We’re just weeks away from the first fleet buyers in Japan receiving the production version of the much hyped Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car with individual buyers able to place orders for delivering beginning next April. The unexpected success of the vehicle has prompted the company to work on five more electric cars.
The i-MiEV has turned into a runaway success for the struggling automaker, which now plans to launch five electric vehicles from next year to 2013.
Included in Mitsubishi’s plans are a left-hand drive version of the i-MiEV, which will be sold in Europe; as well as a small electric truck - both will arrive in 2010. Then in 2011, the company will introduce a larger all-electric vehicle based on a subcompact platform. From there it also plans a plug-in hybrid sport utility vehicle, as well as a sportier model of the i-MiEV similar to the 2007 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Sport concept that debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The i-MiEV is the first highway-capable electric car to be produced by a major car manufacturer, and Mitsubishi has constantly had to re-evaluate its aspirations for the vehicle.
It will now deliver 1,400 of the electric cars next March and expects to sell 5,000 by March 2011; 15,000 in its second year; and 30,000 by March 2013.
The i-MiEV is a four-seat, five-door hatchback that uses a 16kWh lithium-ion battery that powers a 47kW motor that drives the rear wheels through a one speed transmission. According to Mitsubishi, a full charge takes around seven hours on a Japanese 200V household current and the vehicle will have a range of 100 miles.
The manufacturer has also signed a deal to build i-MiEVs for Peugeot which will sell the vehicle through its dealer network in France starting next year.