Mitsubishi’s Pure Electric Vehicle Sales Tumbling in Japan as Outlander PHEV Dominates

JUN 10 2013 BY MARK KANE 6

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Sales in Japan of Mitsubishi’s pure electric vehicles (solely in kei car segment) decreased heavily in the last two months to just 116 copies of three models in May – passenger i-MiEV (62), van Minicab-MiEV (47) and the latest truck version Minicab-MiEV Truck (7).

Mitsubishi Minicab i-MiEV

Mitsubishi Minicab i-MiEV

In 2012, Mitsubishi sold, on average, 400 pure electric vehicles per month in Japan.

We do know that Mitsubishi experienced some problems with Lithium Energy Japan battery recalls in recent month, but sales growth isn’t coming easy for the Japanese manufacturer.

Last year, in first five months, i-MiEV and Minicab-MiEV generated 2,430 sales. This year, even with new mini electric truck (that generated 512 sales), the YTD result is only 2,330.

Maybe this is temporary, but if you take into consideration that sales of Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn (i-MiEV clones) are disappearing in Europe and that the i-MiEV has not fared so well for the past year, then we can begin to question Mitsubishi’s pure electric future.

The possible lack of a next generation i-MiEV further confirms that perhaps Mitsubishi is thinking of exiting the pure electric vehicle segment.

However, there’s the Outlander PHEV, which is selling in the thousands with ease in Japan.  Soon it will hit US shores, where it’s certain to be a hit.  Perhaps the plug-in hybrid route is the one Mitsubishi so continue to take in the future.

Categories: Mitsubishi


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6 Comments on "Mitsubishi’s Pure Electric Vehicle Sales Tumbling in Japan as Outlander PHEV Dominates"

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Does anyone have a good review video of the Outlander PHEV? I’m curious about a few things. Does it have an all electric mode where it locks out the ICE? Sort of like the EV-Now mode of the Energi products? That would make a huge difference for me.

See this site and the related forum:


The i-MiEV is selling decently in Europe, but I don’t think that’s going to be enough to carry the brand through. When just 91 are sold last month in the US, with $10K off or $89/month leases, the bottom line is that Americans just don’t want this car.

Don’t get me wrong, I love mine. This little rear-wheel drive runabout has really grown on me, but many people think the car is just too small. Then they sit in it and realize it ain’t so small on the inside. Few Americans would even give this car that chance.

I don’t understand their selling strategy. It’s obvious, that they can not sell the iMiev at the same price spot as the Nissan Leaf. (Regular pricing in most states)

Also the battery size is no longer competitive to the other new EV’s, but when you see the battery package, there is still lot of empty space and I’m sure it will be possible to fit at least 20 kWh into the same box. This would give the car an all conditions guaranteed range of 100 km and good weather range of 140 km.

They should also make a 2 seater iMiev with large trunk as small business transportation and equipment car.

Case of too small and overpriced – fix either one and sales would pick up,
fix both and great sales are still possible.

When I see a Tesla, the i-MiEV appears like a Roomba vacum cleaner. There is just no comparison. You have a real nice Model S and you have a bizarre think trying to mimic a car.

The only problem with the Tesla is the to high luxury level that make it expensive. They need to make a normal Camry type Model S with the same battery and electric system but just an inch smaller and without the leather and the other unnecessary luxury items. Supposedly their Model 3.