Japan’s Most Popular Electric Vehicle is the Nissan Sakura

January 6th, 2024 by

Nissan of Fort Pierce 2023 Nissan Sakura

Photo Source: NISSAN

Japanese automakers and car buyers have earned a reputation for being slow to embrace the shift to electric vehicles, but an unlikely domestic winner provides a hint of how electric vehicles can evolve to suit different markets. Introduced in the 2022 model year, Nissan’s Sakura–jointly developed with Mitsubishi Motors, which sells it as the eK X–is the best-selling electric vehicle in Japan in 2023. The model accounts for approximately half of all electric vehicle sales in the country, with 35,099 units sold this year (2023). The vehicle also sells for roughly $15,400 MSRP (Plus destination fee), making it an affordable option for various Japanese shoppers who cannot afford a Leaf or an Ariya.  

“Light” Driving

A “kei” electric vehicle suits Japanese people’s everyday needs and road conditions. The dimensions of the small, boxy electric vehicles put them squarely in a class of minicars known as kei–which means “light” in Japanese–making them ideal for navigating the country’s narrow roads. With better fuel economy and lower taxes, they are popular among families and workers living outside major cities, where public transportation is sparse.

With an electric motor providing greater acceleration and speeds surpassing other minicars, the Sakura delivers a peppy driving experience that is more like a regular-sized car. Even though the battery offers a more limited range of only 112 miles on the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Cycle (WLTC), “the Sakura is an urban vehicle for most buyers, for short trips in a country with an excellent train and transit system.”

Indeed, by United States’ standards, the Sakura is a tiny vehicle. Then again, readers must keep in mind that this car is, thus far, exclusive to Japan. That said, despite being small, Nissan included the vehicle-to-load (V2L) functionality in this car. That is to say, if the power goes out, it can help the average household keep the lights on for approximately a full day. Additionally, the average Japanese car owner drives around 2,485 miles in a year. Therefore, the Sakura automobile’s 112-mile range is not something that truly matters to the targeted buyers.

The Sakura and eK X are leading the way in an otherwise still subdued electric vehicle market. The minicar’s price, which includes government subsidies, makes it an electric vehicle accessible to all. Moreover, a reduction in the number of gas stations in rural areas and suburbs is also contributing to the spread of electric vehicles, because they can easily be charged at home.

Utilitarian Cabin

One positive characteristic of electric vehicles is that cabin space can be maximized relatively swiftly. Regarding the Sakura, the wheel arches and short overhangs immediately make consumers think about conventional skateboard platforms most automakers depend on today. This solution allows the manufacturer to increase the distance between the wheels, which, in turn, makes the interior roomier. Another practical element about the Sakura is how the brand made every effort to provide it with the best balance by positioning the wheels as outward as possible. Combine that with the battery inserted in the floor, and owners will not have any issues with strong winds or spirited driving.

Nissan knows its home market, but it is also familiar with international buyers. If you would like to see what the company can provide, please come visit Nissan of Fort Pierce. Are you in need of a refresh on your vehicle to bring it back to life? Our amazing service team can handle that with ease by scheduling an online service appointment with our service center. Please sit back and relax as our professional technicians take care of your vehicle.