Mitsubishi wants to attack one of the biggest problems of EVs: Their lofty price. Mitsu’s i-MiEV EV retails for 3.98 million yen ($49,200). Government subsidies will slash a million (yen) off that price. Converted to dollars, that $36,900, still steep. The Nissan Leaf costs 3.76 million yen ($46,500) before subsidies and sells much better than the Mitsumobile. Now, Mitsubishi wants to lop a million yen off the i-MiEV’s sticker price.
“The planned vehicle is expected to be the least expensive electric passenger car in Japan,” writes The Nikkei [sub]. After subsidies, the EV will costs the Japanese buyer less than 2 million yen ($24,700).
Where do the big savings come from? From a punier battery. The existing model is good for 160km (100 miles) per battery charge. The new model will go only 120km (75 miles). The Nissan Leaf claims a range of 100 miles.
If you are in the market for an i-MiEV, save your ticket to Tokyo. U.S. prices are much lower. The 2012 i-MiEV will carry a base MSRP price of $27,990, before the Federal $7,500 EV tax credit and state incentives. In states like California and Hawaii that dole out extra government money, the effective i-MiEV price could be as low as $15,500.
Nissan will most likely pick up that gauntlet and throw it right back. And what we’ll get is the first round of the EV up-sell wars: “Now, Sir, may I write you down for the bigger battery? We don’t want your wife to run out of juice in a bad neighborhood, right?”