Two years ago, it looked like Mitsubishi was ready to have a noticeable presence in plug-in electric vehicles. After all, the all-electric i (also known as the i-MiEV in Japan, where it has been sold since 2009) was considered cute and fun to drive. It wasn't cheap, but at that time it was priced lower than the Nissan Leaf and qualified for incentives. The Japanese automaker said it had big plans in store for more electrified offerings, starting with a plug-in hybrid variation of its Outlander crossover vehicle.

More recently, though, the plans has slowed and the company has become noticeably quiet. A statement made by a company spokesman makes it sound like Mitsubishi's EV product pipeline won't be ramping up anytime soon. As Mitsubishi Motors North America's Roger Yasuka told Plug In Cars, "We are just in midst of planning our future model line up including the EV, PHEV, and HEV vehicles... Mitsubishi is unlikely to have much beyond its current line up to offer plug-in customers for the next few years."

Sales looked good for the i at the beginning of this year, with 594 sold in the US in January and February, but that figure only grew to 882 for the first six months of the year. The Outlander plug-in hybrid, available in Japan, was hurt by a recall this spring. Its lithium-ion battery had been short circuiting during a screening process that infected the batteries with contaminants during production.

Mitsubishi has been thrilled to roll out high-performance plug-in racers like an upcoming 500 horsepower super plug-in hybrid; or its MiEV Elolution II that raced at Pikes Peak earlier this year. The problem has been producing and marketing mainstream plug-ins that bring solid returns on investment.


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  • 15 Comments
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Year Ago
      The I-miev more than any of the other bug-eyed electrics defines the EVs as golf cart like. I don't suppose it occured to mitsubishi to make a nice looking aerodynamic car with slightly more range.
      MarcCBR
      • 5 Hours Ago
      One of their main problem with the environmental people(who are buying EVs right now) is that they are very educated when it comes to environmental issues and Mitsubishi is not very good when it comes to the environment. Mitsubishi is almost singlehandedly destroying the worlds Blue-fin Tuna population. For more info on it Google it. I for one would never buy anything that comes from Mitsubishi for that reason along.
        fairfireman21
        • 5 Hours Ago
        @MarcCBR
        I would not buy a Mitsubishi because it was the only car we have owned that did not last more than 65,000 miles, shortly after 64000 it was dead and became extrication fun for volunteer fireman.
        Actionable Mango
        • 5 Hours Ago
        @MarcCBR
        I imagine the tiny number of people who were (A) going to buy a Mitsubishi and (B) know about the extinction of blue tuna who then (C) switched their purchasing decision to a different brand specifically because of the fish, doesn't amount to diddly squat in Mitsubishi's bottom line, much less being a "main problem". Mitsubishi's main problem is having an aging and shrinking lineup that is not compelling in any way compared to its competitors.
      Spec
      • 5 Hours Ago
      This was a break-through EV when it first came out. It was the cheapest EV available, priced at less than $30K before the tax-credit. But the battery was always a bit too small. And now it has been blown away by the price-cut Leaf, the Fiat 500e, the Spark EV, the Honda Fit EV, etc. They need to slash the price on it and move onto something else. The Mitz-i is just not competitive in the current market.
        GoodCheer
        • 5 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        I agree. Also, battery energy densities have increased significantly since the batteries were first specified, now about 5 years ago. At the very least, they should have updated their pack to get a bit more range.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      With the resources of Mitsubishi industries behind it you would think they would be very interested in designing a car to be a market leader in this new segment. They could have designed an all-electric eclipse with good performance and 200 mile range, sell them for 50k and own the "roadster" market that Tesla has temporarily abandon.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      The cost is too high and the range is too low. I don't know how Mitsubishi's car division stays in business. They haven't had any hits in a long time. The fuel economy and other specs of their cars are not impressive. I've not seen a new Mitsubishi on the road for years. Unless they've got some killer trick up their sleeve, they might as well axe this car as the Chevy Spark very well murders it.
        Actionable Mango
        • 5 Hours Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        The Outlander PHEV in 2014 may very well be a killer trick up their sleeve. The only PHEV SUV in the USA and priced lower than a Volt. In all of the markets it's sold in so far it is a runaway success. Giza/Dan F probably hates it, so that's another bonus.
          JPWhite
          • 5 Hours Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          The Rav4 EV is the first electric SUV, and that's all electric. Next will be the Tesla X. Mitsubishi have been slow to introduce the Outlander PHEV. I've been waiting to see it for 18 months and not sure when it will be available.
      Electron
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Outlander PHEV certainly stands out as a plug-in offering. Loads of interior space plus 3500lbs of towing capacity at a price that's lower than the Volt's that can't tow anything and has the sort of interior space one would expect from a coupe. If it wasn't for the general evanescence of the brand this would be the one to worry about for GM.
        Spec
        • 5 Hours Ago
        @Electron
        Yeah, if they can get the Outlander out there, they could have a nice jump on the competition with the only PHEV SUV. The USA automakers should be all over that market. The closest thing we have is the C-Max Energi.
      Giza Plateau
      • 5 Hours Ago
      They thought they could sell a tiny EV at a huge price. They were wrong. Except for Norway where enthusiasm for EVs is great but even there other offers are more interesting. They started at 50k$ in japan in 2009 which is quite ridiculous for 16kWh in a converted kei car. Now at half that price it's still too expensive. LGchem prices for those cells is around 3000$ Certain companies are so stupid that they let their aversion from new stuff translate into a high price. Like a punishment on the customer for wanting EVs. That level of stupidity does of course not fly. They all do it basically, Mitsu was just the worst. And ironically the first. If you don't get your head in the game and work every angle to get the value proposition appealing then what are you doing.. Call me Mitsu and I can tell you what to do. My name is Dan Frederiksen. You should be able to find me.
      Mart
      • 1 Year Ago
      What was the old slogan? "Mitsubishi: The only not-for-profit Japanese car company." They continue to move to irrelevance in the market, electric or not.
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