Mitsubishi Drops Electric i-MiEV Price By $6,130

By · December 03, 2013

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.

Update (12/4/13): The Mitsubishi i-MiEV will now start at $22,995, which reflects a $6,130 price reduction from the previous generation. After considering the federal tax credit of $7,500, the net MSRP of the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV drops to $15,495, by far the least expensive electric car on the market.

The 2014 model will be very similar to the 2012 model but “many of the features of the higher trim level will become standard,” said Yasukawa. The 2014 i-MiEV will arrive in the U.S. in late March or early April, he said.

One of the most significant changes in the 2014 model is that the DC quick-charging port will be standard on the 2014 i-MiEV. It was a $700 option on the 2012 model.

The 240V Level 2 charging capacity will be unchanged on the 2014 model and carry the same 3.3 kW on-board charger, which takes seven hours to recharge from empty to full.

However, there is an important addition to the 120V, or Level 1, charging capability on the 2014 model. It will have cord with a switch that allows the owner to manually choose between 8 amp and 12 amp charging. Previously only 8 amp charging was available. Using 12 amps rather than 8 amps cuts the 120V charging time from 22.5 hours to 14 hours, said Yasukawa. “It does reduce the charging time significantly,” he said.

For drivers in colder climes, standard on the 2014 model will be a passenger seat warmer, a battery warming system, and heated side view mirrors. The i-MiEV will be available at all EV-certified Mitsubishi dealerships in the U.S., said Yasukawa. About 230 of Mitsubishi’s 400 U.S. dealerships have EV certification, he said.

Mitsubishi's Electric Roadmap

The i-MiEV has been a slow seller in the U.S. Indeed, Mitsubishi skipped releasing a 2013 model i-MiEV and dealerships still have some supply of 2012 models. There has been speculation that the i-MiEV will be phased out and perhaps replaced by a model produced through Mitsubishi’s partnership with Renault and Nissan. That partnership was announced in early November. But, said Yasukawa, “no formal decision has been made as to what the successor” to the i-MiEV will be.

A clue to whether or not the i-MiEV will have a successor might be that in Mitsubishi’s new mid-term business plan only six new strategic vehicles are planned starting in fiscal year 2015, and a small full-electric vehicle is not among that group. The vehicles are: The Pajero Sport, the Delica D:5, the Pajero, the Outlander Sport, a compact SUV PHEV, and a large SUV PHEV.

Meanwhile, U.S. consumers are still waiting for news of when the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will be available here. Mitsubishi initially said the Outlander PHEV would be available in the U.S. this year. But the U.S. launch has been delayed by robust demand in Europe and Japan, said Yasukawa. Mitsubishi has received more than 10,000 orders in Europe for the SUV since December 2012, the company says.

The Outlander PHEV launched in The Netherlands in late October and will be launched in various other European markets in coming months. The PHEV launched in Japan in early 2013. But production was halted in March after a battery meltdown. The problem was traced to a defective screening process at supplier Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa.

Mitsubishi will start the planning for a U.S. launch soon, said Yasukawa. The vehicle is produced in Japan and there are currently no plans to produce the Outlander PHEV or the i-MiEV in the U.S. because the battery supplier is in Japan, he added.

Comments

· · 20 weeks ago

Thank you for this report, Alysha. Excellent news overall.
And thanks, as well, for giving us a proper picture of the car. :-)

· · 20 weeks ago

Well they've been pretty much giving them away to state & local governments lately. It was a pioneering car when launched due to the low price. But now it is outmatched by rivals and is just an under-batteried quirky little car.

· · 20 weeks ago

Great news, i take it as no longer a compliance car,reduced price. They will make very good city drinking car and should start to sell. But still need to work on those batteries (size).

· · 20 weeks ago

I'm glad to see Mitsubishi staying with this car. I've owned my i-MiEV for 18 months now and drive it M-F 90 kilometers every day for my commute, most of which is highway. Being under-batteried is merely a perception, its all in how you drive it. BTW - the i-MiEV was never a compliance car - its always been available in all states and Canada.

· · 20 weeks ago

I must caution you i-MiEV lovers that this is likely the last model year for the vehicle. What else is Mitsu gonna make with Renault and Nissan if not the replacement?

