Posts Tagged ‘every’

Suzuki Every Van EV Trials Start

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, July 14th, 2011

It is easy sometimes to forget about manufacturers like Suzuki. They don’t seem to be in the big league (like Toyota), nor do they have a charismatic CEO (like Mr. Ghosn of Nissan). Having said that, these “minnows” can sometimes surprise. After all, Mitsubishi came out of nowhere with their i-MiEV, and here comes Suzuki with an electric version of their kei (mini) van, the Every. Suzuki may not be a big player outside of Japan. but in its home market, it is frequently numero uno due to sales of minicars called kei cars.

While vans like the Every may seem rather quaint to western, and especially North American, eyes, these smaller vans are actually a stalwart of Japanese business and agricultural users. In ICE form, their small engines make them very fuel efficient, and their size means they can navigate country roads and tight city streets with equal ease.

Since Mitsubishi launched their Minicab-MiEV earlier this year, it did not take too much imagination from Suzuki to realize that they needed to make sure they were in the electric vehicle game also. Suzuki has created 13 of these EV Every vans which will be leant out to Suzuki dealerships around Japan, starting with those closest to Suzuki’s home in Hamamatsu, central Japan. This will allow Suzuki to gather real-world driving data for their next-generation vehicles.

Suzuki EV Every electric kei van next to Suzuki Swift Range Extender

EV Every recharging (right)  with Swift Range Extender (left)

The EV Every test vehicles are fitted with high-capacity compact Lithium Ion batteries which can be fully charged in 5 hours using a 200V outlet, giving the EV Every a maximum range of 100 kilometers. Although this may not sound like a lot, as I mentioned in an earlier post about the Minicab-iMiEV, this is more than enough for the typical delivery vehicle in Japan as it jets from street to street. The weight has increased 200KG over the base ICE model, but the cargo capacity remains the same at 250KG. There is no indication as to how the range might be affected if run with a full cargo. Presumably, this would be one thing they will want to investigate with this real world drive testing.

Although the EV Every is not slated for production, the data gleaned from these vehicles is likely to prove useful when Suzuki opens their Next Generation Environmental Vehicle technology development center in August 2016. To be honest, I hope they plan on moving forward before then, otherwise early starters like Mitsubishi and Nissan are likely to be too far ahead to catch by then.

Source: Chunichi Shinbun (Japanese-language)

VW Microbus Concept “Bulli” and VW Van-Style Suzuki Every Vans

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

VW is revealing a new concept for a modern version of its eponymous Microbus at Geneva. The concept (shown below) is an electric vehicle with a 300km range and can hit 100kmh in 11.5 seconds. Apparently, Volkswagen is going to be putting a similar car into production, but it is not clear if it will be all electric, like this concept, or whether it will have one of VW’s frugal petrol or diesel 1 to 1.4 liter engines.

VW Bulli Microbus concept at Geneva Motorshow 2011

I think they would do well to get the styling a bit closer to the original just for the simple reason that it is such an iconic shape. The other thing that I think could do with some work would be the name – “Bulli”. Autocar says that this is the name that the original “Transporter” was given in some markets when it was launched in the 1950s. I am guessing that a German product called a “Bulli” would not have enjoyed a lot of popularity just after the Second World War, so I suspect they changed it to something a little more sanitized for the English-speaking world at this point. The War is a couple of generations ago now, but hopefully some focus groups will be able to help VW pick something a little more friendly.

Ever since the New Beetle and “BMW” Mini came along in the late 90s, I have wondered why VW did not do a similar job with their own Microbus. After all, if there is any car class that is crying out for a bit of style, it is the minivan segment. So it is not surprising to me that they have finally come around to it.

Not that VW’s slowness has stopped Japanese companies customizing kei (light) vans in Japan to look like the classic Volkswagen. They tend to be based on Suzuki Every vans from the early 2000s, like this one below coming up at auction in Japan on March 5th, 2011:

VW Microbus-style Suzuki Every Van

VW Microbus-style Suzuki Every Van

If you are interested in VW Microbus lookalike vans like this one above, send us an email here.