The Nikkei reports that Mitsubishi Motors Corp. begin retail sales in Japan of its i MiEV electric vehicle next summer, a year ahead of schedule. The automaker had planned to start leasing the i MiEV to businesses and municipalities next summer and to wait until 2010 for the retail launch.
However, it is advancing the retail release in light of smoother-than-expected preparations for mass production and the favorable sales conditions created by runaway gasoline prices, according to the report.
Mitsubishi Motors intends to set the price for the i MiEV at around 4 million yen. But government subsidies for low-emission vehicles are likely to reduce the actual retail price to an estimated 3 million yen [US$28,000].
The i MiEV is powered by a compact 47 kW motor that develops 180 Nm (133 lb-ft) of torque and a 330V, 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack from Lithium Energy Japan (LEJ). LEJ is a joint venture of GS Yuasa Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC). Top speed of the i MiEV is 130 kph (81 mph), with a range of up to 160 km (100 miles) under Japanese 10-15 cycle driving conditions. (Earlier post.)
The report said that Mitsubishi Motors hopes to sell 2,000 i MiEVs in the first year and to boost the figure to 10,000 units by fiscal 2011.