• Oct 10, 2011
With all the attention given the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, you'd easily be forgiven for completely overlooking the diminutive Misubishi i-MiEV. First, the small EV has yet to roll into the driveway of a U.S. customer. Second, until recently, Mitsubishi's national advertising has been just as hard to find as the vehicle. Rather than working to build buzz in advance of the vehicle's availability as both Chevy and Nissan did with their respective cars, Mitsubishi has decided to play the i somewhat on the qt.

However, that doesn't mean the dealers have to keep their lips zipped. The owner of San Rafael Mitsubishi north of San Francisco has been working with local groups of EV enthusiasts to make sure the i doesn't disappear from the radar of potential EV buyers. That effort has paid off. So far, San Rafael Mitsubishi has taken deposits for 24 of the bug-eyed hatches, which isn't bad when you consider that it's unlikely any of the purchasers have actually seen an example of the car they're buying.

Mitsubishi is beginning its own advertising campaign right about now and dealers should be able to park demo vehicles on their lots by December. The first deliveries to customers in the early roll-out states should begin around the same time.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      Spec
      • 19 Hours Ago
      I worry about that small 16KWH battery really getting such a long range. But this could be the lowest priced EV available . . . what is the expected price?
        Spec
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        I just got an email on it today. Range ain't so hot: Range 62 miles (EPA Rated) See it in Carmel, CA: Thurs. – Sat., Oct. 13 – 15 Carmel Art and Film Festival San Carlos St. Carmel, CA 93921 Ride & Drive: 11am – 6pm
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        Drum brakes in the back, 16kwh pack, what else is inferior to the Leaf? This car should be considerably less than the Leaf. 5k to 10k less or they will have a hard time selling it to a educated EV customer.
        Michael Walsh
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        $21,500 for the ES and $23,500 for the SE, both after the $7500 Federal tax credit. Less, of course, any additional regional incentives.
          Spec
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @Michael Walsh
          Damn, that is pretty cheap. That could attract a lot of people that want EV but don't have much money. Many people are going to spend $20,000 for gasoline alone over the next 10 years, this vehicle goes a long way toward being economically rational.
      nbsr
      • 19 Hours Ago
      Is it a new model or some sort of tuning option? IMHO it looks much nicer with original bumpers. A bit overdone.
        uncle_sam
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @nbsr
        The I ist the US spec version of the iMiev. It is wider, and a bit bigger, because the iMiev was to small for the states.
          Michael Walsh
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @uncle_sam
          It isn't quite that simple. The stretching was for side airbags (width) and bumpers that would meet US standards (length).
          nbsr
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @uncle_sam
          @uncle_sam: I see, thanks. So the body is larger as well. I wonder why they haven't simply started from a bigger car. It's like stretching Fiat 500 because "it's too small for the States".
      Michael Walsh
      • 19 Hours Ago
      Mitsubishi has a west coast test drive tour going right now in the Pacific northwest. It should be down in northern California (Carmel) as of Thursday and southern California as of mid-November. In the meantime, you can read my review of it here: http://myimiev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=50
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        Nice review. Not enough price difference from the Leaf IMO. Bang for the buck still goes to the Leaf. This coming from a guy who paid 42k for a converted Yaris but with a range of 145 miles. In hind sight I wish I would have waited for the Leaf but the Yaris has been fun and I will make it come close to paying for its self because I am stubborn. I wish Mitsubishi luck and hope they sell many of the i.
          Michael Walsh
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          Agreed. The LEAF has better performance and more features for not a massive amount of money more. However, the i definitely beats the LEAF on simplicity and diminutive (city car) size. It is, however, a far better car than the 2nd gen Smart EV, which is more likely to be it's competitor in the small EV category (despite the fact that you can't actually BUY the Smart EV). But I do still need to drive the 3rd gen Smart EV to see if they've taken care of the shortcomings evident in the previous iterations. That said, the Fiat 500 EV will be coming soon. I haven't driven it yet either, but it could be both a Smart EV AND an i killer, what with it's stylish (and trendy) good looks, if they price it right!
      goodoldgorr
      • 19 Hours Ago
      It look weaker then the leaf , i think that it won't sale much especially in usa where small cars do not sale well.
      • 19 Hours Ago
      An auto journalist friend just drove this and he told me it was the funnest car he's taken out in a while. Just on shear, wheels in the corner, throw it around runabout appeal, he said it was smile-inducing great. This from a dude who is not at all an electric fanboy.
      imoore
      • 19 Hours Ago
      The price is much affordable than either the Leaf or Volt, so I would be tempted to buy one. The only problem for me is that Mitsubishi dealer closest to me is 70 miles away. Not good at all for me.
        Spec
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @imoore
        Yeah, you'd have to fill it up at the dealership and then drive it home . . . very slowly and steadily . . . and you should just barely make it home. I think it is cool that there is a relatively low priced EV available. But 62 mile EPA rated range really limits the utility of the vehicle. What they should do is leave extra space in the battery area and tell people that they could upgrade in the future. That way people could buy more batteries later if battery prices drop.
          skierpage
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @Spec
          Won't happen. You can't just add more batteries to an EV, there are electrical, mechanical, and thermal design issues and each has safety aspects. To my knowledge the only EV that's planned for these and addressed them in its design is the Tesla Model S.
    • Load More Comments