By on November 9, 2010

The strange looking vehicle on the right is a European-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV, a 63 HP, 75-100 mile-range electric vehicle. The strange looking vehicle on the left is a US-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV, specially “improved” for the US audience. USA Today puts it best, reporting

The iMiEV for the U.S. will be — surprise, surprise — bigger than the ones it sells in Japan and Europe. That’s because Americans are fatter.

In case you’d forgotten. No word on just how much bigger the i-MiEV needed to become in order to “meet the expectations of U.S. consumers,” but considering the apparent necessity of grafting on a slack-jawed underbite, one hopes the difference is noticeable on the inside. We’ll find out for sure at the LA Auto show, but in the meantime, hit the jump to find out what we hope doesn’t grow as the i-MiEV slips into something a little more American.

Now, we want to make it clear that direct price comparisons between markets are always problematic, but if you add back the £5k government grant and convert the i-MiEV’s price to dollars you get something like $46,000. For the equivalent of 63 horsepower and a sub-100 mile range and, apparently, a tiny interior. Everything sells at a price, but unless the US-spec i-MiEV stickers for considerably less than its European cousins, it’s hard to see this little EV going anywhere. Mitsubishi may regret spending the money to”Americanize” this electric city car.

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26 Comments on “Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Plus-Sized For America...”

  • avatar

    $40K PLUS ? For THIS ?!
    They.Have. GOT. To.Be.Kidding.
    This thing will be rarer than a 1960 Edsel at that price.

  • avatar

    Not optimistic for the success – it reminds me of the GEM electric vehicles from a few years back (which I think got rolled into Chrysler?).  Even if it is more car, it still looks too much like a nice golf cart.
    Of course the Prius looked odd too.  It didn’t cost this much money though.

  • avatar

    Americans aren’t fatter…People in Japan and Europe are weak, obidient, and spiritless runts.

  • avatar

    An electric Tata Nano, for the price of a Volt. What a bargain.

  • avatar

    Makes the Leaf look pretty good.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Mitsubishi is targeting a sub $30k US price, before the $7500 tax credit: net US price: $22,500.
    I sat in the narrow non-US version in Paris, and it’s quite roomy. With the added width, this may well be roomier than the Leaf, because it’s so tall.

  • avatar

    “but if you add back the £5k government grant”
    UK car prices are normally quoted “on-the-road”; inclusive of delivery, prep and 20% VAT. So you’d need to take off at least £5k again before you do any meaningful currency conversion.

  • avatar

    I dont think anyone has ever accused USA Today of being inflammatory so let me be the first – saying the US version of this car is larger than the Japanese and European versions  because Americans “are fatter” is a bit over the top.  Americans may on average be physically larger than Japanese citizens and may spend more time on freeways than in European cities with very narrow streets, all of which may rationally contribute to a preference for larger cars.  To lump this preference under fat, FAT! is a bit unfair

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, but not unfair according to Wiki:
      and these guys:

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t believe that sco is saying that Americans aren’t fat.
      I think his point wass that it is inflammatory to say that Mitsibishi tweaked the i-MEV specifically because Americans are a bunch of fatsos- all the while ignoring that buyers in the United States have preferred larger vehicles to their Japanese and European counterparts since forever.

    • 0 avatar

      Americans aren’t fat, and I’ll sit on and crush anyone who says otherwise.

  • avatar

    Americans are still stuck on the “small car = small price” narrative.  Especially when it’s small AND weird.  The Prius became as popular as it is because it’s a mid-sizer with the fuel economy of a Geo Metro and the upkeep of a Camry.  Americans also love having their cake AND eating it.

    Short of a horrific gas price spike or a displacement tax (say wud??), I have no hopes for this thing.  Not even the least.

  • avatar

    I wonder if other countries have citizens that berate themselves like the U.S.? I wonder if they could do so in a public place in front of other people and not get the snot beat out of them, or would they have to do so behind the safety of a computer?

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Sixty years ago, this would have been written as

    “The Mitsubishi must be adapted to US citizens, as Japanese people are generally the size of teenaged American girls and Europeans are accustomed to the meager accomodations they accord each other in POW camps during their so-called ‘wars’ which only last long enough to attract the attention of an inevitably victorious United States.”

    At 6’2″, 225lbs, and a 48″ suit jacket, I have no trouble fitting in a Japanese MIEV.

  • avatar

    I only see fatter and uglier bumpers. The proportions/size seems to be the same.
    I call bullshit on the plus-sized argument, gorditos.

  • avatar

    this would have to be sub 20k before someone would give it a serious look.

  • avatar

    The Fit/Jazz sold overseas is shorter than our Fit, due to different bumper standards (though if hit head-on by a Sequoia I fail to see the point of a couple inches more bumper). Similarly, it looks as though the i-MiEV’s chin has been revised to meet US safety standards.

    If the Versa’s segment dominance is any indication, Americans want roominess in their cars, no matter the size. Personally, the smaller the cockpit, the closer and more connected to the road (and safer) I feel. I’ve also had six-footers in the back of my Civic DX who didn’t complain once about a lack of space. The JDM market i-MiEV is likely far roomier in the back than that.

    It’s a shame that no matter what this will cost, it will cost too much due to the EV powertrain. Mitsubishi is making their gamble worse by not offering the 660cc MIVEC I3, with a more palatable price, to compete with the likes of the Smart and upcoming Scion iQ and Chevy Spark.

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    Come on you saggy-arsed chubsters! Eat a bit less red meat, try a few more veggies, stop eating portions meant for two people, have a gap in between meals and snacks that would allow the minute-hand to do a few laps of your wrist, and try getting your heart rate up a bit with some healthy exercise. Do your bit for global warming AND your own well-being :-D
    And yes, this is a skinny-butt European Troll (but still good advice all the same).

  • avatar

    No way this thing flies in the US market. No way.
    As someone who worked for Mitsubishi, I wonder why they keep bothering and struggling so dutifully in the U.S. Their real forte has always been innovation in engine/powertrain technology.
    The EV powertrain is a perfect example of something that can be scaled by a manufacturer with better production/marketing. Why not become the modern equivalent of Lycoming or Continental, and sell this stuff to the companies without the werewithal or lack of corporate red tape to do it themselves?

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