Mitsubishi: "We Can Compete On Price With Electric Cars"

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2012 Mitsubishi i

2012 Mitsubishi i

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Mitsubishi's sole electric vehicle, the 'i' city car, isn't a vehicle to suit all tastes.

The odd styling, limited range and high price will put off many, but don't discount Mitsubishi just yet--as their electric range is set to grow over the next few years.

The company remains committed to the concept--and even believes it can offer future vehicles at a competitive, affordable price.

Speaking to Car Advice, Mitsubishi Outlander product development manager Mitsuyoshi Hattari says that the firm constantly works to future-proof its electric car technologies.

"We are one of the manufacturers who can produce the electric vehicle at minimum costs,” he said, suggesting that more vehicles are on the way.

One of those is the upcoming Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, based on the new Outlander due soon.

Twin 60-kilowatt electric motors and a 2.0-liter gasoline engine pair with a 12 kilowatt-hour battery pack. Mitsubishi says it's enough for 35 miles of electric range on the Japanese economy cycle, so bank on 20-25 miles in EPA testing.

It also offers drivers the option of all-electric, series hybrid and parallel hybrid drive modes.

The plug-in hybrid isn't the only electric vehicle due from Mitsubishi in the next few years, either. Hattari-san confirmed a plug-in version of the next-generation Lancer. Rumors have also been flying around that the next-generation Mitsubishi Evolution performance car would be a hybrid.

Oddly, Mitsubishi doesn't see pure electrics as necessarily the best choice for smaller vehicles--despite its sole current electric vehicle being a small car.

Vehicles like the Mitsubishi Mirage and Lancer could be better as plug-in series hybrids, says Hattari-san.

Part of the reason is cost, meaning traditionally inexpensive small cars require significantly elevated prices when running on batteries. The 2013 Mitsubishi i costs $30,825 including delivery, pre-incentives.

Mitsubishi is banking on the price of batteries--the most expensive component--dropping over the next few years with increasing demand. And as more people buy electric vehicles, economy of scale improves further in a virtuous circle.

When it does, Mitsubishi will be there waiting with the powertrain technology to exploit it--certainly a company to keep an eye on over the next few years...


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Comments (16)
  1. The gas versions of the 'i' and the smart fortwo were similarly priced in the UK. The base price of 2013 smart fortwo electric drive is $25K. If Mitsubishi wanted to be competitive, the price for the 2013 'i' would be closer to $25K than 30K. The smart has a bigger battery and a more powerful motor as well.

  2. Patience flower...2013 imiev prices aren't out yet.

  3. From the article, "The 2013 Mitsubishi i costs $30,825 including delivery, pre-incentives." Maybe you should be questioning Anthony.

  4. Sorry guys, that's a typo on my part. Should read 2012.

  5. I have a 2012 iMiev and it has been a perfect car for my family because we use it for what it was designed - a city car. 90% of what we do is well within the range. We charge maybe every other day and on 120V. Pricing will be better - maybe even next year - but we are willing to buy/pay more now so that R&D will be funded to make this industry go.

  6. Even Mitsubishi's plug-in products are unlikely to be cheap any time soon, but the upcoming Outlander PHEV shapes up to become something of a nightmare for GM. Rumour has it that it will be priced lower than GM's Volt, so probably about the same after federal incentives which are lower for the Outlander with its smaller battery pack. That's a mid size SUV rather than a compact sedan that will hold up to 3 persons more and will tow 3000 pounds more than the Volt (which can't tow anything) for the same price. That should be a bit of a no-brainer for the average family.

  7. Well, there is NO way the heavier Outlander will get the same EV miles as the Volt. The C-Max Energi already provide 20 EV miles so far. It hauls more people too.

    Also, the efficiency of the Outlander will be lower as well in terms of MPGe.

    "electrifying" SUV is really a silly segement IMHO. People who buy SUVs want size, capability and potential towing. The Outlander AREN'T exactly dominate offering in even its ICE version. You should check with Toyota to see how the eRAV-4 is doing and why it is discounting it with 0% AND $7,500 cash. That is $17,000 discount (include fed and CA incentive) off the $49,000 Sticker. Same price as the Volt after discount. Yet its sales are no better than 30 units per month...

