• Jun 4, 2009
Mitsubishi i MiEV - click above for high-res image gallery

Mitsubishi launched series production of its iMiEV electric car today at its Okayama, Japan factory. Mitsubishi is the first of the major automakers to kick off full scale production of a new EV and will be followed by most other automakers over the next two years. The automaker plans to build about 2,000 units through the remainder of this fiscal year and then crank that up to 5,000 next year. The first cars are going to corporate fleet customers but retail sales are expected to start later in the year.

The iMiEV has a range of about 100 miles from its lithium ion battery pack. The batteries are produced by a joint venture between Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa. With the government incentives available in Japan, the iMiEV will cost about $31,300 at current exchange rates which is a bit higher than the $27,000 price previously rumored. No decision has been made yet on when the car will be offered in the U.S. market, but we do know it will make its way here sometime. First, Mitsubishi needs to develop a production left-hand drive version.


[Source: Nikkei]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 46 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes it's pricey. And yes it offers only 100 miles between rechargings. But it's out there - and it sets a benchmark. Each maker who follows suit now has to do slightly better on price and better on distance.

      We needed one of the mainstream carmakers to put an electric car into routine production, and Mitsubishi got there first. (the BMW Mni and others are all still presented as test programs).

      The Subaru R1e looks almost ready to follow, but is slightly smaller.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mitsubishi motors - это одна из самых крупных корпораций Японии
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The iMiEV has a range of about 100 miles from its lithium ion battery pack .... With the government incentives available in Japan, the iMiEV will cost about $31,300 at current exchange rates"

      $30,000 for a tiny crapbox with a 100 mile range (probably far less if you run heat/defrost or A/C).

      Thats ridiculous.

      Ten years after the EV1, RAV4, Solectria, etc. were cancelled (for the same reason) and EVs still have a LONG way to go before they make sense.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        "Where are you getting this warranty info from. Seriously doubt it gets a 10Y/100K warranty. It will be hurting long before that."

        Have you not been following this vehicle at all? Random example:

        http://www.birminghammail.net/lifestyle/motoring/2009/02/19/the-i-miev-is-a-shocker-97319-22966194/

        Mitsubishi's been stating for a long time that they plan to offer a 10 year warranty on the pack.

        "Meme: You are being ridiculous. $8k for the battery?? Then why does a $14K car become a $44K car with EV drivetrain. Motors and controllers are less than ICE/transmission/fuel/exhaust system."

        No, they're not, and you know, it'd pay to actually be versed in prices before you start pontificating. How much do you think the AC-150 powertrain that runs the Mini-E costs? Try $25,000. Now, *in large volumes*, ACP thinks the drivetrain would only cost $3,500, but *for now*, EV drivetrain components are very expensive. Mitsubishi's not going to be up to even moderate volumes for two years.

        The AC-150 is a high-end EV drivetrain, mind, you, but even a low-end one will cost ya. The Azure Dynamics AC24LS couldn't meet the MiEV's reported stats on a vehicle that weight, but costs $3k. But that's just the motor -- you also need an inverter and a charger. The AC24LS is designed to be paired with the DMOC445, a low-end inverter. That's $3.5k. There's no specific charger the two need to be paired with, so let's go with one of the cheaper chargers out there that can handle the onboard charging req's of the MiEV -- perhaps a Manzanita Micro PFC50. That's $3.3k to $4k, depending on the version. So this *low end* drivetrain that'd make the MiEV accelerate too slowly would cost $10k.

        Lastly, whether you like it or not, $0.50/Wh *is* the going price for automotive li-ion packs. GM has stated that their 16kWh pack costs "thousands less" than $10,000 after a report stated that the pack was going to cost that much. Th!nk bought 5,000 27kWh packs from EnerDel for $70m -- $14k each. Thunderskys are available on the open market for EV hobbyists in *non-commercial quanties* for under $0.50/Wh. Tesla's cells, being of the non-automotive variety, are cheaper, at about $0.35/Wh.

        So perhaps before you start pontificating in the future, you might actually want to learn what you're talking about.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        No it is ~$44 000 before Japanese subsidies. So it would be ~$37K AFTER US subsidies.


        http://media.mitsubishi-motors.com/pressrelease/e/products/detail1940.html
        JPY 4,599,000 (consumption tax inclusive)
        JPY 4,380,000 (ex-tax)
        "For fiscal 2009, intending owners are eligible to receive a maximum subsidy of JPY 1,390,000 on approval of an application submitted to the Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Center (The intending owner must apply for the subsidy and receive notification of its approval before the vehicle is registered)."
        • 7 Hours Ago
        Rick. Seriously?

