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

By · December 03, 2013

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

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 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.

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