An electric mini-vehicle jointly developed by Nissan (Sakura) and Mitsubishi (eK X) has won the 2022-2023 Japan Car of the Year (JCOTY) award. This was the first time for a mini vehicle to be named the car of the year in Japan.
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The duo went on sales in Japan in June 2022 beat all other models released in the Japanese market between November 2021 and October 2022. The winner was determined by the selection committee, mainly comprising auto journalists.
Nissan won the award for the second consecutive year, with its Note electric motor-driven subcompact clinching last year’s title. Meanwhile, it was the first time in 26 years for Mitsubishi to claim the trophy, whereas it was 6th JCOTY title for Nissan. According to the JCOTY committee:
“With the Sakura and eK X electric kei cars, the hurdles of EV ownership at a realistic price have been lowered, increasing the adoption of battery EVs in Japan. In terms of driving performance, the handling and performance surpassed conventional kei cars. Both the kei cars are also equipped with advanced driver assistance systems, with driving support functions comparable to luxury cars.”
The Sakura and eK X are driven by a front-mounted electric motor that comes powered by a 20 kWh, 350-volt lithium-ion battery. Output is rated at 64 hp and 195 Nm of torque with a top speed of 130 km/h. On a full charge, both cars can run for up to 180 km based on the WLTC standard. With a 30 kW DC charger, it takes up to 40 minutes to charge them up to 80% state of charge (SoC).
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The battery can also be used as a mobile power source during emergency situations to provide a day’s worth of electricity to an average Japanese household. Winners of the other categories are as follows:
- Import Car of the Year – Hyundai Ioniq 5
- Design Car of the Year – BMW iX
- Performance Car of the Year – Honda Civic Type R, Civic e:HEV
- Technology Car of the Year – Nissan X-Trail
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com