Mitsubishi President: Battery Shortages Are Hurting i-MiEV Sales – Next-Gen i-MiEV Will Likely Grow in Size

DEC 27 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 23

Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko spoke to Automotive News’ Asia editor through an interpreter in mid December.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is Gobbling Up All Of Mitsubishi's Battery Supply

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is Gobbling Up All Of Mitsubishi’s Battery Supply

Masuko touched on several topics, including Mitsubishi i-MiEV production and its next-generation replacement.

Here’s what Masuko stated in regards to the battery production issue and how it relates to the i-MiEV:

“Right now, we want maximum production of the plug-in hybrid, so i-MiEV battery production is being deprioritized. We can make only 30,000 plug-in vehicles this year. But from next April, battery output should increase to just over 5,000 units a month, and that means about 60,000 units annually for the plug-in. By then, we will have shifted battery production for the i-MiEV to a different plant.”

The plug-in hybrid that’s getting all those batteries is the Outlander PHEV, a vehicle which is selling like crazy these days, despite not being available in the US yet.

In regards to the next-gen i-MiEV, Masuko stated:

Eventually, the i-MiEV will get a next-gen replacement.

Eventually, the i-MiEV will get a next-gen replacement.

“Regarding the next generation, we’re not sure if it would be the same size. It might be better to have a vehicle a little larger.”

“The problem at the moment is that we’re not able to produce enough i-MiEV batteries. But from next April, there will be an increase in the production of batteries for the plug-in hybrids.”

So, it seems a next-gen i-MiEV is likely coming and thankfully it’ll grow in size.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Mitsubishi

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

23 Comments on "Mitsubishi President: Battery Shortages Are Hurting i-MiEV Sales – Next-Gen i-MiEV Will Likely Grow in Size"

newest oldest most voted

I wanna see more I Mievs on the road not outlanders! I only drive my Model S when I have to. I drive the I Miev everywhere!

Big Solar, I hear you.

OTOH Bob Lutz had a good pt when he said “we started the electrification from the wrong end of the business”, i.e., from small cars.

The Highlander PHEV is right now getting into a niche where EVs are still almost nonexistent. More power to it.

Thanks Eric for the story! Given the constraints and clear prioritization of Mitsu, I’ll remember not to keep my hopes too high regarding 2014 iMiEV sales #s in the US.

Bob definitely has a point. I like those VIA trucks, a super idea all the way around. The I Miev is so cheap to own. I’ve got 18800 miles on mine and so far no maintenance! Cost of electric so far is between 525 & 550 bucks!

“thankfully it’ll grow in size.”

To paraphrase a campaign slogan, “It’s the range, stupid!” If the current i-Miev had a 100 mile range it would fly out the door. Making it bigger will only require even more kWh to get decent range.

Very true but many many people could benefit greatly with the 64 mile range and aren’t. Hopefully that is changing.

I don’t know about the 64 mile range issue. Seriously, in a few years I expect that to be the standard EV range of a PHEV. For a full electric, it will need to be 100 or better.

That may be true but 64 would suffice for many more people than there are IMiev owners. Just rent a Volt or prius 2 or 3 times a year for vacation or whatever.

I wounder could him saying that it will grow in size will mean a upgrade in battery size such as if the car gets one to two feet bigger he might consider adding a a much larger battery pack to it. The reason for this is that right now most new EV’s hitting the market now have a 80 mile range with a few of them reaching 90 and there is also a rumor of the Kia EV getting a 100 mile range. While at the same time Mitsubishi has a low EV range of 62 miles which if you look at it as a expressway worthy EV is the lowest on the mileage scale. At the least if the builders and planners of the next generation EV are at least going to want it to have 80 miles of range to put it on the same table as the Nissan Leaf and the Fiat 500 range wise. To go from 62 to 82 miles range would be about 20 extra miles which would most likely take a 22 kilowatt battery vs the existing 16 kilowatt battery which in terms of size isn’t that major in terms of upgrading. But… Read more »

I regularly get well over 70 miles per charge in my “i”. I’m hoping, however that when time comes to replace the battery pack, a 20 or 24 kwh pack is available.

“thankfully it’ll grow in size.”

NO!! Some of us really appreciate a small car with very efficient use of interior space. This is a city car that needs to be able to park in tight parking spaces and be very nimble with a tight turning radius. The current i-MiEV meets these needs, but a larger one might not.

Improve the aerodynamics and range, but leave the size as is!

100% agree. Scrolled down to type the same thing.

Absolutely!
The underbelly of the i-MiEV is nowhere near flat and the battery doesn’t cover the whole underside, so there’s plenty of gaps.

