Mitsubishi i-MiEV Lives On For 2017 Model Year In U.S.


The most unlikely electric car survivor lives on for the 2017 Model Year.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV will be sold in the U.S. as a Model Year 2017 and it’s the first confirmed 2017 plug-in electric car listed on the EPA’s database.

The i-MiEV rolls into 2017 mostly unchanged, as it has since it first debuted almost a decade ago in Japan, outside of a more “friendly” (larger/safer) North America version that was introduced in 2011, and some creature comforts added a couple years ago.

As in the past, Mitsubishi is marketing this under the Ford Focus EV-like “you want to order one, we will sell you on” plan.  Expect more single-digit/teen sales results through 2017 as we have seen over the past couple years.

Below is the 2017 listing on the EPA’s database, which confirms that the i-MiEV lives on.

first 2017


Categories: Mitsubishi


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65 Comments on "Mitsubishi i-MiEV Lives On For 2017 Model Year In U.S."

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Does it live on as the world’s most overpriced city car?

No, that would be the Smart ED ($25k vs $22k).

I don’t understand the FFE reference. Assuming that this reference applies to availability, as far as I know the FFE is on dealer lots in all fifty states. AutoTrader list 13 new FFEs within 200 miles of me but lists 0 new iMiEVs.

I have never seen a Focus EV on a dealer lot. They always have plenty of Energi cars, but no Focus EV.

You have to look for them but they have gotten a lot easier to find over the last year. Two years ago they were still a compliance car.

My FFE was sold in California in December, 2012, it was one of the first 1,000. In 2014 I test drove a new FFE in Dallas but I wasn’t ready to buy. Last year some good deals on off-lease cars became available and I picked mine up in March at 35% of the original MSRP still under full warranty. The car still had the California HOV stickers on it when I bought it.

That is only because FORD does not care.

Ford, and their dealers do not care.

Service is all about Profit, and thus the owners do not care to sell anything other than those Energi cars.

It starts with Ford!

I leased my ’14 FFE off a dealer lot in West Chester, PA. They had two in their lot when I leased mine.

Compliance car You must be in a compliance state otherwise you will not find one within a hundred or more miles.

Texas isn’t a compliance state. New FFEs have been available on the dealer lots in Texas for almost two years. FFE used to be a compliance car but not anymore.

when was that, Glenn

After 10 years of production you would think that Mitsubishi would have improved the range of the i-miev.

I attribute the lack of range improvement to Mitsu cheaping out on doing any engineering work required to develop an improved pack.

They don’t even need to do engineering work for it… In the last 5 years you can pretty much get cells/pouches the same size with almost double the energy storage space. That would make the car a 100+ range car and a really good value!

Shame they just want it to rot and go away so they don’t need to deal with it anymore.

Seriously. It is not like they need to redesign the car. Just pack in newer cells and they should be able to bump it up to 20KWH.

Mitsubishi is a joke. The bean counters have taken over the company. The reason why it’s losing dealership in the US.

Its Outlander Plug-in SUV seems to be doing *just* fine, as the world’s 3rd-best selling EV (almost overtaking the Leaf), and Europe’s #1:

Even the MiEV and its French-labeled varieties are still selling reasonably well in Europe, a combined 3,400 units last year:

They’re just not focused on the US (yet?), that’s all.

It’s a small car manufacturer, although part of a very large company. Lots of the smaller manufacturers have died because the development costs for modern powertrains are so high.

It would be great if Mitsubishi improve range,in my opinion,with more range,could be th greatest little car ever,I have a 2012 se.

If it lives on much longer, the Volt will have more AER.

For practical purposes, Volt has more AER. You leave about 10 miles as “reserve” on BEV while Volt can run down to “empty”.

Sounds like it’s time to do another $/(Practical) Mile chart for Purchase Price Ratio!

Volt costs more, but as you say, can use 100% of its available range, and not be stuck or stranded, whereas the iMiEV can’t practically do that, generally!

That said, I wonder if anyone has considered an aftermarket business of battery upgrades for it, or any EV? It already has CHAdeMO, but a nice 30-32 kWh battery would give it some OK range!

