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Electric Honda kei van to test swappable batteries in collaboration with Japanese delivery company

Honda is will work with Japanese Yamato Transport to trial electric delivery vans with swappable batteries. (Image source: Honda via Nikkei Asia)
Honda is will work with Japanese Yamato Transport to trial electric delivery vans with swappable batteries. (Image source: Honda via Nikkei Asia)
Swappable batteries promise low down-time for commercial delivery companies, effectively extending range where swap stations are available. The MEV-Van concept is based on the compact Honda N-Van e: that debuted earlier this year, and will be trialled by Japanese delivery company Yamato Transport.

Electric vehicles with swappable batteries are not a foreign concept in Asia, with the likes of NIO now able to do battery swaps in under 3 minutes. Even Kawasaki's first foray into the electric motorcycle commuter features swappable batteries. According to Nikkei Asia, Honda is now turning its eye to swappable battery tech with the Honda MEV-Van concept, in collaboration with Yamato Transport.

The companies plan to trial swappable EV batteries in the compact, lightweight Honda N-Van e: that has been converted to use Honda's Mobile Power Pack e modules, which have a capacity of 1.3 kWh. This should allow drivers to swap out batteries between deliveries and cut down on vehicle down-time.

Swappable batteries help overcome some of the challenges with small vehicles, like kei cars and motorcycles. Because of the weight and size constraints of such vehicles, the lithium-ion batteries, which normally occupy most of the underbody of consumer EVs, are far too small to deliver the hundreds of miles of range expected by many consumers.

The standard electric Honda N-Van e: is the perfect example of how these size limitations affect range, since its battery pack only delivers 210 km (130 miles) of range — note that the ICE-powered variant is expected to top out at 63 hp, so it's not like it's sacrificing range for performance.

Honda has not yet stated how much range the battery-swap conversion robs of the MEV-Van, but it's likely substantial, since it moves from a skateboard design to a modular compact battery located in the same floorspace. In images from Carscoops, the MEV-Van appears to use two sets of four battery packs each, giving the MEV-Van a total battery capacity of just over 10 kWh.

Honda will debut the MEV-Van at the Japan Mobility Show 2023, starting on October 28, 2023.

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Preview images of the Honda MEV-Van concept indicate a rather small battery capacity. (Image source: Honda via Carscoops)
Preview images of the Honda MEV-Van concept indicate a rather small battery capacity. (Image source: Honda via Carscoops)
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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 10 > Electric Honda kei van to test swappable batteries in collaboration with Japanese delivery company
Julian van der Merwe, 2023-10-21 (Update: 2023-10-21)