MPV is based on a new platform called the Maxus Intelligent Flexible Architecture (MIFA). It comes with a 93 kWh li-ion battery with a CLTC range of 520 km (323 miles) with a single motor delivering 180 kW (245 PS) and 350 Nm of torque, with a longer-range model of 650 km (404 miles) due in 2023.
On May 10, 2021, Mercedes EQT broke cover in concept form. Starting this year, it will be made alongside the Renault Kangoo, Nissan Townstar, and the Mercedes T-Class at the Renault plant in Maubeuge, France. The company has confirmed that it will present the Mercedes EQT in 5- and 7-seat versions. The former will be launched this year, while the latter will go on sale in 2023 in the British market.
The production electric MPV is expected to get a black panel front with LED headlights, 21-inch light-alloy wheels, panoramic roof, LED rear lamps and an electric longboard in the rear. Dimensionally, the electric MPV could be around 4,945 mm, 1,863 mm and 1,826 mm in length, width and height, respectively. It will feature sliding doors on both sides for easier ingress and egress.
The interior of Mercedes EQT is finished in dual-tone black and white upholstery. On the other hand, the seats are offered in white Nappa leather. There is a semi-closed stowage compartment above the instrument cluster for easy access to important utensils or documents.
Mercedes Benz has officially confirmed a few features of the electric MPV in the form of air vents in the high-gloss black, multifunction steering wheel with touch-control buttons, and ambient lighting on the centre console, doors and in the foot well. Furthermore, the free-standing MBUX touchscreen infotainment system with the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant, Live Traffic Information and over-the-air updates will also be a part of standard features when it launches in production-ready form later this year.
Sharing its platform with the Renault Kangoo Z.E. electric MPV, the EQT is expected with a 45-kWh battery that provides a range of 300 km (186 miles) in the WLTP cycle. A front-mounted motor developing 90 kW (122 PS/121 hp) of power and 245 Nm of torque could be the mainstay of the European electric MPV.
Hyundai Staria FCEV
At the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021), the Hyundai Staria FCEV was announced for a market launch in the second half of next year. While the company confirmed no plan for an electric Staria, engineers will equip the MPV with the third-generation fuel cell system revealed in October 2021.
The Staria FCEV is expected to get the 100 kW (two versions of the fuel cell system, 100 kW and 200 kW, the latter for commercial trucks mainly, are in the pipeline) system, which is 30 per cent smaller than the Nexo’s fuel cell architecture and leads to improved vehicle packaging. The Hyundai Staria FCEV’s availability will be exclusive to countries that have hydrogen refuelling stations, though.
Voyah Dreamer MPV
The Voyah Dreamer is a premium electric MPV available in four- and seven-seat configurations. Having launched the ‘Free’ SUV in Norway, the Chinese brand is expected to gradually expand to other European markets.
The Dreamer had its world premiere at the 2021 Guangzhou Auto Show (19-28 Nov 2021). Being an all-electric MPV, it is the second product of the China-based Dongfeng Group’s high-end EV brand Voyah. Available in four-seat and seven-seat layouts, the Dreamer is based on Dongfeng’s ESSA (Electric, Smart & Secure Architecture) platform.
To start with dimensions, Voyah Dreamer measures 5,315 mm in length, 1,980 mm in width, and 1,810 mm in height while having a wheelbase of 3,200 mm. The cabin is lavished in perforated leather upholstery. It is equipped with a myriad of premium features in the form of an all-digital instrument cluster, massive touchscreen infotainment system, 12-way adjustable front seats, 8-way power operated middle row seats with massage function, recline feature, and electric leg rests, fold-out tray tables, Xiaomi TV and a Level 2+ autonomous driving system with 5G connectivity.
The Voyah Dreamer has an electric motor mounted on the front and rear axles that churn out a total of 430 bhp and 620 Nm. The electric MPV touches the 100kmph mark from standstill in merely 5.9 seconds. The Dreamer electric van production started in Wuhan in April 2022. The company has not announced if it will enter the UK market. The prices of the seven-seat version range from CNY 369,900-439,900 (GBP 46,304-55,066/USD 54,744-65,103), while the prices of the four-seat customized version start at CNY 639,900 (GBP 80,103/USD 94,703) in the Chinese market.
VW ID. Buzz
Following Europe, the all-electric VW ID. Buzz was launched in the British market on July 13, 2022. The buyers can now pre-order the all-electric people mover while it is presented in three trim levels: Life, Style and 1st Edition. In the UK, the VW ID. Buzz has been priced in a range of GBP 57,115-62,995, including the VAT and OTR. The customers who placed a deposit during the pre-booking window in June will have a priority spot in the order book and will be invited to spec their car.
Based on the MEB platform, all three variants of the VW ID. Buzz uses a 77-kWh Lithium-ion battery pack along with a rear-mounted electric motor which develops maximum power of 201 bhp and peak torque of 310 Nm. The driving range is pegged at 258 miles on a single charge. At a DC quick-charging station, the battery can be charged from 5-80% in just 30 minutes with a maximum charging power of up to 170 kW.
The ID. Buzz is the perfect vehicle for those who want to stay connected. With its digital cockpit and up to eight USB interfaces, including three USB-C ports for rapid charging, the ID. Buzz is prepared for the future. Hello ID. voice control and online functionality via We Connect and We Connect Plus make this car perfect for keeping you connected while on the go.
Some of the standard features in the electric MPV include LED headlamps, heated windscreen, Buzz box removable storage, Discover Pro navigation and 10-inch color touchscreen infotainment system, and wireless charging. The mid-trim Style gets many more premium features in the form of ‘IQ. Light’ LED matrix headlights, adaptive interior ambient lighting and tailgate surround lighting. Last but not least, the 1st Edition flagship variant is equipped with numerous advanced features such as 21-inch ‘Bromberg’ alloy wheels, Discover Max navigation system with a 12-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system and comfort seats with memory function.
Next-gen Mercedes EQV
The current Mercedes EQV is a battery-electric conversion of the W477 Mercedes-Benz V-Class. Its successor, however, will no longer use existing Mercedes-Benz van platforms. Instead, the next generation EQV will be based on Daimler’s VAN.EA electric light commercial vehicle platform.
Specifications are not available, but Mercedes-Benz will undoubtedly improve on what is currently offered. Thanks to the chassis optimisation and space-saving traits of dedicated EV platforms, the brand will be able to rope in a larger and more efficient battery pack and more powerful electric motors as well. The 90 kWh battery might be replaced with a larger unit, while the WLTP range may increase from 357 km to around 500 km. It is expected to arrive by 2025 in the UK with pricing in the region of GBP 60,000.
Morris Commercial JE-based passenger van
The Morris Commercial JE is a pure electric van inspired by the 1950 Morris J-Type. A Facebook post by the company dated January 28, 2022, says that the order book will open shortly in the UK. Headline figures include 200 miles of range, 1-tonne payload capacity, 6 cubic metres of cargo space, and 0-80% charging time of just 30 minutes, as announced in 2019. It will also get a carbon fibre construction it’s expected to be exported to global markets after the UK launch. Morris Commercial has confirmed that a passenger variant of the van is in the pipeline.