Indeed Robert, the iMiEV gives at least 110% of its displayed range before running out, and EVen without riding the turtle it has the lowest $/mile. After 53,000 miles, my iMiEV displays no battery degradation and still has 10% charge in reserve when the turtle light comes on. Find a 2012 LEAF that can say that. Mitsubishi’s marketing failures needn’t reflect poorly on their robust, simple engineering. There’s no vendor yet for battery upgrades because i-MiEV batteries are much more durable and under-rated. That being said, sure- more capacity would be welcome.

But, what about the ride.
I’ve only heard bad news.

It drives pretty nicely. It’s relatively light (lighter than the i3) and has rear-wheel drive. The wheelbase is longer than expected at 100.4 inches, so it’s not as bouncy as a Smart EV. The narrow tires aren’t as overwhelmed as you might imagine, especially since the rears are wider. Steering is very light with a large steering wheel. Gauges are minimalistic, which keeps distraction down. The power/charge gauge is pseudo analog, giving more granular control for coasting. Overall, it’s a pretty nice car.

It’s not as awful as others make it out to be. I dare you to find a small city car that doesn’t have a solid beam rear suspension.

To be fair, a torsion bar suspension would be a bit more comfortable, but it wouldn’t agree with rear wheel drive.

It’s quite decent, body roll is constrained and I’ve put about 6000 kilometers on mine since I bought it. It’s cheaper to run then the diesel I had before.

It gets you from A to B fine, it’s no drivers car, the steering is distant and you need to turn it quite far for tighter turns then I’m used to be.

Most of these all go away in day-to-day traffic just pondering along with the rest at 80kph. It’s my first automatic in a driving sense, and I should have just (an automatic) bought one years ago.

Nice review.

The ride is rough, but I don’t mind, most of the time. I like being awake while driving rather than lulled into a stupor by the Buick-esque LEAF suspension. Seriously, the suspension could be improved a lot, but RWD with very strong regen are strong offsets.

SparkEV, of course you “can drive all the way down to ‘no bar'” on the i-MiEV, and the Canion app allows one to do so with great confidence. Folks who never go below one bar are leaving at least 15 miles on the table, with scant evidence of long-term benefits in battery health. Likewise, just as my 52 mile/day average on a 62-mile rated car equals maximum economic utilization, and regular DCFC use (1-2 times per week) is a sweet spot for filling in those high-mileage days. without getting gassed. ndm and SparkEV are right on the “hybrid” scheme. Main regret of my pre-computer IDI biodiesel truck is that it isn’t a flatbed, so I can’t park the iMiEV on its bed!

Going by your EV range is not valid unless you tested others under same conditions. For example, SparkEV could get 140 miles range, but rated at 82 miles. Even 62 MPH (100 kph) result in close to 100 miles range. Given the battery and efficiency rating of iMiev and leaving 10 miles as margin, it would get less miles range than new Volt.

You’re comparing a 2017 Volt against an i-MiEV that hasn’t changed since 2007? Stop already. We get it. If you’re driving your Volt in AER all the time, you should have purchased an EV.

As for YMMV, of course it does! I would consistently get over 85 miles of range on my i-MiEV in the city. I never saw less than 1 bar, so realistically the range could have been 90 or 95 miles.

You compare what’s available, so yes, I do compare 2017 new-new Volt to ancient history iMiev. Old Volt got just as much AER as Leaf with 84 miles range. To think that iMiev would get more AER than Leaf, especially since “10 milles margin” would put rated AER less than new Volt is completely wrong.

YMMV, but if you drove the Volt instead of iMiev, I suspect you will get more AER with Volt. You can run the battery all the way down with Volt and then some, allowing you to use it for more than just commute. Situation could change if you often use DCFC with iMiev. But if you’re doing that, iMiev is unsuited for your driving habits.

Personally, I don’t have a Volt. I have allergies (note the plural) to hybrids. Despite how people dress it up as PH”EV”, it’s a hybrid, not an EV.

It’s hard to beat iMiev just on purchase price, but SparkEV does better range/dollar when new. For used, many iMiev sell for $8K while used SparkEV sells for $15K (almost post-subsidy new price!), so iMiev does far better.

However, lease in CA can get lot cheaper for SparkEV. One can lease a new SparkEV for $10/mo or less for 3 years if one qualifies for the new CA rebate. Nothing can beat it, not even iMiev. At that price, I don’t think there’s any car that can beat it, gas or EV. Heck, even cell phones would cost more.

