2012 Mitsubishi i
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Mitsubishi's i-MiEV first rolled out for Japanese fleet sales in 2009, and it's been on sale to the general public in Japan for 18 months. Since then, the car has become available in several European markets and even picked up a 500-unit order from the government of Estonia. Overall sales have been reported to top 11,000 units. Not a bad start for a little five-door jellybean, and Mitsubishi has stated that they expect the i-MiEV (or just 'i' for the upcoming U.S. model) to become profitable within two years.

Still, it's a long way from there to turning Mitsubishi into a company where over half of its sales come from electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Mitsu's plans for expanding its electric line-up are nothing if not ambitious. In addition to rolling out the i in more countries, with nationwide U.S. sales pushed up to the middle of 2012, there are several more electric vehicles in the works.

Coming for 2013 is an plug-in version of the
Outlander Sport to be followed by an electric model based on the Evolution XI concept. Mitsubishi then plans to add another small electric vehicle based on the Mirage, and eventually to create a plug-in Evo sedan. The timeframe for all these electric vehicles is aggressive when compared with the slow pace of EV introductions to date. However, since Mitsubishi sells over a million vehicles a year (54,000 in the U.S.), aggressive moves are what it will take to hit the 50 percent EV target in the next eight years.

The Mitsubishi i has been priced at $29,125 for the U.S. market ($21,625 after federal tax credit). Its specifications are considerably different from either the Japanese or Euro-spec i-MiEV. The vehicle is larger and faster while getting around 85 miles to a charge. At 112 mpg equivalent, the Mitsubishi i will top the charts for fuel economy among 2012 vehicles.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      karlInSanDiego
      • 3 Years Ago
      If they build 1M vehicles annually, and 54k (5%) are sold in the US, then the US is FAR from their primary market. I don't really understand the amazement that a struggling company like Mitsubishi would shoot for 50% EV in EIGHT LONG YEARS. Come on people. When we let Detroit press and others set our expectation that alternative vehicles will take a human generation to be adopted, we're part of the self fulfilling prophecy. If I were at the helm, I'd keep working to make the EV's profitable through scale and go All In EV. Start by getting a Lancer Evo EV to remind the world that Tesla and Fisker are sorry little supercar startup wannabes (I like them, but big corp has to see it that way) compared to a powerhouse like the Mistubishi corporation. What're the biggest challenges facing Fisker and Tesla? 1) factories/assembly lines and all the baggage/learning it takes to run one 2) showrooms/dealers who starve when they don't sell these new niche units 3) volume relationships/deals with parts manufacturers 4) money I look forward to seeing Mitsubishi and Renault/Nissan profit from their leap of faith on Full EVs.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @karlInSanDiego
        They are making Ghosn look incredibly conservative.......
      Andy Smith
      • 3 Years Ago
      add the new SCib battery to the mix and mitsu looks to be on to a winner
      Edge
      • 3 Years Ago
      Now make a real size EV, even a sub-compact, and watch people show more interest. This tiny car is not going to be widely adopted in America. At least they are going to use Toshiba's SCiB batteries.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Edge
        In the works is an electric version of the Colt replacement, so think Ford Fiesta size, and an RE ASX as well as the Outlander RE. Present models here to get an idea of the sizes and so on: http://www.mitsubishi-cars.co.uk/range/
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Edge
        The size is probably fine. EVs need to be small if you want to have a reasonable range and price. I think they could make a better looking car and increase the battery a little bit.
          paulwesterberg
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Thanks for the link DaveMart, that rendering actually looks good with aerodynamic smooth lines. Better than I have come to expect from mitsubishi.