There’s a lot of stuff that can be done to the interior to free up some space. Thinning the seats is an obvious one. Since the car is so narrow, it would be nice to have a bench seat on the front like the Nissan Cube and move the electronic shifter or switch else where. Thinning the front and maybe rear seats is an obvious touch.
Redesigning the whole dashboard maybe? Create a lot more storage spaces.
It is the inside that all it needs a redesign as we agree here, and maybe the systems, AC and all else under the bonnet and dashboard should be mroe smartly arranged. A lot can be done easily!

Making the i-MiEV considerably bigger would remove one of the things that the i-MiEV has an advantage over most. Kinda like what’s happening to the Mini in my opinion.

Bigger is not always better.

Right!

Why are people so concerned about range? I understand it’s important, but take one day and use your trip odometer and that can quite easily tell you whether or not an electric car can work for you. Do this on a trip you make regularly, don’t go and do a 3 state road trip and say an EV won’t work for you if you drive a 30 mile roundtrip daily. I’ve done 100 miles in one day with my i-MiEV without even thinking about it. I drove south to another town 45 miles away, charged while we were there, drove towards home, taking a few side trips on the way, and made it home, no problem. I’ve done trips in my i-MiEV that most would never attempt, and made it with charge to spare. Unless you’re on a road trip, 100 miles is quite a bit of driving. Road trips are why you have a second car, a friendly neighbor, or a rental. Mitsubishi, DO NOT change the i-MiEV’s packaging and dimensions. Maybe increase the capacity of the battery and add some thermal insulation to the doors and roof, but leave the construction of the car the same. What the… Read more »

I got to see one of them for real at a local car dealership and it was a nice looking car and I found it to be very roomy inside even more roomy then another gas powered car I had at home. The 62 mile range is the only thing that scares me about it otherwise I found it to be nicer then the Nissan Leaf in terms of inside room. I could possibly pull off 62 miles of range most of the time but I would feel safer with a 120 miles or 80 miles. The reason is that if say I’m driving home from work or from several other places. A lot of times what will happen in my area is their will be construction blocking a major road or a accident or a traffic back up. When that happens the alternate route to go around it can easily add 20 to 30 miles along with heavy expressway driving at 70 miles on hour. Also EV chargers in my area are almost none existent.

Is this a hint about massive increased orders after the price cut and customers have to wait several month for delivering?
Mitsubishi hasn’t announced the new model for Europe nor cut the prices theres yet.

I think Mitsubishi knows they have a bread winner with their new plug in SUV and I think they are going to make as many of them as possible to feed this growing need for them. As for the i-MEV I think they are going to go after some of the major flaws in it holding back sales. The first major flaw they worked on with it was they added a lot of standard features and they got the hideously over bloated price for it by $6000. The next major flaw in it in is that it’s range is very low and by adding 20 to 40 miles to the existing range it will open it up to a larger pool of buyers.

“By then, we will have shifted battery production for the i-MiEV to a different plant.”
This sure sounds like the fruition of Mitsubishi’s 2011 announcement to use the Toshiba SCiB cells in the I-MiEV, replacing the GS Yuasa lithium ions which have had one recall.

The SCiBs reportedly allow 1.7 times the driving distance per level of charge, so a 100 mile EPA estimated range could be a real possibility.

Having driven the I-MiEV 32,000 miles in two years, I’ll attest that 62 miles of range is a lot more useful than it sounds, and with EVSE becoming common in the Pacific Northwest, it’s my preferred car for trips up to about 100 miles one- way. Even with an 80% quick charge taking only 19 minutes, adding two stops to a two hour trip gets tedious with kids along or business to conduct. The car is very spacious inside, my only complaint would be rear seat legroom when behind a 6 footer. I love the 50 cubes of flat-floored cargo, having transported a 50 inch TV, a dozen nested 32 gallon trash cans (new), and other monster loads in this micro-minivan. Looks are deceiving; the bulbous shape holds a lot while appearing smaller than it is. If Mitsubishi would match Nissan’s 6.6 kW charger, it would recover range faster than any mass market car on L2 (25.5 mph on Level 2).

I agree! I put a 65″ DLP Mitsu TV in mine once! Had to leave the back door open though. I got it out of the trash and all it needed was a new bulb! Still using it!

It would be good to have the very first electric sedan on the market with 5 places, a 75 miles battery and a rex able to give it an overall range of 400 miles.
All this still affordable and without gears and clutches or unnecessary leather but at a normal lancer size.
That is when EV sales are really going to massively replace pure thermal cars.

What’s all this “62 miles” nonsense? In town my MiEV gets 80. Highway, 65.

In summer i get between 90 and 100 miles out of my IMiev in winter around 60 depending on use of the heater so plenty range to commute or go shopping
A bigger Imiev is not needed imho it is meant as a city car and works great like that , takes 4 people and some shopping