But you can’t get it in the EU

Sucks to be in EU! 😉

For SparkEV lease deals, they are only good with CA rebate. Otherwise, it’s anywhere from $100/mo to $139/mo or more if one drives much, all factoring in initial out of pocket cost. I assume there are EV lease deals like that in EU (Zoe?), so EU isn’t missing out much compared to rest of US.

For purchase, used iMiev is better “miles per dollar”, which is available in EU.

EU, heck- you can’t get the Spark anywhere other than California-emissions states. If you trailer a used one out into flyover country, be prepared to trailer it back for service… Compliance cars outside of CA are for the brave.

It’s actually worse. You can’t get SparkEV in most of CA compliance states other than OR and MD and parts of Canada, Mexico, Korea. Until recently, they were sold out most of the time in SoCal, so even CA availability is (was) spotty.

As for service, if Bolt becomes widespread, I suspect those dealers could also deal with SparkEV. In fact, SparkEV isn’t much different than Volt, probably lot simpler due to lack of gas engine.

Well, I posted this a couple of times already, but your question regarding additional batteries comes up every now and then.

Our local EV pioneers and world range record holders Metron institute ( make a range extending battery pack for the i-MiEV and the e-Golf:

I love our 2012 imiev with chademo. Got it last year with less than 10k miles for only $7999! The thing is in mint condition and travels a reliable 72-80 miles on a charge. It makes a great second car to my 2015 Leaf. It goes a lot further than even the 2016 Volt. I too thought the imiev only goes 62 miles. Driving home from the used car dealership after we bought it, i went 75 miles on the highway to get home. I was surprised as hell as i mapped out all the chademos i could use to get home. The thing almost goes as far as our Leaf but with a much smaller battery! I do miss cruise control and an armrest though in the imiev.

I have 31,000 on my 2012 MIEV. No problems with it so far, never been stranded, range the same as when I bought it at 6500 miles. Buy one used for under $8000 and it’s the best entry level EV around.

54 miles EV range on the I-Miev?

1 mile more than the Volt.


It’s EPA rated at 62 miles. That is VERY conservative. I would get over 85 miles range in the city (which also could have been conservative, since I never went below 1 bar on the battery).

If you drove the Volt like you do with iMiev, I suspect you will get similar range. Or more since you can go all the way down to “no bar” with Volt. There is no magic in iMiev (or any EV) range, it’s just driving habits. See my blog on SparkEV range; unlike gas cars, the range could vary by as much as 170% compared to EPA rating or 300% min to max.

What is its hwy range?

I love the i-MIEV for what it is. It was conceived and designed in the middle part of the last decade. A time when there was all sorts of craziness in the automotive world. There where a number of start-ups just getting going (including Tesla) and the most popular EV in Britain was the G-wiz. I often think that the G-wiz and the i-MIEV were the holy sh*t! moment that got the EV revolution going, just for a moment after the GFC in London there was a time when the future of motoring was small, ugly, short ranged, under powered and most importantly, potentially very low cost – with a potentially very small profit margin. Thankfully the automotive industry saved us, pumped 100 million dollars into Tesla and those few early adopters were safely pushed to the margins where they probably reside today cold and wet in a twizy somewhere. IMO I think it is now time for Mistu to put up or shut up – give us a mass produced i-MIEV for $10k or give up. There is no shame if feeding the masses with dirty great SUV’s with modest battery packs and if that is your desire lets… Read more »

What shocks me about the Mitbushi i-miev is that they haven’t given it any range upgrades whatsoever. Now I wounder if I had a used one should I drop some 2016 Leaf Batteries in or some Chevy Bolt Batteries.

Mitsubishi should at least ask Toshiba to up the power of their batteries to give it a 100 mile range to at least stay reinvent.

Toshiba SCiB batteries are only used in Japan. The U.S. market only gets cars with batteries from LEJ, a joint venture of Mitsu and GS Yuasa.

So yeah, probably even less reason not to make improvements. Except they don’t make any money on the car and have no intention of dropping one more dollar developing or improving it. It’s a good value even new, but a great value used, and if its range doesn’t fit your use case, Mitsu kinda doesn’t care. Buy it or (more likely) don’t.

What? I thought it was already dead.

I guess they are looking to sell 7 more?

Jeez, at least put 20KWH of battery in it.

It’s a shame Mitsubishi didn’t upgrade the GS Yuasa cells from LEV50N to the latest LEV75. It would give 50 % more range.

