Mitsubishi i MiEV - click above for high-res image gallery
Mitsubishi has launched series production of its iMiEV electric car at its Okayama, Japan factory. That makes the tri-diamond brand the first major automaker to kick off full scale production of a new EV, though it will be followed by many 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 the result of a joint venture between Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa. Factoring government incentives available in Japan, the $45,660 iMiEV will end up costing 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.