Video: Mitsubishi Shows Off Americanized "i" Electric Car, Drops "-MiEV" From Name

By · November 22, 2010

Mitsubishi i MiEV for the United States

Just so you Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt enthusiasts out there don't forget, Mitsubishi is also bringing an electric vehicle to the U.S—a car now known simply as the "i." Sure it will hit the market a year later—much like the Ford Focus Electric—but the company has gone to great pains to make sure the car formerly known as the i-MiEV will fit the American market—quite literally.

Mitsubishi used the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show last week as the official launch platform for the i. The car is longer and wider than the i-MiEV designed for the Japanese market which was required for the vehicle to both meet U.S. safety regulations and also provide more comfort to the average-sized American—we're a large bunch of people, let's face it. Mitsubishi is targeting a price around $30,000 before any incentives—about $3,000 less than its closest competitor the LEAF. On the sidelines of the LA Auto Show, Moe Durand, a Mitsubishi representative, told me that the final price will depend in large part on how strongly the Yen is doing compared to the Dollar when the i hits the U.S. market next year, given that the i will be manufactured in Japan.

With targeted sales of only 20,000 units by 2015, Mitsubishi is not intending to dominate the market like Nissan. The company is positioning the i as a niche supplementary vehicle for commuting in the city. Although the i will retain the same motor and battery pack that the Japanese-spec i-MiEV has, Mitsubishi says that it is still targeting about an 85 mile range (based on the LA-4 test cycle) and will be able to achieve that with software upgrades alone.

Mitsubishi i MiEV for the United States

I had a chance to chat with Nissan's North American Emissions Specialist, Dave Patterson, at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto show. Our conversation mostly covered the special treatment the U.S. has received when it comes to redesigning the i for our market, but, as Patterson says in the video below, this is just the start for Mitsubishi and every region that gets the i will be getting some kind of regional variation.

Nick Chambers of talks with Mitsubishi's Dave Patterson about the changes the i-MiEV recieved prior to a launch on the U.S. market.

And don't worry, for those of you that are saddened to see the "-MiEV" disappear from the i's name, it hasn't completely gone away. "MiEV" will be used by Mitsubishi to designate a sub-brand name that all of its plug-in vehicles from now on will carry—if you look closely at the photos you might still spot it on the rear of the car.

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