Mitsubishi has, to put it politely, been doing terribly in the United States. And, yes, ‘terrible’ is the most polite way to put that. In fact, Mitsubishi shipped less than 15 of its i-MiEV electric cars last month. That is impressively bad, especially considering the upsurge in interest in EVs.
Well, at least the boys at Mitsubishi aren’t going down with out a fight. Mitsubishi is dropping the price of the i-MiEV a staggering $6,130, or more than 20 percent of the car’s previous price. When combined with the $7,500 federal tax credit for buying an EV, the total price to the customer comes down to just $15,495. That’s almost four grand less than one of the i-MiEV’s closest competitor, the Chevy Spark EV. If you live in California, the news is even better because you can tack on an additional $2,500 state tax rebate.
But, in the language of the late night infomercial, “That’s not all folks!” You also get more kit as standard, including some things that they really shouldn’t be proud of, like rear door speakers. Sorry guys, but my 1982 Volvo 240 had those as standard, even if they didn’t work by the time I got the car.
In all seriousness, you do get the sort of interior trim and features that you would expect as standard on more expensive cars. Things like a leather trimmed steering wheel and heated side view mirrors may not wow you, but they add to the feel of a well appointed vehicle.
Probably the best of the new standard features are a CHAdeMO DC quick charge port and charge port lamp that helps you smoothly connect the charging cable.
The i-MiEV’s running gear remains unchanged. It features the same smallish 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor. These are good for a moderate EPA rated range of 62 miles and decent, if unimpressive, performance.
Even if the i-MiEV isn’t the most advanced or capable EV, it is now one of the most affordable. Whether or not that translates into higher sales is anyone’s guess, but at least Mitsubishi is giving it a good chance.