Yesterday, Mitsubishi launched the i-MiEVs to the public. In total, more than 1,400 of the vehicles will take to the streets soon in the hands of commercial and public fleets. The initial release of i-MiEVs will be limited to fleets only until its full release in March.
On Thursday, the company distributed about 50 i-MiEVs to some local governments and utilities throughout Japan. This marks the date as the first launch of a mass production EV by any major automaker, and Mitsubishi plans to lead all others on the EV front into the future.
All 1,400 vehicles should be leased to fleet service before March when the public launch starts first in Japan, then in the U.S. and finally worldwide.
Though Mitsubishi's launch of the i-MiEV has been discussed at great lengths and with high anticipation, another major automaker has also launched their first EV.
Also on Thursday, Subaru gave five Stella EVs to the Japanese government and utility customers. Theses vehicles will also see fleet duty. Subaru has no intentions of mass production of this EV, they intend to keep sales low and utilize the vehicle on a trial basis. The Stella EV is a full production vehicle and has become the first EV available for public sales (rather than leasing like the i-MiEV) manufactured by a major automaker.
Both Japanese automakers have forever made their mark on history and can proudly and rightly state that they have achieved a world first in the EV category. Mitsubishi aims for mass production and EVs for everyone while Subaru hopes to get a better understanding of the market and consumer demand. Both vehicles are capable and are welcomed to the EV market.