Mitsubishi EV has an advantage over the competition.
Unless you are closely following the EV market, you may not have known that Mitsubishi sells such a model. That model, the i-MiEV, has been on the market longer than the better-known Nissan LEAF, but it is only sold in Japan and Europe, while the LEAF is sold in the United States and Europe as well as Japan. Introduced in the summer of 2009, nearly 18 months before the LEAF, the Mitsubishi EV recently eclipsed 10,000 units sold, some 1,500 more than the LEAF and its brother Renault.
Electric Vehicle Sales
Mitsubishi plans to eventually sell its electric vehicle in the US and has forecast global sales of 25,000 units for next year, including sales stemming from its French partner, Peugeot-Citroen. In particular, the Mitsubishi EV has dropped in price as the Japanese automaker has developed an entry-level “M” version that is priced at around $ 32,000, comparable to the Nissan LEAF. In addition, the automaker has developed a second extended-range model that allows it to go 110 miles between charges. Mitsubishi hasn’t said whether both models will be available in the United States when it goes on sale in 2012.
The bragging rights of electric vehicles are at stake as Mitsubishi and Nissan try to beat Japanese and global competitors by dominating the market. The Chevrolet Volt is not considered a direct competitor, as this vehicle uses a supplemental gasoline engine once its 35-mile pure electric range has been exhausted. Still, the appeal of the Volt is that it can be driven long distances and quickly refueled with gasoline to extend its range. Once idle, the Volt can be recharged, allowing it to run on electrical power again.
With a federal tax credit of $ 7,500, a Mitsubishi i-MiEV sold in the United States would cost around $ 24,500 after the credit has been taken. Some states, including California, offer a $ 5,000 rebate, meaning that Golden State owners would pay around $ 19,500 for their vehicles, which is roughly $ 4,000 less than a hybrid Toyota Prius.
One feature not found in electric vehicles but being explored is making it possible for these models to contribute electricity to homes, wherever they are plugged in. This feature is important as it would allow the car to provide much-needed electricity in the event of a power outage. Japan’s devastating 9.1 earthquake in March 2011 proved such a feature would be useful as much of northeastern Japan was without power for days, even weeks after the disaster.
Other manufacturers with an electric vehicle presence include Ford, which sells a Transit Connect truck to fleets, and the upcoming battery-electric Ford Focus. Expect most manufacturers to offer at least one model in the next few years, providing these companies with a vehicle to help meet even more stringent federal fuel economy requirements.