It's been an entertaining week of pure electric motoring with Mitsubishi's i-MiEV, and I believe it has even converted a few R&T people who were at best indifferent about EVs. A tidy city car, as you can read from the . Here in this final blog, I'll share some inside info gleaned from chatting with Mitsubishi's Moe Durand.
As I already mentioned, the . The car gets European availability in the fall of this year. We'll see our "wide-body" version at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Thus far, we know it'll be very similar to the current car, but for a 15-cm (just about 6 in.) widening, primarily in meeting our side-impact regulations but also reflecting the typical physique of us `Mericans. As the wheelbase and overall length are likely to be preserved, there's no reason to believe the car will lose any of its exemplary maneuverability. (And as Bert and others noted, tidy maneuverability is key in the .)
Our wide-body version will be available, sale or lease, in the autumn of 2011. Of course it's too early to talk price, but Mitsubishi realizes it's not going to be the mass marketer of EVs. Nissan has already thrown down the gauntlet in that respect. But Mitsubishi most definitely see itself as a strong player in the city-hip EV niche. Pricing rumors have our wide-body below $30,000. Hence, playing the patience-until-next-year's-tax-time card, as everyone else does, we can cite an effective price of around $22,500 after the federal $7500 EV tax credit. And, while we're at it, I'll mention our current California $5000 EV spiff that would bring the car well below $20K.
Now that's talking!
Last, with all due respect for Japanese marketers, I'd come up with a more simple moniker than "i-MiEV." Why not use the home-market kei name, "i"? Or, for the U.S. version, "Wide-i"?
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