By on August 6, 2017

2014 i-MiEV Aqua

It’s always a little sad to see an existing model discontinued. Well, almost always. Mitsubishi is taking the hint and officially killing the unloved i-MiEV — something we are willing to bet isn’t going to inspire an abundance of heartache within the driving community.

Despite being a pioneering electric car (and kind of cute), the i-MiEV was never what one might consider a volume vehicle. Since 2015, North America had frequently seen months where the little Mitsubishi couldn’t even break out of the single digit sales bracket. Last year, Canada sold a total of 86 units and the United States moved 94.

With a 62-mile range rating and one of the smallest interiors money can buy, it has always been poorly suited for the majority of American drivers’ needs and repeatedly slashing the price never made up the difference. While Nissan’s Leaf comes in almost $8,000 grand higher, $22,995 is still a lot to pay for something you don’t want — and nobody wanted an i-MiEV.

Speaking to Green Car ReportsMitsubishi Motors North America spokeswoman Erica Rasch confirmed that “2017 was the last model year for the i-MiEV, and all available retail units have been sold.”

It must have been a pretty short run, considering Mitsubishi only sold 6 cars so far this year in the United States.

Under leadership from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the Japanese automaker will now focus its EV efforts on the Outlander Plug-In hybrid — which is slated to hit dealerships in the first quarter of 2018.


[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

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35 Comments on “Mitsubishi Puts the i-MiEV Out of its Misery...”

  • avatar

    I wonder how hard it would be to do a Mirage EV. Range similar to Bolt (less than the new Leaf or Outlander to assert its place), lowest EV price, zippier car due to being smaller. The Prius C to the Outlander’s Prius, I believe that analogy is appropriate.

    Yes, its more crude, but so is an ICE Mirage compared to a/an ________. Anyway, at least this way the rough 3 pot would be banished, replaced by a flow of smooth torque from a electric motor.

    • 0 avatar

      What market advantage would a Mirage EV provide anyone? The car is already dirt-cheap (I’m retailing a ’17 ES hatch w/9500 miles for $9800 to someone…AND I’m making a good buck on it), gets exceptional mileage, and is very low-key in terms of maintenance. Its truly a Schick razor – use and toss. Why saddle it with a battery pack?

      • 0 avatar

        If it had near the range of the Bolt, but at a lower price, it could provide an alternative in the burgeoning affordable-EV-with-usable-range market. No, it isn’t a Model 3, but it could be a cheap entry into that club, and work for more people than the i-MiEV ever did.

        I certainly didn’t mean to imply it would replace the ICE Mirage. I wouldn’t do that, this would be an EV version, a car to give Mitsubishi an entry and advantage (price) in that segment.

        The i-MiEV failed because it’s range is miserable, and it really is too small inside. The Mirage is more livable with more interior room. i-MiEV only made sense for a few people. A lot fewer people than were needed to make a case for itself.

        Technology has come a long way since the i-MiEV, and with partner Nissan, Mitsubishi could create a subsection of longer range (250ish miles) EVs at the bottom of the market. That was the idea.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The benchmark for new EVs is a range of 200+ miles, which just about requires a dedicated platform designed as an EV. The Mirage isn’t big enough to carry a battery pack that large.

      The MiEV was a typical Japanese kei car retrofitted with a electric drive, so most Americans would be put off by it regardless of the drivetrain.

  • avatar

    The iMiev would work as a daily driver commuter car for us but $22K is pretty steep when I can buy a $1500 Chevy sedan that looks presentable and has working a/c.

    Maybe on the used market…

    NADA search shows many 2012 for sale. $8K will buy one.

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi’s problem with their non-SUV lineup is – and has – been that the cars look like abject junk.

    The ’14-16 Mirage looked like a food stamp.

    This thing looked like you’re going to issue someone a parking ticket.

    Plus, the irony of a vehicle whose range is eclipsed by your home’s distance from the nearest Mitsubishi dealership is the icing on the cake.