        I car: $14000

        Imiev: $44000 (see mitsubishi link I posted above). If you count a $7500 credit from the US government as pure savings: $36500.

        Difference $22500.
        You are never, ever going to get close to making up that $22500. In fact it will only get worse when you start having to replace the ultra expensive battery.

        I don't know what ultra expensive maintenance you are imagining. I drive a 10 year old Ford Zx2. I bought it new and it is currently in excellent condition. Maintenance related to the ICE (engine/transmission/fuel systems/exhaust systems) in that time is under $2000 over ten years. Less than $200/year average. I could put the $22500 difference in the bank and the interest would more than cover my maintenance costs.

        I admire the enthusiasm of EV fans and appreciate them buying current EVs to help drive research, but EVs are not an economical choice. Just accept that and move on, instead of trying to rationalize some set of circumstances where they are.

        Until we have huge battery break through EVs will continue to be more expensive to operate than the equivalent gas car.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        Meme: You are being ridiculous. $8k for the battery??

        Then why does a $14K car become a $44K car with EV drivetrain. Motors and controllers are less than ICE/transmission/fuel/exhaust system.

        That $30K difference is mainly battery. There was a recent story of kids doing a EV conversion of a car for $7K. Because they used cheap Lead Acid batteries.

        EVs are expensive because of the expensive batteries. EV drive trains aren't.

        Where are you getting this warranty info from. Seriously doubt it gets a 10Y/100K warranty. It will be hurting long before that.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        $30K before the $7,500 tax credit, and the vast majority of drivers don't drive anywhere near 100miles on a given day. The gas savings, reduced maintenance costs, and low depreciation also significantly reduce the cost of ownership. But if you want a big box SUV and don't car about gas or severe depreciation, then go with want you want.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        The amount saved in gas, oil changed, filters, tuneups, belt changes, transmission, drivetrain and other various maintenance costs over the life of the financing period (much less life of the car) would more than cover any cost overage you currently vision in your head.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        That's a load of crap. The EV1 price issue was always one of economies of scale. If they built them in large numbers, the price would drop in a big way.

        The reason they were scrapped should be clear to anyone who fills their car with gasoline everyday. As peak oil rears its ugly head, it should also be clear to anyone with a brain where the biggest potential profit windfall in history lies.

        If you don't think the oil industry did everything in its power (along with car companies unwilling to make the initial investments) to kill the EV1 and ZEV mandate in California to protect its own interests - that is delusional.

        You can't seriously watch the power of lobbyists trainwreck this country everyday and then suggest that the electric car died on its own merits when considering the lobbying power of oil companies.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        "But if you want a big box SUV and don't car about gas or severe depreciation, then go with want you want."

        For the record, I drive a 97 Miata.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        "But if you want a big box SUV and don't car about gas or severe depreciation, then go with want you want." - polo

        For the record, I drive a '97 Miata.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        Tesla has said their pack is $30K and is 53KWh. That is over .50/Wh and they use cheapo laptop batteries. Altair Nano sold 35KWh packs for $65000 each. It depends on the chemistry. Maybe Mitsubishi really has a magic 10 year lithium and that accounts for the huge cost of this vehicle. Or maybe they will actually offer a 10 year warranty and the extra cost is for them to account for your second battery you will need.

        On the cost of electric motors I will call complete BS on what you say. You may be able to pay too much money to AC propulsion if you want, but there are clearly less expensive options.

        The I-Miev has 1 47KW electric motor in a tiny kei class car with no ICE for $44000.

        The Prius is a midsize has a 42KW electric motor AND a 60KW electric motor and a ICE and makes a profit at $24000.

        Considering what is in Prius. I would like you to account for the components that drive the price of the I-Miev so high if they aren't battery related.

