Dealer Discounts 2012 Mitsubishi 'i' Electric Car To Smart Level

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Pre-production, US spec.

Pre-production, US spec.

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For a time, the 2012 Mitsubishi i was the cheapest electric car on sale in the U.S.

When smart announced its third-generation Electric Drive would retail from $25,750 for the coupe model, it made the $29,975 Mitsubishi look a bit expensive. Even if it does have two extra seats.

Now, Town & Country Mitsubishi in Milwaukie, Oregon, is selling the Mitsubishi i at a discounted price, undercutting the smart.

With a discount of $5,075, the 112 MPGe Mitsubishi can now be had for only $24,900.

That's before you take any local and federal incentives into consideration, too. If you're able to benefit from the full $7,500 federal tax credit, then the electric jellybean could start to look a little more tempting.

The 2012 Mitsubishi i remains one of the most efficient electric vehicles on sale, with energy use of 30 kWh per 100 miles translating into 112 MPG-equivalent.

The 2013 smart fortwo Electric drive on the other hand, uses 34 kWh per 100 miles, for a combined figure of 100 MPGe.

Official range of the Mitsubishi is 62 miles in combined EPA testing, or 98 miles in city driving. The smart has no official range estimate yet, but is expected to achieve between 60-75 miles. smart itself claims 87 miles, on the more optimistic European cycle.

Performance is similar for both--the Mitsubishi will reach 60 mph in 11.9 seconds, the smart manages 62 mph in 11.5. The i will manage 81 mph flat-out, the smart is limited to 78 mph after a recent power boost.

So which would you choose? The practical, discounted Mitsubishi, or the funky smart?

(Hat-tip to Brian Henderson)


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Comments (24)
  1. That is an excellent price and I would love to see that offered by California dealers. I could get it for $25K - $7.5K - $4.5K (Air Board rebate) - $2K (California rebate) = $11K. I would chose this over the Smart because I need the extra seats.

  2. The west coast Mitsu i? Maybe... Our local dealers have had their stock sitting for almost a year now with practically ZERO interest. Cars sitting for a year with 100% charge out in the elements? Probably not unless free after incentives.

  3. If they price the i this way in Pennsylvania, it means a starting point of $25k, minus the federal credit (7.5k) and state rebate ($3.5k), means $14k (plus some fees and taxes). But still, that's a great price for a very nice little EV!

  4. Neither!! Too slow for the efficiency!

    If I slow my Volt down to those two EVs level and do 0-60mph in 12 secs, my Volt would easily get 45 miles per 10.6KWh. That would be 143mpge. Even if you add 18% loss for charging, it would still be about 117mpge.

    Sure, they are cheaper, but they are less equipped and less "safe" in terms.

    I just wish more people would understand that there are trade offs between performance and efficiency...

  5. Your becoming a bit Volt bias, don't become a fan boy.

  6. Well, in those terms Volt is "superior".

    Personally, I think Tesla S is even better than Volt. But I can't afford it.

    As of right now, Volt is the ONLY car with the most EV range "and" extender capabilities...

    If there are better choices, I will be sure to support it as well.

    Personally, I don't think Volt is the best GM can do. There are improvements to be made. But it is a pretty good one for the first try.

  7. Yes, I agree that the Volt is better than either the Mitsu or Smart or Leaf for that argument. We have both the Volt and Leaf, but I think a case can be made for certain drivers being better served by the Mitsu or even the Smart. As I write this I am touring in Sicily, and very small cars are IDEAL in these cities, even the Volt would be a challenge here. A city car for places like Chicago, SF, even Portland could see the Mitsu/Smart near optimal in terms of cost/utility.

  8. I have an iMiev and really slow old EV conversion (with about 1/2 the power of the iMiev). So performance is relative. And, depending on what kind of roads you drive and your driving style, extra power may be totally pointless. I am never a bottleneck in the iMiev where I drive and I am seldom a bottleneck in my old EV, because there are lots of slower vehicles on the road where I live. There is a tradeoff for pointless features (a backup camera comes to mind) or efficiency and cost. I'd rather just pay for what I need, not what other people think I need.

  9. Speaking of being relative, I have found the backing camera to be quite the handy utility when parallel parking.

  10. Exactly. Very well stated.

  11. I have to kids so the rear seats are a must have feature. I was expecting the price to drop but not by 5000 dollars. Ouch.

  12. the Volt is a great car. It DOES fill a need but you can buy 2 MiEVs for what they charge. This price cut is great because its the sign of competition. EVs when announced; prices were high. Even early adopters had to stretch the budget a bit but they knew that the sticker price is essentially reduced $100-200 a month but most struggle with that sticker price. "Paying Sticker" has a negative connotation that exists today. Dropping that price is more a psychological advantage than anything.

  13. I am Not sure where you get the 2x price from. $30k for i-MIEV and $40k for the Volt. The difference is only $10k. Both get the $7,500 federal tax credits..

  14. The Miev referenced here is the very basic model, which I personally would not be interested in. Now, if the relatively equipped version with the decent interface and battery monitor option was $5000 less AND a lease was available, I would certainly choose it over a SF2e.

  15. The lease has been available on the i-MiEV for months now. ~3K down, $336/month for 36 months is the quote I got recently. That was on the loaded $35,195 MSRP.

  16. I just realized that my numbers above do not include the $7.5K that Mitsubishi should be claiming and reducing the cap cost with... but they're not! I don't think the customer can claim it in this situation either, so it's crap either way we look at it.

    I just found out that the local dealer became Volvo dealer today and not wondering really why. I don't think they sold a single new Mitsubishi in the past year. I wonder what's going to happen to their stock and if anyone will adopt those i-MiEVs they've been sitting on...

  17. Oh, another reason to "Knock" the i-Miev. Mitsubishi dealer quoted the price on the i-MIEV EVSE at $1395 to replace, Leaf's EVSE cost about $895 and Volt's EVSE cost about $795.

    Why the i-Miev EVSE cost more? I have no idea... Okay, maybe b/c of lower volume...

  18. We spent $700 for the EVSE on our i, so, it doesn't have to be $1.4k. In fact, for $350, you can upgrade your level 1 to work on a level 2 rate, and do a complete charge with it in 6-7 hours.

  19. So, $700+ $350 upgrade is $1150.

    Or you can just buy a Clipper Creek LCS-25 4.8KW EVSE for $800 and work on Level 2... Add a plug to it, it will be portable.

  20. I think you are confused here. There is an upgrade path for the included 110v charger cord to make it work with a 240 wall plug.

  21. I was quoting a "replacement" cost for an additional brand new EVSE.

  22. Good news/bad news. The good news is that the i-MiEV may be on its way to becoming an irresistible deal for EV fans; I love mine, it's amazingly versatile, easily exceeding the utility of many conventional compacts. The bad news is that this is starting to look like a fire sale; if this car fails, it's going to be a while before we see another value-priced EV.

  23. I'm not surprised Smart's undercutting the i-MiEV on price - I don't see how they could sell their "half a car" otherwise. While Smart's extreme packaging might make sense for some buyers, I don't see anyone opting out of a back seat and a trunk unless there are some meaningful savings involved - cute only goes so far (as Smart has learned). The convertible's another matter - that's a unique proposition, and if you highly value open-air motoring, it's wonderful to have that option in an affordably priced EV.

  24. Mitsu, as long as it stays in business. The car reminds me of a flea.

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