HW Electro’s solar-powered Puzzle will bring microvan cuteness to the US in 2025

Japanese EV automaker HW Electro (HWE) says its delightfully boxy Puzzle will come to the US in 2025. More “kei van” than kei car, the electric vehicle has rooftop solar panels and equipment for commercial disaster relief (including a crowbar!). But it could be equally appealing for those wanting an EV with maxed-out charm and a minimal environmental footprint. It’s on track to be HWE’s first vehicle available in the US market.

HW Electro CEO Xiao Weicheng said that the Puzzle “embodies HWE’s core values of sustainability, connectivity and social contribution.” Its solar panels mean owners could perhaps drive it for much longer than typical EVs without plugging in. It also includes emergency features like power outlets, photovoltaic panels, built-in WiFi, USB ports, a first aid kit and a crowbar. Notably, these features are all on the vehicle’s exterior.

As reported by The Independent and Electrek, HWE unveiled the Puzzle micro-van at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show before teasing 2025 US availability this week in New York. “With Puzzle, a new world begins,” Weicheng predicted.

The EV, currently still in the concept stage, has a two-person cabin and looks strikingly smaller than the gargantuan EVs Americans are growing accustomed to. The Puzzle aligns with Japan’s regulatory definition of a kei car, ideal for tight or crowded roadways and cramped parking spots. The vehicle has 15-inch wheels, and it’s over six feet tall, nearly five feet wide and over 11 feet long. It has a cargo capacity of 770 lbs and sliding rear doors for easy cargo management. Its sole passenger seat folds down to boost its hauling capacity (and can double as a work surface when not in use).

HWE hasn’t yet revealed the Puzzle’s price or max speed. Auto Evolution reports that its lithium iron phosphate battery will offer a 125-mile range.

It’s hard to predict what America’s EV market will look like by the time the Puzzle arrives in 2025. Although sales are growing, consumer demand has fallen behind auto industry projections, leaving room for uncertainty as the world tries to avoid climate change’s most catastrophic scenarios.

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