Mitsubishi i-MiEV News
PlugInCars.com is the place for the latest Mitsubishi i (formerly i-MiEV) news and updates. Click on the news stories below and leave your questions and comments.
It’s reasonable to doubt that Mitsubishi will fulfill any announced plans for upcoming plug-in electric vehicles. After all, the past couple of years have been characterized by unconvincing EVs, product delays and a scandal involving systematic misreporting of fuel efficiency numbers. And yet, there is news of new upcoming plug-in vehicles from Mitsubishi.
Mitsubishi announced last month it will no longer sell its i-MiEV electric hatchback in the United States, ending a five-year run characterized mostly by disappointing sales. The company promises that eventually its SUV platforms will house plug-in hybrid or EV powertrains.
The jellybean-like Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the least expensive EV at $23,845 (including destination)—beating out the next cheapest electric car, the Smart Electric Drive, by nearly $2,000. It also has the shortest driving range at 62 miles, and the lowest number of sales among EVs. Mitsubishi announced today that the 2016 model is due in late March.
Good news for the i-MiEV lovers out there. Mitsubishi will announce pricing for the 2014 year model either today or Wednesday, depending on when it gets the info from Japan. The price will be “thousands” less than the 2012 model, Roger Yasukawa, manager of product communications for Mitsubishi Motors North America, told PluginCars.com. The 2012 model sells for $29,900 before incentives.
While many automakers are issuing ambitious launch schedules for assorted plug-in electric vehicle models, Mitsubishi Motors is struggling to figure out what it wants to do. In fact, PluginCars.com would like to give our readers an update on where Mitsu’s EV program in going—but the Japanese automaker won’t be able to provide that info until late fall, according to Mitsubishi Motors North America spokesman Roger Yasukawa.
In January, I bought the all-electric subcompact Mitsubishi i-MiEV. The main motivation was the fact that my wife and I needed a second car to help haul around our five grandchildren. At first, the purchase seemed like a lot of money to spend on a second car—even more than on our main car, a Toyota Prius, that we bought new in 2004. But it’s been a good investment.
Problems continue to mount for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, with news that the Japanese automaker’s electric-powered sedan is being recalled due to a flaw with its braking system. The problem has been traced to an electrical pump that feeds air to the brake booster. Should the pump malfunction, it would take considerably more force on the brake pedal to bring the car to a stop, and stopping distances would subsequently be far greater than normal.
I liked a lot of things about the I-MiEV, but there’s a major range issue. After 31.3 miles of around-town driving, where electrics should be strongest, I was getting a blinking fuel gauge and three miles of range left. The car is supposed to have 62 miles of travel, says the EPA, and I’ve seen anecdotal evidence that some people have gotten that and more, but probably in California. Others, including some of PlugInCars.com's own testers, have seen similar results to mine.
For a car that looks like it came from outer space, the jellybean-shaped Mitsubishi “i” has gone almost unnoticed in the EV market. Sales have been low to the point of almost non-existence. Only 33 units found buyers for all of July. Sales in June were still tepid (at 366 units), even for a vehicle that’s targeting a niche segment of the automotive market. A safety recall for faulty airbag sensors and early lackluster performance at the annual Pike’s Peak hillclimb haven’t added luster to the i. Does the Mitsubishi stand a chance, or is the i only spinning its wheels in a rapidly evolving EV market?
Movies show police cars doing all kinds of high-speed stunts, but the daily routine of police vehicles is much less exciting and energy consuming. The average day is more commonly spent cruising at 30 mph, or at even lower speeds. That's perfectly suited to an electric car. Some private security services have been using low-speed EVs for few years in fairgrounds or industrial areas, but several Europeans police forces are now officially experimenting with electric cars.