This comment makes me wounder could Mitsubishi be putting in the new cells into the old style battery pack and leaving empty openings in the old one. They might be doing this to cut costs. If this idea is possible it might be possible to add some of these new high range batteries into the empty pack space.

iMiev needs a 3rd party battery manufacturer.

Absolutely! There is a “add a battery to charge from” solution I’ve looked into. It seems to be not cost effective. I have 8k miles on my first imiev and an seriously considering buying another. That is, I may be a two imiev owner. In many situations, I drive it in preference to my Tesla. Recent chademo station installs have greatly increased the usefulness of imievs in my area.
I certainly look forward to after market imiev batteries becoming available!

I have reading that there are a lot of batteries that are out that have double the capacity of the i-miev. But next year there going to be batteries that have 140% the power of the Mitsubishi i-miev battery.

120 Ah cells from Samsung SDI

That doesn’t do the imiev owner any good until someone starts using them in replacement imiev packs.

“you want to order one, we will sell you on”
…should be “sell you one”.

Eric, do you not proof-read your articles? Nearly every article of yours has a typo. U of M is going to take back your diploma.

Is this the first EV that features LESS AER than its predecessor? Wow! 🙁

Probably due to a change in the EPA testing procedure.

Why does Mitsubishi even bother? I guess the CARB credits they get from selling 9 units a year is worth it?

I bought an F150 and an Imiev for the same out the door price as a volt way back in 2012, I have 80k km on the Imiev and just turned 60k km on the truck, total resale currently on both is $27k, 2012 volt with 120k is about 16k resale (Canadian dollars)

Yup, one of the reasons why I have allergies to hybrids. You can do whole lot more with your truck than compact sedan hybrid. Best “hybrid” is like what you have: large gas car + small BEV for commutes. Chevy should have Silverado + SparkEV specials!

Only problem is that I always try to take the EV, even using DCFC, and the gas car sits idle and its internals could be rotting. I wish my gas car could run on Propane so I don’t worry about stale gas. Maybe one of these days.

thats a real problem with the ice truck here in salty ontario, ive replaced a set of brakes and a starter (mostly from sitting) Its also difficult to get the Imiev away from the wife when she does the groceries as its so easy to park and drive around

As a happy 2012 i-MiEV owner, the news of no range upgrade in a 2017 model that will be competing with 200 mile EVs is disappointing to say the least.

I do, however, hold out hope for one of the following two possibilities.

1) MSRP is dropped significantly, making the i-MiEV an excellent value as a second car in two car families.

2) Mitsubishi isn’t spending the money to have a longer range version re-certified. I believe Chevrolet did this with the 2015 Volt.

How come shows iMIEV in the in the list of Electric vehicles for 2017, but does not show Volt in the plugin vehicles section even though its already in production.

Seems US govt is more anxious to show vehicles with very low range to malign it.

I really don’t get Mitsu. Why bother with the overhead of keeping a model in the official range (brochures, service bulletins etc.) if they’re not going to have enough inventory on hand?
This car was the first mass-production EV, before the LEAF or Volt… Its design has long since been fully amortized (it sold pretty well in Japan, incl. the cargo variant IIRC), and it has the potential of still being the best all-round pure-city EV (cheaper than the Smart by far while being a 4-seater with tons more cargo space).

All they need to do is upgrade the battery, without changing anything else, and they’d have a 90-100mi EV which would be superb as a commuter / 2nd car for suburban/city use. The people who primarily want a car like that don’t care about acceleration.

I understand if Mitsu doesn’t have enough battery capacity for that vs. the Outlander PHEV (for every 3 i-MiEVs (3x 16kWh) they could make 4 Outlanders (4x 12kWh)) — so why bother keeping it on the books until their battery capacity increases.

Wavelet and others; Mitsu owners and insiders are just as perplexed by their apparent management ineptitude. However, the customers are treated very nicely, with our battery warranties extended to 100,000 miles after the Nissan battery roast, EVen though no design flaws have emerged in the iMiEV. A very small percentage of cells have failed, and the affected cars have been treated to full pack replacements.

I love my 2012 I-MIEV, mainly because of it’s simplicity and durability. Never had a problem with it. I even designed a custom trailer hitch to tow my 4 x 8 recycling trailer(no holes drilled it the car!) I do hope to see a bigger battery soon to extend the range though!