Mitsubishi Plans Five More Electric Cars

Mitsubishi’s chief executive, Shin Kurihara, introduced a left-hand-drive version of the i-MiEV electric car at the New York auto show in April.

Mitsubishi announced earlier this month that its i-MiEV electric car would cost $45,660, and Wheels readers raised their eyebrows at the high price for the tiny car. Even with a $14,000 credit from the Japanese government, the car would be expensive for what it is — a small city car with a battery range of 75 to 100 miles.

“These companies better get real about their prices, unless they are including a lifetime supply of batteries,” wrote Dick.

“That sum is about equal to the retail value of all three of my existing cars when they were brand new,” wrote Steve O.

It looks as if Mitsubishi is well aware of the i-MiEV’s sticker shock. The Nikkei reports (via Bloomberg News) that the Japanese company is working on a cheaper electric car with a target price of $31,000 (or $17,000 after Japanese credits), which it plans to bring to market by 2012.

According to Green Car Congress, which also cites the Nikkei, Mitsubishi has plans for an additional five electric cars by the end of the 2013 fiscal year. These include a left-hand-drive i-MiEV by the 2010 fiscal year for the European market (and later the American market); an electric commercial vehicle in the 2010 fiscal year; a larger electric car; a sportier version of the i-MiEV; and a plug-in hybrid S.U.V. by the 2013 fiscal year.

Mitsubishi is the only major automaker producing electric cars in any volume, if you consider volume 1,400 i-MiEVs — four-seaters — by next spring. In a statement released this month, Mitsubishi said its goal was to have 20 percent of its production volume be E.V.’s by 2020.

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