There are more than a few covetable things hanging out over in the European Union; prosciutto di Parma, Fernando Alonso, Vespa HQ… We can safely add the mia Microbus to the list. This silent, zero-emissions EV is the first purely electric serial production vehicle on the EU market, and it’s actually
adorable affordable! The standard model starts at €19,500 ($28,000, including VAT and battery). Compare this to the Mitsubishi iMiEV, or the rising prices of the Nissan LEAF, and you’ll see…
German company Mia Electric GmbH worked closely with French firm Heuliez to create and manufacture a compact, environmentally-friendly EV suitable for tight city streets. The end result was developed by former VW chief designer Murat Günak to be practical, simple and accessible. The van includes an electric motor with an 8kWh battery in three different trims: mia, mia L, and mia box van. The battery takes 3 hours to charge on 230v; the company asserts that a driver can perform a quick, partial charge in the event of an emergency and the mia battery would not suffer from memory effect. A ten minute charge would net around 5 miles.
The vans are no more than 10.5 feet in length (shorter than Fiat’s 500 C, even), and barely 1.64 m. (5.4 ft) wide. They are all 1.55 m (5.1 ft) high. The driver’s seat is placed in the center, Formula 1 style, in an effort to provide improved visibility. The driver has the option of exiting and entering from either side of the van through two sliding doors; perfect for the confined spaces between buildings and in urban traffic. The interior is sparse designed to allow for passengers to stretch their feet out and relax as much as they can in the tiny van.
Watch the mia in action, and note the scale:
The company takes its dedication to sustainability and zero-emissions very seriously. For each mia model sold, mia electric “arranges for the provision of new power-generating capacities, which correspond to the annual average power consumption of the electric cars, in wind farms or solar power plants.” No, really. Mr. Gunak wants to change the face of urban transportation in a gentle manner. He may just yet.
The cars went into production in Cerizay, France in June of this year. It is first being sold only to fleet operators; private customers may begin ordering in 2012, when production hits 10,000 units. Our European readers might spot a mia at the 64th International Motorshow in Frankfurt am Main in September, or hopefully on the road! Click here to read much, much more about mia electric Microbus.