  • avatar

    I was going to make it seven! Nooooooooo!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    When I had my Leaf, I attended the local EV drive-in event in Pittsburgh once.

    A kid there took us on a ride in his i-MiEV. It was a cramped, wretched little car, but at least I appreciated the straight-forward controls, unlike the 12 Leaf.

    The i-MiEV should have been killed off years ago. You drove one if you wanted to make a statement of some sort, but I’m not sure what that statement was.

    It’s a car you almost have to pay someone to drive. A used one shouldn’t go for more than $6k, IMO.

    • 0 avatar

      It would have sold better if it just had a decent name. You can’t tell your friend, “Hey, check out my new car. It’s an iMiEV!”
      “What the hell is an eye-me-ev?”

      Calling it the Mitsubishi Dung Beetle would have been an improvement.

  • avatar

    Aside from the fact that it wasn’t a very good car, it wasn’t something Mitsubishi dealers should have been selling. Or could have been selling. Or wanted to be selling.

    Mitsubishi sells to low-end buyers. People who want a BMW X3, but can only afford (and be financed for) an Outlander Sport.

    An EV is a second car, a toy for the well-to-do. People with good credit lease EV. That’s not who Mitsubishi dealers are accustomed to dealing with.

    • 0 avatar

      @eggsalad: An EV is a second car, a toy for the well-to-do

      Damn, I’m such an idiot. I got it totally backward and bought ICE cars as toys and an EV for the daily driver. I must have some sort of dyslexia.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have never seen one of these on the road. I have seen a few Leafs and a few Volts even an occasion Tesla. Mitsubishi has been a dead brand walking for a number of years. Curious to see what Nissan can add to Mitsubishi or will Mitsubishi just disappear into Nissan/Renault.

    • 0 avatar

      You see i-MeEV’s occasionally in Vancouver. Leafs and Volts regularly. Even that BMW thing. Teslas, 2-4 every time you drive.

      • 0 avatar

        In northwest suburban Chicago there’s two within blocks of me. One is owned by someone who always has a bunch of different cars in the driveway, including race cars, trailers, etc., so a gearhead/enthusiast. The other is driven by the co-owner of a independent bicycle shop in a strip mall. He parks it in a prominent place near the shop, likely knowing that its odd looks will attract the eye and (hopefully) get people to notice the shop itself. Plus there’s a consistent “green” statement and all that.

        When it first came out I visited our local Mitsubishi dealer and sat in their only example. A salesperson later approached — I said I was just looking and there was no further pressure from him, no offer of a test drive, no explanation of the car’s features, etc. This dealer is part of a group that has three marques next to one another: Chevy (legacy since the 1970s), Mazda, and Mitsubishi. If Mitsubishi ever folds I imagine they’ll dedicate that space for used car sales or overflow of new inventory for the Chevy store.

        I think the sentiment expressed above — that an EV is a second car or toy for folks who are well-off — is accurate. An EV would fit my elderly mother’s driving profile: she only drives in our town (for grocery/shopping runs) and the adjoining one (for church and to do volunteer work at the hospital), and she has a one-car garage attached to her house, but I simply couldn’t imagine her dealing with the non-traditional nature of an EV. Her current car is nearly old enough to vote, and she’s spoken of buying a new(er) vehicle in the near future, but I think she’ll ultimately settle upon another ICE-powered sedan.

    • 0 avatar

      Here in Miami, where people are pretty much desperate for any car that differentiates them from the herd, I see a Tesla maybe every other time I hit the road.

      The next most common car is the Leaf, but I would say that for every 50 Teslas I maybe see one Leaf.

      Curiously enough, I see Fisker Karmas with about the same frequency as Leafs. There is one Karma that has a very distinct car wrap that I see all the time. So I am probably seeing the same 2-3 cars over and over but I definitely notice it more often than the Leaf. I’m pretty sure this is a result of the desperation of Miami drivers to have something unique. The Karma is, I believe, one of the worst cars ever made and yet it has high visibility here thanks to the attractive styling.

