As the advent of electric cars upsets the automotive market, opportunities are being created for upstarts to challenge the giants of yesteryear. Such is the case with Mia Electric, which is building a very practical electric Micro Bus.
Mia Electric is a new electric car manufacturer created when a German-French consortium bought the electric vehicle division of supplier Heuliez. VW designer Murat Gunak joined the new company to help create the Micro Bus. Production begins for this new vehicle in June 2011.
The small vehicle is sized for urban areas and has sliding doors on either side, which can be opened in narrow parking areas. Although it only has an 8kWh lithium ion battery pack, the Micro Bus has a range of 55 miles and only takes 3 hours for a full charge from a 110-volt outlet.
Mia Electric says it will also make a 12kWh battery pack available for the Micro Bus, which should give a third more range. Top speed for the little bus is almost 70 mph, fast enough for most European highway speed limits.
Cabin tech appears limited in the Mia Electric Micro Bus, with a single DIN radio stuck into a slot by the driver's knee. But the vehicle is initially being sold to fleet customers, so electronics are not as important.