Mitsubishi, who completely missed the boat when they could have taken the market by storm with the i-MiEV, is struggling to keep up with the electric car market. The company has now announced that they’re initiating a “price war” against “high cost electric vehicles” and will be cutting down their i-MiEV’s price in order to make EVs more accessible.
That’s the hype. Now for the reality.
The i-MiEV is smaller, less mainstream, and less marketable than the Nissan Leaf. It was (formerly) priced at about $3,000 more than the MSRP for the base Leaf as well ($49,000 vs. $46,000) in Japan. So now, in order to compete, Mitsubishi is lowering the price of the i-MiEV to $37,000 (again, in Japan), which will be cheaper than the Leaf in that country.
But wait.. to make that price cut, they’re cutting batteries out of the little bug-like car too. DOH! So the new model at the cheaper price has 25 miles less range. Oops.
Here’s something hilarious. Here in the U.S., the Leaf sells for $33,000 and the i-MiEV (if you can find one) sells for $27,990. Yet the Leaf is far outperformering the i-MiEV in sales. Huh?
Well, I guess size does matter. The Leaf seats one more person (5) and has more cargo space (nearly half again). Plus, the Leaf looks like a normal car where as the i-MiEV looks like a cheesy VW Beetle ripoff with stupid(er) headlights.