The Nikkei reports that Mitsubishi Motors Corp. plans to bring the price of its electric vehicles down some 30% to around ¥2 million (US$22,000) by fiscal 2012.
Unveiled last July, the i-MiEV electric car can now be purchased in Japan, including government subsidies, for ¥2.84 million (US$31,300).
But Mitsubishi Motors sees the need for further price cuts considering the growing popularity of hybrids priced around 2 million yen. Factoring in subsidies, the i-MiEV will effectively sell for around 2 million yen.
Volume production of lithium ion batteries, the most expensive component in an electric vehicle, will lower costs sharply. A battery plant coming online in April 2012 will churn out 70,000 units a year, with the mass production cutting battery costs to under 1 million yen per vehicle, down from 2.5 million yen. Mitsubishi Motors will also work with the suppliers of motors, rechargers and other parts to reduce component numbers, making volume production easier.
Mitsubishi is also targeting an increase in automated manufacturing processes for EVs to about 10% of total assembly—on par with gasoline-fueled vehicles—from the current 2%.