Mitsubishi Motors is bringing out an electric car that will only cost $47,000 and only get 100 miles on a charge. That means at most a 40 mile round trip per day plus a reserve for mistakes and battery degradation over time.
Tokyo (AP) – Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s electric vehicle is twice as expensive as popular hybrid cars by rivals Toyota and Honda, but Japan's No. 4 automaker said Friday the i-MiEV will help it survive increasingly intense global competition.Ah yes. The ever present subsidy. But they do have a business plan. They are selling the first 1,200 vehicles to the Japanese government. Customer of last resort? Well at least until they get the price down. And the range up.
"With the electric vehicle, we will challenge global players," said Mitsubishi Motors President Osamu Masuko at a news conference where the company rolled out the new model.
The i-MiEV is powered solely by electricity, and can be recharged from a regular home socket. The four-seater vehicle can run up to 160 kilometers (100 miles) after charging seven hours at 200 volts.
"It is a zero-emission vehicle. It does not rely on oil, which is different from hybrid cars," Masuko said. A hybrid car switches between a gas engine and electric motor to boost mileage.
The price tag is also different. Mitsubishi's i-MiEV costs 4.59 million yen ($47,560), more than twice as much as Toyota Motor Corp.'s new Prius hybrid vehicle, which is just over 2 million yen, or Honda Motor Co.'s Insight, which starts at 1.89 million yen, the cheapest hybrid on the market.
Masuko acknowledged the high price is a major hurdle to encouraging people to buy the i-MiEV, which stands for Mitsubishi innovative electric vehicle. (The initial "i" doesn't have any particular meaning, the company says.)
"This is not the price that ordinary people can easily buy. But as we increase our production, we aim to cut the price below 2 million yen," he said without elaborating further.
Masuko noted i-MiEV buyers can receive hefty subsidies and pay no tax under a government program promoting the use of ecological vehicles. With the help of government subsidies, the i-MiEV costs 3.209 million yen, down 43 percent from the original price. The vehicle is also tax-free for three years.
And making fun of hybrids? At least with hybrids you can put gas in the tank and get home if your battery is low on charge.