· · 20 weeks ago

I dunno, Spec. I found my time with one (a two week loan from a friend) to be enjoyable. It actually has more useful cargo space than either a Leaf or Volt. The one bulky item we constantly have to cart around in my household is my son's solid shell cello case and this proved to be an easier fit in the i-MiEV than the other two popular EVs. The lack of "luxury" gadgetry inside the cockpit appealed to me, but that could be a deal killer for folks who like playing with that stuff. Range is an issue, of course, but it's really no worse than a Leaf.

Actually, I could deal with even less range than is provided by the standard lithium cells. There is an optional battery available only in Japanese i-MiEVs (perhaps in Europe as well,) the lithium titanate (LTO) formula Toshiba SCiB . . .

http://www.toshiba.com/ind/product_display.jsp?id1=821

. . . which is far more resistant to heat degradation and charges much quicker. The downside of LTOs is that the voltage per cell is only 2.4V (vs. 3.6V on almost all other lithium types.) Amperage per cell of comparable size is also lower overall. Hence, a comparable sized pack is going to have less energy density. But they are among the most bullet-proof of current generation lithium batteries. I'd happily give up 15 miles of range if the car could be parked on a blacktop lot on a 110° day AND quick charged multiple times during that same scorching 24 hour period without killing the pack. LTOs, apparently, are capable of handling this sort of abuse.

Here is more on the LTO cells. I have 5 of these Huahui1300mAh 18650s shown on this page on my benchtop now . . .

http://www.batteryspace.com/Lithium-Titanate-Battery.aspx

. . . which I plan to build into a a 12V pack and mate with a 20W PV panel for portable - and heat-proof - car camping power.

Back to the car . . .

The good news, jah (as MLucas notes,) is that the i-MiEV was never a compliance car to begin with. Mitsubishi doesn't have the extended dealer network enjoyed by the larger Japanese OEMs, but they're out there beyond the Golden State. Nearest one to Tucson is Phoenix, about a hundred miles away. At least two i-MiEVs have made it down here and can be spotted among the many Leafs and Volts tooling around.

· · 20 weeks ago

This is great news! Something to look forward for tomorrow!

· · 20 weeks ago

@MLucas. The I-MiEV was/is available at certified dealerships. So if there is such a dealership in all states then you are correct.

· · 20 weeks ago

Outlander PHEV would be a hot seller in the US.

I don't understand Mitsubishi's marketing decision....

· · 20 weeks ago

Hey . . . how about an i-MiEV with thin film batteries and a range of 370 miles by 2015? . . .

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57614443-76/sekisui-chemical-claims-ch...

In the mean time, it looks as if the spring 2014 relaunched i-MiEV drops $6,130 off previous full list, making it $22,995 before incentives.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-2014-mitsubishi-i-miev-more-standar...

· · 20 weeks ago

If that price reduction is accurate, then this will go from a quirky, overpriced, fun to drive EV to a truly affordable, fun to drive, quirky EV. Mitsubishi made some legitimate upgrades, and the addition of QC as standard is a great idea.When/if QC's are seen here on the East Coast, one will be able to take longer trips with less worry about getting stranded. The upgraded charging cable is an absolute no brainer. For those like me who use 110V at home charging almost exclusively, I wish that my current I-MiEV had this. I rarely get to almost zero on my battery. But certainly there have been times when I did not take the "I" out for a drive because I just didn't have enough range.Going from 3.75 miles per hour to 5.5 may not seem like much but that means 16.5 miles in 3 hours versus a little over 10. Often I come home from work with about 1/2 battery and decided against taking the car because I needed a full battery(for mental comfort) for ther next day. So, getting 2/3 full in an overnight is my norm. This small change is much more beneficial than it might seem to those who have 240V charging. Yes, I would have liked to see an onboard charger upgrade to 6.6, along with a bigger battery. But they have improved the car in a meaningful way and still dropped the price $6,000. This now a much more appealing car to a lot more people. Heck, $22K minus $7500 is in the area of $15K. That's the ticket!!!!
Lou

· · 20 weeks ago

Provided neither of us get magically unemployed, I foresee a possible conflict with an i-miev purchase: she wants red and I want white, budget says one or the other...maybe I can get her red tinted glasses.

· · 19 weeks ago

@Alysha: Oh my gosh! After weeks of trolling for clues after Mitsubishi's first "Yes, the i-MiEV is definitely coming back in 2014" statements, I turn my back for a couple of days tending to work and holiday/family matters, and big Mitsubishi EV news happens! More reaction later, but right up front thanks for the coverage (and I join @Ben in thanking you for using a correct picture of a NA-spec i-MiEV).