        • 7 Hours Ago
        It looks like they can build a car with a bit more capability than the EV1 without needing as many batteries and for about a third the cost, surely that should count as an advance in tech. And battery production for Li-Ions is ramping up so hopefully the price of batteries becomes less of a factor within just years instead of decades.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        Snowdog: It's not as extreme as you're making it out to be.

        iMiEV: 93,000 mile/10 year warranty. Now, the battery doesn't die when the warranty expires. In fact, it essentially never "dies"; the standard for determining when a battery gets changed under warranty for EVs is generally when it drops below 80% charge capacity, and the rate of charge capacity decline slows down over time. 70% charge capacity would probably last you until the vehicle is in the scrapheap. But let's assign a 50% probability of replacement within the vehicle's lifespan out of warranty, and an average car lifespan (current average, about 19 years). Efficient cars tend to have longer lifespans than inefficient cars (because there's more incentive to keep them running), but let's go with 19 years anyways, with 11,000 miles/year. That's 209,000 miles. The i is rated for 43mpg in Japan, which is more like ~32mpg combined FTP/US06 drivecycles. That's 6,531 gallons of gas. At $3.25/gal, that's $21,226 gas savings. Assuming electricity costs 1/4th as much as gas per mile (a reasonable assumption in most of the US), that's ~16k$ savings.

        How much is that battery replacement? Well, the first question is, how much is that pack? It's a 16kWh battery pack, and its cells currently likely cost about $0.50/Wh, or about $8k total. Assigning a 50% probability of replacement, that'd be an expected cost of $4k. But wait! The replacement would be at least 9 years in the future (remember, the warranty?), and battery prices won't be anywhere near that high then. If we assume volumes of a few hundred thousand EV packs per year per manufacturer, they'll be approximately $0.25/Wh (according to EnerDel's figures). So that's really a $4k pack and an expected cost of $2k. So you're down to $14k savings.

        "But wait, there's more!" EV drivetrains have about 1/10th as many moving parts as gasoline drivetrains, and consequently way less maintenance. Ever priced getting your transmission fixed? Or added up how much all that routine maintenance costs? Or looked at how much your car starts costing you once all those belts start breaking and stuff? If I recall the statistics correctly, the average American spends about $2,500/year on "repairs and maintenance". Now, a fair chunk of that will be to pay for deductibles and uninsured coverage on car accidents -- let's say half -- making the number $1,250. Some cars more, some cars less, of course. Now, the drivetrain isn't the only part of a car that can break. Brakes get wear, although they get less on an EV due to regen. Tires get wear on both. Things like the AC and heater and radio and so forth can break on both. And so on. Let's say that the EV's maintenance isn't a 10th as much, but a third as much -- an annual savings of $833, or $16k total. Total savings are now up to $30k

        How much will insurance cost? Hard to say. EVs being more expensive would tend to raise coverage, but some insurers actually give discounts for hybrids, so you might expect likewise for EVs. Let's call it a wash.

        Aha, but there's one missing detail: the time value of money. You have to account for interest on that extra upfront investment -- what it could have been making if put to other means. I don't feel like doing the math here, but I'd wager that $30k savings but with $22.5k more upfront is probably about a wash from that perspective.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It just occurred to me that maybe the reason the Toyota, BMW/Cooper & Mercedes/Smart are in "test" mode is that they are just waiting to see what happens. If somebody suddenly starts moving a lot of EVs, they will have something ready.

      Toyota is the closest, they know how to do it but just won't for now...

      Boy, I'm getting paranoid...

      - Nick -
      • 5 Years Ago
      The evidence to refute your motor pricing claims is the Prius.

      BS on the quantities. That applies to new technology. Electric motors are dog simple to build and have barely changed in 50 years. The basic technology is nearly 200 years old.

      As EV enthusiasts are fond of pointing out. Electric motors are small and have one moving part. Mainly a rotor and some field coil windings.

      So what do you estimate the Toyota motors cost (two of them) and the Mitsubishi ones cost.

      Toyota might be able to build them slightly cheaper than Mitsu, but not 10 times cheaper. It is extremely unlikely that toyota enjoys a 2 to 1 price advantage over anyone else building electric motors. and with two of similar power to the Mitsu motor, the electric motor cost is a wash.

      The Prius has more electric motors, more powerful electric motors and it has an internal combustion engine and it is a much bigger car than the I-Miev and it sells for about half the price. Clearly electric motors are not what is driving the cost, or toyota has electric motor gnomes that build them for free.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry guys, I just can't stand being a lackey of big oil, big auto and supporting terrorist. That is for the rest of you. The oil companies and investors will take care of you. You will get bigger returns on your 401k's as your mutual fund managers buy oil and take those same profits right back out of your pockets at the pump.

      I have to sleep at night and I don't sleep well with oil pointing a gun at me and saying pay us or don't drive, we have the money and the political power to keep things as they are and there is nothing you can do about it.

