Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car Set to Arrive Early, Updated in Other Markets

We won’t get the Mitsubishi i electric car until later this year, but that isn’t stopping the automaker from updating its EV in Japan and other markets (where it’s named  the i-MiEV).  The refreshed i-MiEV will now be sold under a two-pronged model lineup, which includes a cheaper version and a long-range version.

According to a report by Reuters, the low-priced “M” model, priced at 2.60 million yen ($32,000 with current exchange rates), will be equipped with a reduced-capacity lithium-ion battery and will travel up to 120 km (75 miles) on a single charge. The previous model had a sticker price of 3.98 million yen (about $49,000) and had a range of 160 km (100 miles).

Customers willing to pay extra for added range can now opt for the “G” model, which will cost 3.80 million yen ($46,972) and can travel 160 km (110 miles) on a single charge. Subsidies from the Japanese government significant reduce the costs. The price of the “M” model, for example, goes down to 1.88 million yen ($23,239) when subsidies are taken into account.

During a news conference, Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko stated that the i-MiEV’s lower price is attributed to cheaper batteries, which now cost approximately 50 percent less than they did two years ago.

But while the rest of the world enjoys the choice between two Mitsubishi EVs, our source at Mitsubishi has confirmed that the U.S. will only get one model. In order to better suit American consumers, our verision will be slightly larger than the foreign i-MiEV, and will be powered by a 63-hp, mid-mounted motor that will send power to the rear wheels.

Mitsubishi also states that the U.S. spec will received a revamped management and regenerative braking system that should boost efficiency by 20 percent. Due to the upgrades, the EPA has increased the i Electric’s range to 98 miles (EPA LA4 cycle), up from 85 miles on a single charge. The automaker is pricing it at $27,990, but the $7,500 federal tax credit brings the cost down to $20,490. Mitsubishi also says the i Electric will arrive on our shores this November, which is a few months ahead of its originally scheduled U.S. launch.

Source: Reuters, Mitsubishi