Why wait? That's the question that Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuko doesn't want Americans asking when it comes to purchasing a brand new Mitsubishi i. Thus, he has reportedly moved the nationwide on-sale date for the better-than-you-thought i in the U.S. from the end of 2012 to the middle of next year. The first examples of the car will start deliveries in four rollout states (California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii) in early 2012. The reason for the advanced roll-out schedule is that Mitsubishi dealers are clamoring for it, Masuko said during the Tokyo Motor Show. This is really no surprise, since Mitsubishi is promoting the car through Facebook and clever TV ads. Masuko also said that Mitsubishi will introduce a second small EV, this one based on the Mirage, to the U.S. in the middle of 2013.

Meanwhile, over in Norway, the round i-MiEV (as it is known overseas) is selling quite well, moving 1,000 units there. The minister of the environment (and development cooperation, he holds two posts), Erik Solheim said he believes that EVs offer a solution for "achieving a real reduction of emissions." He also said that he wanted to make "an extra big thank you" to the customers that asked for and purchased the electric cars, since what they want is more important than what either politicians or companies promote (all quotes from Google Translate). While not as noticed as other EVs, the i-MiEV is being tested and sold around the world, from Estonia to Thailand.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not asking to be a smart butt or to cause trouble (I have to throw that in or people yell) - but does this thing offer any advantages to the Leaf? Motor Trend did a review and didn't have the same glowing comments as with the Leaf. I know nothing about this car, so honestly asking...
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        They would be the first to market in a lot of locations. I know the Leaf and the Focus are planned for some time in 2013 in my area.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        no it's a lesser car. but if priced accordingly it would have an advantage in a lower EV entrance price. honest questions are perfectly ok.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        It costs less, that is pretty much the biggest advantage as far as I can see. If you don't have much money but really want to buy an EV, this allows you to buy one for less than $29K up front and net $21,625 when the tax-credit is considered. Other than that, the Leaf wins.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        A friend who drove the US-spec model said it was a real blast. He liked the Leaf alright, but he said that with the engine and drive wheels in the back, the I was a total blast to take down a back road, like an early VW Beetle. The Leaf handled more or less like any car its size, the I was much more fun. I think this car has real cult potential.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      when hideously overpriced it's no wonder they are clamoring for only greatly overpriced. the quicker the deeply obtuse automakers make the price drops the quicker we will get this show on the road and the potential is huge. you have no idea how badly the electric car will maim ICE cars once the price train gets going (with a little help from weight and aerodynamics and quick charge) if we're at 200$/kWh from LG now that's 3200$ for 16kWh. when we get to 100$/kWh that's 1600$. what other cost items do they have to justify 30k$ price tag for an EV.. now imagine the very same car with a slightly more expensive pack and slightly more expensive motor and electronics that can mutilate a ferrari all the while being 3 times more energy efficient than a prius. and you can drive for free with your 400$ solar panels on house roof.. this is what's possible. this is what's coming. ICE is going down
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Without knowing all that goes into making an electric car, some of these do seem a bit expensive. Let's take the Tata Nano, and the Nissan Versa as 'examples' of the low end for ICE cars. With the Versa especially, we know that it has been designed and engineered to run as a 'real' car - the Tata would be more the 'city' car. How much then, would it actually cost, to add the electric drive train? Obviously the first models would require changes and modifications, along with additional costs, but if the Tata rings in at $2K - $3K, and the Versa at $10k -$11k (base) - would it really cost $20K to modify it over?