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          'It's the first platform designed by the company to be sold anywhere in the world—developed, undeveloped, first, third, industrialized, computerized, westernized—you name it, the Global Small will be sold everywhere Mitsubishi has a presence. And not only is it designed to have a global appeal, it's designed to be global in its diversity too. When the car reaches production in 2012, it will be sold with a 1.2-liter fuel efficient engine, a stop-start system and a continuously variable transmission. But in a conversation with PluginCars.com, Moe Durand, Mitsubishi's North American Product PR Manager, told us that although no plans have been yet set in stone, the Global Small was "designed from the ground up to support an electric platform." Even though no plans have yet been announced for the production of an all-electric version of the car, all it takes is to connect the dots. Earlier this year Mitsubishi unveiled plans for a dramatic strategic shift to try and turn the company's sales slump around by shifting major resources to electric drivetrain research and development. As part of the plan, the company also announced it would also introduce six new electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2015. Durand also indicated that the Global Small would have an extended wheelbase version available in markets where tiny cars don't sell as well—such as America. The concept form of the Global Small shown in Geneva is even smaller than the Ford Fiesta, and the longer wheelbase would put it in the same market category as the Fiesta. Will the longer wheelbase Global Small be sold in the U.S. with an electric drivetrain? As that most-revered of all prognostication tools—the Magic 8-Ball—might say, "All signs point to yes."' http://www.plugincars.com/mitsubishis-global-small-concept-designed-ground-support-electric-drivetrain-106924.html
      Spiffster
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks like Mitsubishi should have one of the first real PHEV SUVs to market if they decide to produce the PX-MiEV. 31 miles full electric range for a decent sized SUV. Perfect! If its available by 2015, and it costs 35K range, count me in.
        Spiffster
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spiffster
        Wow, ok looks like its set to go on sale next year... Well let me reword that last statement: If its in the 35k range by 2015, count me in.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      If they get the price down to 16k with running costs of only a few cents per mile.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        That would make it far cheaper than a gas car . . . they eat up thousands of dollars over the years in gasoline.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        indeed. and they could. and that is key to making the transition, stop the overpricing nonsense and make more intelligent cars, not just a clumsy heavy vehicle like the mitsubishi lancer. batteries in a wasteful car is expensive. japan could be the trigger because they are gadget happy. good network of chademo or better and it could be a brush fire. a 50% goal signifies a huge change in mentality. imagine GM saying that prior to who killed the electric car.. that was as likely as the earth spinning backwards
        JP
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Why would an EV with reduced operating costs, no tailpipe emissions, smoother and quieter operation, need to be priced lower than ICE vehicles? EV's are better than ICE's in all but range, and if the range is enough for you, which it must be or you wouldn't buy it, that doesn't even matter.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Oh, hey Dan, hey Spec...
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Is $16k obtainable at this time? Not asking to be a smart butt, but curious. I mean, a Fiesta or Yaris can easily hit $16k. Would be really cool if so. Get the range up to 100 miles, and then at that price, many people, myself included, would start to think about the car as a city alternative.
      Nick From Montreal
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow. I didn't think Mitsubishi would do it. They recognize that they may have genuine hit on their hand. Also, they could have a whole new market segment for themselve with only Nissan/Renault as real competitors. It's been said before but their biggest problem for the US model is range. They need at least 100 miles -- parity with the Nissan Leaf.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick From Montreal
        Seriously. If gas prices jump up (attack on Iran, supply/demand crunch, etc.) then this little car may start selling pretty well. Yes, it is small and low-end. But it costs next to nothing to fuel. Put $5K of solar panels on your roof and you can fuel it for 30 years. I think they need to increase the battery size a little bit and come out with better looking models. But Mitsubishi has the stealth EV hit . . . the Leaf and Volt get all the attention. But this ugly little car has sold a lot. In related news: Exxon expects that U.S. oil imports have peaked http://www.marketwatch.com/story/exxon-expects-that-us-oil-imports-have-peaked-2011-12-08 Exxon predicts influx of hybrids on roads http://www.buffalonews.com/business/article666169.ece Times have definitely changed when even EXXON(!) is admitting peak oil is an issue.
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