      I vote with my wallet and I vote to not to give big oil a monopoly on my driving. I vote not to support big oil when ever possible. GM is getting what it deserves for stifling freedom of choice in order to pursue short term greed. You all have to breath and you all must use oil.

      EV's are unprofitable as far as maintenance and make gas cars look bad. I like driving and there is much more freedom to driving when you don't have to support the greedy oil companies that will do any thing to keep things the way they are. Not to mention the wims of the market deciding to drive up oil prices when demand is low. It's funny OPEC can legally drive up oil by investing in it.

      Americans are happy to pay less up front and pay more down the road in gas and maintenance. Mitsubishi has to charge more up front look at the repair cost they loose out on in the future.

      Gas cost much more than 2-4 dollars a gallon. Look at the full cost of gas/oil. Lives have been lost and will be in the future. Every tanker that goes in and comes out of the Straights of Hormuz must be searched by the Navy not to mention oil subsidies. Wait till the Ahmajinadad sinks a tanker and blocks the Straights of Hormuz and see what happens to precious gas. I guarantee you the oil companies won't be loosing money but all those that use gas will loose and there is nothing you can do about it. This car and other EV's that are being produced are expensive compared with conventional cars but that can change in a New York minute. Things can get pretty strange. Keep waiting until it is to late then you will pay.
      • 5 Years Ago
      *BANG*

      Let the games begin!

      ... and Mitsubishi is off to an early start.
      • 5 Years Ago
      EV1 and Rav4EV may not pass today's crash test. Will iMiEV be able to pass so it can be available in the US?

      $31k is not bad if you consider the maintenance and fuel usage. It should be cheaper to own than a comparable $16k gas-only version.
        • 5 Years Ago
        First it isn't $31K, it is $44K ( see previous 20 comments and latest story on this) less whatever subsidy the government offers. So it can never come close to paying back the difference, and a big shoe will drop when you need to replace the battery.

        I like EVs. I like people who buy EVs to further the technology, but it is more expensive to drive an EV than a comparable gas vehicle.

        We need a battery breakthrough to really drive EVs.

        • 7 Hours Ago
        "and a big shoe will drop when you need to replace the battery. ... We need a battery breakthrough to really drive EVs."

        Says a person who has no clue about the going rate for EV components.
        • 7 Hours Ago
        Meme: see my post #21 (comparing Prius components) above and please enlighten me with your knowledge of EV components to explain where the bulk of I-Meiv cost differential is coming from. Because I really can't see anything other than battery related expense.
        • 5 Years Ago
        None of the three will pass current US crash standards.
        • 5 Years Ago
        First it isn't $31K, it is $44K ( see previous 20 comments and latest story on this) less whatever subsidy the government offers. So it can never come close to paying back the difference, and a big shoe will drop when you need to replace the battery.

        I like EVs. I like people who buy EVs to further the technology, but it is more expensive to drive an EV than a comparable gas vehicle.

        We need a battery breakthrough.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I lift my hat!

      I still want be paying any deposit for this one. Too dear and too small. But if this one is a success it might help trigger Toyota to launch a Prius PHEV a bit earlier. Hope they would build up their battery factories asap, the Chinese way, construction work running 24 / 7 until I have my family size plug-in.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here is my new car! I don't even have to wait for left hand drive I am in Australia :o)
      Of course, I will convert this to hydrogen to cover my large distances ;o)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great! Two points worth noting:

      1) This is the first *production* E.V (not a test or a conversion) by a major (albeit smaller) manufacturer. It's clear that Mitsu and Nissan see EVs as a way to beat Toyota and Honda who are still betting on hybrids.

      2) They use "in wheel" electric motors, which leaves more space for the occupants and the battery. I wonder how reliable this will be over-time under extreme climate.

      - Nick -
        • 7 Hours Ago
        You're right. I was reading some old information. They have been developing these for a while...

        - Nick -
        • 7 Hours Ago
        I don't believe they use in-wheel motors. The last breakdown of the vehicle had one electric motor in the back.

      • 5 Years Ago
      As with everyone else who has posted so far, I wish to express my elation with this announcement.

      It begins!

      Now all we have to do is hope that Skynet doesn't take over in the next couple years ( http://www.viddler.com/explore/comicbookbinto/videos/200/). I kid of course. I kid.

      I want the Sport Air version.
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