This charming electrical kei van has plans to come back stateside

This charming electric kei van has plans to come stateside


A brand new firm out of Japan referred to as HW Electro needs to be the primary producer of electrical autos within the nation’s hotly contested business kei automobile phase. Its first idea, the Puzzle, is a battery-electric van that conforms to Japan’s strict kei automobile specs. Not like most different kei automobile makers, nevertheless, HW Electro hopes to carry the Puzzle to North America.

The van debuted on the Japan Mobility Present in October, then got here to New York for a publicity shoot. The corporate is making it explicitly clear that it has plans for U.S. gross sales, even spending a while driving round NY city streets as a part of a promotional video.

Apart from a pleasant robotic face there are few design prospers. Like many kei automobiles, the Puzzle maximizes inside area by using fully flat sides. It places them to good use as effectively, because the roof doubles as a big photo voltaic panel. Many of the easy exterior panels are swappable for various colour combos, probably totally different supplies, and for ease of restore. That, and the truth that the inside has pegboard-like holes for modular configurability, are the place the Puzzle will get its identify from.

HW Electro intends to deploy the Puzzle into catastrophe zones the place infrastructure is likely to be incapacitated. The vertical panels beneath the A-pillar cover a number of 100v AC and USB retailers, in addition to a charging port and first-aid kits. A big crowbar resides in a rear storage compartment. 

Few particulars got, however Auto Evolution stories a lithium iron phosphate battery that gives a 125-mile vary. Conforming to kei automobile spec, the Puzzle measures  not more than 134 inches lengthy, 58.3 inches broad, and 78.7 inches excessive. That is nearly two ft shorter than a first-gen Scion xB.

The Puzzle prototype presently solely has two seats. One hiccup that HW Electro could encounter is the decades-old hen tax that imposes a 25% tariff on gentle business vans. Automobiles just like the Ford Transit Join circumvented the foundations by putting in simply detachable seats to the cargo space, thus classifying it as a passenger car. It is also the rationale why Toyota, Nissan, and different Japanese truckmakers have constructed factories within the U.S. To reach the states, HW Electro could need to make use of one among these methods, however in any other case it appears like a well-designed and purposeful little runabout. 


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