      I’ve only seen a couple of Volts, but to be fair it may be that the generic GM style just doesn’t catch my eye.

      I don’t think I’ve seen any other EVs.

      So I don’t know about sales numbers, but in terms of what electric cars are actually used and on the road, Tesla has by far the leading market share.

      • 0 avatar

        I was in Miami last month celebrating our wedding anniversary and among all the cool high-end vehicles milling about I saw my first-ever McLaren on the street. I congratulated myself for knowing what it was when I saw it approach in my rearview mirrors.

        As for us, we had a cool Volkswagen Beetle convertible as a rental. I had reserved a compact car and we were originally assigned a Sentra. My enterprising wife saw the Beetle nearby (we were at the airport) and asked the Avis rep what he could do about upgrading us: they gave us the Beetle for the same cost!

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    In 20 years, these old EV drivetrains will make great go kart conversions.

  • avatar

    They sold 6 and all available retail units are gone? Were they on the “sell one, build one” plan?

  • avatar

    I think the headline should read, “Mitsubishi puts the i-MiEV out of OUR misery.

  • avatar

    While I still think Leaf is a stupid name for a car (and I drive one), this has to be one of the worst named cars ever (besides every random 3 letter combo Cadillac can crp out and BMW with their X5-Xdrive-X somethings). Eye-my-eee-vee? eye-me-ev? Eye-meeev?

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, iMiEV isn’t the greatest name. They started work on it in 2006 and 2007. If I’m not mistaken, Hellcat was available, so they totally missed their chance on a great name. :^). Then again, I think a lot of Mitsubishi branded products went to their demise due to something call Hellcat in the 1940s, so it might not have been such a good name for them.

      • 0 avatar

        “Hellcat was available”

        Mitsu decided against that name when testing revealed that the prototype wouldn’t reliably catch on fire…

      • 0 avatar

        I see what you did there.
        Plenty of Wildcats were splashed by Mitsubishis in the 1940s too.

        In fact, maybe they should have aimed for the moniker “Reisen”, as it seems to have generated zero interest, and practically zero sales.

        I’ve pretty much given up on defending Mitsubishi, their sales and marketing strategy simply eludes me (if there even is one).

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      Peugeot’s badge engineered version is called the Ion which is much better.

  • avatar

    Every year I expect Mitsubishi to withdraw from the US market, but they march on, somehow, dragging a dead leg and smelling of failure.

  • avatar

    I remain baffled why Nissan doesn’t pull the plug on the brand in the US entirely, and just service the remaining customers out of Nissan service departments.

    Every Mitsubishi dealership I see looks like a place where a chain goes to punish their worst performers (or maybe it’s a form of hazing for new salesmen… “You can’t work for Land Rover sales until you sell at least four Mitsubishi’s to buyers with a credit score over 700.”) Every Mitsu dealership I see is the saddest and most neglected building in a chain, like the Used Car annex for a long-defunct brand like Oldsmobile, and some don’t even have service bays. (One local Mitsu dealer apparently leases a couple bays from a nearby independent garage as their “service department”; I can only imagine the “Parts Department” is a shed in the parking lot or something.)

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma says there is still 1 for sale in Colorado, if anyone has a burning desire for one of these “things”.

  • avatar

    The only surprise here is that dealers were still selling these; I thought they’d stopped years ago. IIRC, even back then, they were trying to unload these at fire sale prices, chopping something like $8000 off MSRP and they ‘still’ couldn’t get any takers.

    With an absurdly short range, as well as a very long charge time, these didn’t make a whole lot of sense, even as a short range, second urban car. Even in one of those planned, senior retirement communities, a much cheaper electric golf cart would be a better buy, mainly because that could be driven on the myriad cart paths that litter those places. With an i-MiEV, although it would be enclosed and, presumably, have HVAC, you’d have to fight the normal traffic like everyone else.

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