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @Ezee The problem in building low end EV's is recovering the cost of manufacture from a very limited market. Even starting with an existing suitable glider, things like proprietary ESC systems etc, need to be modified and the vehicle must be capable of passing crash testing etc. Batteries are expensive and the weakest link in EV production. What an enthusiast will accept in a battery regime will certainly not be accepted by the general public! Then the manufacturer has the other 40% of manufacturing/marketing/ capital costs that people lacking industrial knowledge fail to understand. These little items include, transport, dealer mark-ups, warranty spare part inventories (often mandated) currency fluctuations, advertising, dealer rebates, capital costs, delays etc. All these items eat into the profitability of each model. Batteries,(or any component) can become suddenly more expensive depending on the suppliers national currency or cost inflation. There are a myriad of cost factors that beset large scale manufacturing which are contemptuously dismissed by know-it-all amateurs. These factors are not so difficult to absorb when manufacturing a high priced product, but a nightmare when volume producing low priced, low profit items, where there is far less 'wriggle' room. Most low end models are initially subsidised by the manufacturers luxury sales division. Lexus makes 9% of Toyota production, but nearly 40% of the groups profit. Low cost manufacturing requires really enormous volume sales to produce a profit. That's simply not possible in a small market, with a difficult supply chain, and higher than normal marketing costs. (Just look at the money GM will be forced to spend to fix the PR disaster caused by the inaccurate reporting of 3 non-existent fires.) Both Mitsubishi and Renault/Nissan should be congratulated at being relatively inexpensive EV to market in mature production run numbers.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Thanks to all on the responses....great to learn from all sides...I did not realize $5 billion went into the Leaf. Even if they made $10K per car, $5 billion would still take a while to get back. Makes it more reasonable why it is GM, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Honda on some of this opposed to Mazda, and also why Tesla or Fisker deserve some credit, even if you don't like their cars, for doing what they have done. Thanks!
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          EVnerd/EVsuperhero/Marco - any idea on the cost to mod a Tata or Versa? (anyone else answer - these three seem to have numbers and such - although, DF knows his batteries...)
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          The batteries are expensive. Period. The electric motors, motor controllers, and chargers combined are comparable in cost to ICE engine systems but perhaps a little more expensive. Perhaps with increased manufacturing volumes, the prices will drop below ICE engine systems. Everything else is the same as regular car except that they often try to reduce weight as much as possible to increase the range. This often means using more expensive materials.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Battery costs aside, which should properly be offset against petrol costs, the issue for electric vehicles is amortising the new equipment needed to produce the different components in electric cars to ICE. GM gave us an insight into how expensive it was to start up production for the Volt, whilst Nissan/Renault have to date spent $5 billion in R & D and start-up costs. Fortunately for prospective electric drivers, they spread the cost over all their cars as centralised R & D expenditure, a form of accounting which enables much more rapid cost reduction than would otherwise be the case, and which most of the great innovative companies have practised, such as the legendary General Electric. If customers were paying the full development cost on the Leaf they would be much more expensive. The good news is that the price of an electric car ex batteries should come down to comparability with ICE cars or in fact rather cheaper once the new equipment is fully amortised.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          DF's views on battery prices is like his views in other areas . . . a bit over optimistic. For an automotive application, the cells need to be very well-made and well tested. And they need to have sophisticated battery management systems that can deal with weak cells, dead cells, thermal management, etc. So they are not going to be as cheap as he tends to believe.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        They are never going to hit $100/KWH. We'll be lucky if they hit $200/KWH for real (including the BMS, wiring, case, etc.)
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          spec, the lowest price possible is typically not a way to be the richest man in the world. bulk automotive supplier is a tough business. if I say something you can't mockingly point out the error in it.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          of course they are. I wouldn't be surprised if they get to 50. making it into a pack is just not that expensive in mass production. and both LG chem and A123 are making cells specifically for automotive use. so don't give me those nonsense excuses why it can't happen.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Spec: For the present generation of batteries around $200kwh would be the absolute low cost. Its not clear though how costs scale as capacity increases, so for instance the NMC batteries Nissan is supposed to be moving to may offer opportunities to reduce costs per kwh from the lower density manganese spinel technology. Since the cobalt in NMC batteries is expensive though I would doubt that costs would go below $200kwh. We may though be able to do better with other technologies further down the road, but its a long way off and no more than a hope at present.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          $50/KWH? Oh, Dan. You'd become the richest man on the planet if you could profitably make a $50/KWH automotive Li-Ion cell. Good luck with that. I really wish you could do it.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      This wasn't scheduled to come out until the END of next year?!?! They've been advertising on the web and taking orders. You could get away with orders a year in advance with the Leaf because no other EVs were on the market but you can't do that now.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Mitsubishi make more margin in a lot of other markets than in the US, and at the moment are very restricted in production until their new 50,000 EV factory comes on line in April.
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