@BenBrown: You win - get her the glasses. There won't be a red i-MiEV; beyond basic black/silver/white, the only color is a nice metallic (dare one say LEAF-like) Aquamarine Blue.

· · 19 weeks ago

What makes this announcement so encouraging is that it provides some signs of intelligent life at Mitsubishi. When I heard the i-MiEV was returning, I was encouraged, but also a little worried. They were widely perceived to have missed the pricing window the first go-round and it wasn't clear they could afford to go any lower. Afford it or not, a price cut of at least $3.5k was needed, more like $5k. As it turned out, they blew those numbers away with a reduction of over $6k.

Consider all the things they got right when they (in declining order of importance):

- lowered the price to restore their price edge over LEAF to $7-8k, AND made the "upgrade" trim standard (including real stuff like alloy wheels, DRL/fog lights, and an upgraded sound system), eliminating the "base" trim level (because they'd already bottomed out the price). Considering the previous trim differential, the price cut is really more like $8k.

- affirmed that the car is coming back to all certified dealers, not restricted to CARB-following states (while this was never threatened, I was concerned about it if the sharply reduced price needed to achieve CA ZEV quotas resulted in unit losses)

- made CHAdeMO standard - HUGE win in EV-friendly states like CA; and in the context of the massive price cut, nobody can complain about being forced to pay for QC they can't use.

- made a number of useful small improvements that didn't require further engineering investment, e.g., lighted charger port, heated passenger seat, switchable 8/12A L1 EVSE to enable 14-hour L1 charging.

- replaced the idiosyncratic dark purple color with a more broadly appealing metallic blue (I assume Aquamarine Blue is the color we saw offered in Canada).

- resolved the "i with MiEV technology" vs. "i-MiEV" naming issue in favor of aligning with the global i-MiEV name. The "i" name was cute, but inconvenient in both writing and speech. Yes, "i-MiEV" is ugly, but at least it's a distinctive name whether written or spoken; "i" was so confusing that in speech it almost always became "i-Car" (which wouldn't have been a bad name except for the Apple problem). True, they would have done much better with a real name like "Freedom", "Current", "chAMP", etc. (heck, even the French came up with "iON"), but that ship's sailed.

* * * *

So, all great, great stuff, and all that EV lovers on a budget could ask for themselves. For those more broadly interested in the development of the EV market, there remain two big questions:

- Will Mitsubishi do at least minimal promotion/advertising? They didn't the first go-round, and the results were predictable. Nissan has not advertised the LEAF much, but they've made a point of including it in "brand identity" ads, and it's fair to say that most people at least know the car exists, however confused they might be about particulars. The i-MiEV can make no such claim - I've yet to meet a person that knew about the car before they saw mine.

- How many i-MiEVs will be available? This may seem an odd question for a car that only moved around 1000 units in its first MY, but a highway-capable EV with useful range, seating for four, a usable trunk, and a net price below $16k is pretty big news, and that may earn the i-MiEV a second look. If there winds up being some demand this time, the supply of batteries could become a real problem, with sales of profitable Outlander PHEVs in Japan and Europe being held up for want of the very same batteries that power the i-MiEV.

· · 19 weeks ago

Very nice synopsis Vike. I think the iMiev will make some kind of resurgence in 2014 similar to the bump in sales in early 2013 when the lease rates were dropped dramatically. Sales will be limited in equal parts by how much Mitsubishi markets the vehicle and how much gas prices increase. If at least one of those two things happen I think iMiev sales will be limited by supply, not demand. It's a quirky vehicle, but it's solid, useful, and economical, which will appeal to a lot of people - if they know about it.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. What Is An Electric Car?
    Before we get going, let's establish basic definitions.
  2. A Quick Guide to Plug-in Hybrids
    Some plug-in cars have back-up engines to extend driving range.
  3. Electric Cars Pros and Cons
    EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
  4. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  5. Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  6. Eight Factors Determining Total Cost of Ownership of an Electric Car
    EVs get bad rap as expensive. Until you look at TCO.
  7. Quick Guide to Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
  8. Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules
    With the right utility plan, electric fuel can be dirt cheap.
  9. The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
    If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).
  10. Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
    Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.