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HW Electro’s solar-powered Puzzle: A microvan with charm and sustainability

HW Electro

Japanese electric vehicle manufacturer HW Electro (HWE) has announced that its charmingly boxy Puzzle model is set to debut in the United States in 2025. More akin to a “kei van” than a kei car, this electric vehicle incorporates rooftop solar panels and equipment designed for commercial disaster relief, including a crowbar. However, its appeal extends beyond functionality, targeting those seeking an electric vehicle with maximum charm and minimal environmental impact. The Puzzle marks HWE’s initial foray into the US market.

According to HW Electro CEO Xiao Weicheng, the Puzzle “embodies HWE’s core values of sustainability, connectivity, and social contribution.” The inclusion of solar panels suggests the potential for extended driving range without the need for frequent charging. Noteworthy features include emergency elements like power outlets, photovoltaic panels, built-in WiFi, USB ports, a first aid kit, and even a crowbar—all conveniently located on the vehicle’s exterior.

Initially unveiled at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, the Puzzle micro-van generated excitement before its recent tease about its availability in the US in 2025, presented in New York. Weicheng envisions the Puzzle as heralding the commencement of a new era.

HW Electro Puzzle

A snapshot captures the HW Electro Puzzle gracefully navigating a sparsely populated street, surrounded by trees and city buildings. Presently in the conceptual stage, this electric vehicle features a compact two-person cabin, presenting a stark contrast to the oversized EVs that have become increasingly familiar to Americans. Aligned with Japan’s regulatory definition of a kei car, the Puzzle is designed for maneuvering through tight or crowded roads and fitting into confined parking spaces. The vehicle stands on 15-inch wheels, towering over six feet in height, spanning nearly five feet in width, and measuring over 11 feet in length. With a cargo capacity of 770 lbs, sliding rear doors facilitate effortless cargo management. The sole passenger seat is collapsible, enhancing hauling capacity and doubling as a functional work surface when not in use.

Despite being in the concept phase, HWE has not disclosed the Puzzle’s pricing or maximum speed. Auto Evolution has reported that the lithium iron phosphate battery is expected to provide a range of 125 miles.

As the Puzzle anticipates its 2025 arrival in the American EV market, uncertainties persist about the landscape it will encounter. Although EV sales are on the rise, consumer demand has not met industry projections, introducing an element of unpredictability as the world grapples with averting the most dire consequences of climate change.

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