The former electric vehicles division of French coachbuilder Automobiles Heuliez is set to ramp up production and exports of its mia electric Microbus.
The company, which states that it began production of three derivatives of the vehicle in June, is to target the UK market from early 2012. The Microbus is to be priced at £22,000, which includes the £5,000 government incentive for electric vehicles. As the vehicle features a central driving position, it will not need to be modified for RHD.
Mia electric, which was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010, emerged from the acquisition of Heuliez, the French coachbuilder. The company is owned by a Franco-German partnership in which the German parent company, mia electric GmbH, has a majority shareholding of 52.7%.
The principal shareholder of mia electric GmbH is Edwin Kohl, founder and owner of the pharmaceuticals group, Kohl Group. He is partnered in mia GmbH by the co-founder, co-owner and director of the energy service provider ConEnergy, Roman Dudenhausen. Edwin Kohl also has a personal stake of 36% of the company through his direct investment into mia’s production company, mia SAS. The French region of Poitou-Charentes holds the remaining 11.3% of the company.
The Microbus was designed by the former head of design at Volkswagen, Murat Günak, and comes in three configurations: standard wheelbase mia, extended wheelbase mia L and extended wheelbase mia box van.
All variants of the Microbus are powered by an 18kW electric motor, while the vehicle’s top speed is said to be 68mph (110km/h). As for the range, this is claimed to be between 120 and 130km. The 12kWh lithium iron phosphate batteries can be fully charged in five hours, according to mia.
The company aims to build a combined 4,000 units of the model range by the end of 2011 and says it should have an annual production capacity of 14,000 vehicles by the end of 2012.