  8. The article says the Outlander will probably get 25 electric miles so yes, that would be substantially less than the Volt.

    Yes, people who buy SUVs want size, capability and potential towing and with the Outlander they also get zero gasoline use on small trips and great mileage on longer trips. Both Volt and Outlander beat the Leaf when it comes to those longer trips to Lake Tahoe, difference is: the Outlander will take an extra person and all the luggage of 5 people, and the speed boat, so while the Volt has the capability, the Outlander actually makes sense for longer trips. Doesn't seem silly to me.

    Not sure what comparing it with a BEV has to do with anything nor could the Volt be considered a dominant offering as compact sedans go.

  9. Xialong, I really respect your opinion on a lot of things on this site, but I have to disagree with you on the Outlander PHEV. I think it is a brilliant idea if it can compete with the price of a Volt, as Mitsu has claimed in NZ and Austrailia.

    American families are sensitive to gas mileage, but need to have the other features you cite as well. If a vehicle can provide those things AND have an eye-popping MPG it would be a big deal. The Volt competes against compact sedans that cost < $20,000. The Outlander PHE would compete with small and mid-size SUVs that are in the $25K -30K range.

    I also think Americans have much greater range anxiety than anyone else, because the US is so large. A PHEV is the perfect solution for that.

  10. Well, my point was that when people want a "real" SUV, they want capability and gas mileage is the last thing they care about. That is why Minivans and large SUVs such as Chevy Tahoe, Ford Expeditions are still doing well (especially now that gas is around $3.40 instead $4.50).

    The Outlander isn't exactly a large SUV. It is more like a mid-size at best case. With the larger battery pack, it will lose some of that carrying capacity.

    If Outlander can do everything like you said AND offering the decent price,then it is a "no-brainer". But from all the market offering today, I don't see how the Outlander can be priced reasonably and still have all the features.

  11. One more thing to add is the fact that there is NO WAY that Outland PHEV will cost less than the Volt unless Mitsubishi is willing to take a huge loss on every one it sells.

    With additional power train (2nd sets of inverter and motor), similar battery size and additional ICE power train, it will cost at least another $5k more than the Volt. Also, your "towing" spec" is imagination at this point. I seriously doubt that, especially with the size of the "extended range generator of only 70KW". Show me the link on that.

    It does have a market for someone looking forward to have an eletric version of the AWD.

  12. Both price and towing capability are based on speculation and/or specs for versions that will be offered outside the US. We'll see what happens when this comes state-side, but I think GM should brace itself for some pretty serious competition. Nothing wrong with that is there?

  13. This can be something that would give us an idea of how will it be priced. ;)

  14. You are right on. It doesnt seem possible to have AWD, towing, large size, 7 seats, and an extra ICE and drivetrain for the price of a volt.

    BUT if it does... Chris O is right, it would be huge. How they can do it, I have no idea. But they are saying it will be price competitive with the Volt in NZ recently.

    The price really is the kicker. At the right price, this thing will be hot. Gas is much cheaper in America than in Europe and Japan, so an EV/PHEV that can break the economic barrier of buying the battery would be huge. It hasnt really happened yet, usually requiring 8-10 years of moderate driving in current hybrids, but a sub $40K price on the Outlander would certainly do that.

  15. Sure, if it does, then I would buy one too. Just like the $35k Tesla and I am still saving for that one too.
    A Lexus 450h hybrid cost way more than the Volt. A e-Rav4 also cost way more than the Volt. Based on those two examples alone, I can only imagine that the price point would be around $50k+ range.
    Even the Volvo PHEV SUV showcased a price of nearly $78k range....

  16. American families have been clamoring for a large size vehicle just like this. Soccer moms would LOVE a hyrbid minivan, and this is as close as you can get right now. Current large size hybrids like the Highlander, Yukon, etc just dont have a sizzling MPG. 28MPG instead of 21MPG... ok, but for an extra $10K? Meh. But the Outlander PHEV basically says, "You NEVER have to visit the gas station ever again! But you can also drive across the country with your whole family at a much cheaper price if you want!"
    Most families I know use their SUV as their main vehicle, with a smaller commuter-ish car as the second. If you want to sell an SUV (or van) to Americans, it has to be main family car worthy.
    At $40K or less, this will be huge. WHAT IS THE PRICE, MITSU?!

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