Mitsubishi started production of the European-spec model of its i-MiEV electric vehicle Wednesday to maintain its lead over rivals in a non-existing market segment expected to grow rapidly. At the same time, Mitsu started production of the iOn, which is an i-MiEV, rebadged for PSA Peugeot Citroen.
According to The Nikkei [sub], the iOn needed “changes from the Japanese version to meet European safety standards.” Let’s hope that the Euro-spec i-MiEV received the same changes, otherwise it will be DOA.
Mitsubishi plans to manufacture the breathtaking number of 5,000 European-spec i-MiEVs and iOn in fiscal 2010, which ends in March 2011.
Mitsubishi Motors has what the Nikkei calls “ambitious production growth targets for the electric car.” They want to sell 18,000 in fiscal 2011 and over 40,000 in fiscal 2012. Following that, Mitsu hopes to boost the output above 55,000 as quickly as possible. Last year, they made 2000. Dream on.
Speaking of dreams, here are Mitsubishi’ nightmares: In December, Nissan will launch its Leaf electric car in Japan and the U.S. If there is even mild eye-movement in Europe, a European version by Renault is a given. Then there is Toyota and their Tesla play. And finally, there is a market that doesn’t necessarily scream for pure plug-ins. In Europe, even Hybrids didn’t make a dent in the market.