The 2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV That You Can’t Buy In The US

APR 5 2013 BY JAY COLE 16

Every month here at InsideEVs we do a little round-up of all the plug-in cars that are on sale in the United States, and how they fared over the past 30 days.

2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Interior

2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Interior

For the i-MiEV so far in 2013, it has been both ends of the sales spectrum.  After only selling 588 of the 62 mile (EPA) Japnese kei car in 2012; and in response to a new drastically lowered priced, US-made Nissan LEAF, Mitsu put its EV on clearance, and sold an amazing 594 over the first 60 days of 2013.

On the surface, it appeared Mitsubishi was getting back into the business of selling electric vehicles in a big way.   But looking at the story behind the scenes, revealed some heavy discounting on existing inventory.

…and then March came along, and only 31 were sold, less than 10% of the 337 sold in February.  A check of inventories showed a lack of supply, and  zero new 2013 models available.  And that is because they never came in.

2013 i-MiEV 120V 2-Mode Charging, Charge Time Drops From 22.5 Hours to 14

2013 i-MiEV 120V 2-Mode Charging, Charge Time Drops From 22.5 Hours to 14

All the i-MiEVs sold during the 2013 model year cycle (which started for many continuing car models in September of 2012) are last year’s model.

A check of Mitsubishi’s website, still only lists the 2012 model.  For a company that is already promoting the new upcoming 2014 Mirage, you have to wonder if the 2013s are coming at all, or if any new i-MiEVs will ever arrive.  It is April after all.

Last November, we filed a report from Mitsubishi saying that the company had no intention of building a second generation of the i-MiEV, or to offer any full electric vehicles anytime soon in the US, but rather focus on PHEVs, like the upcoming Highlander plug-in, which goes on sale in the US in January of 2014.

However, our neighbors to the north in Canada are indeed receiving 2013 editions of the i-MiEV, and we figured we would report on what we are missing in the US, on the off chance it never comes.  Is there a heck of a lot of differences?  Not really, and most are on the higher end SE model, but it is still interesting to note that it does exist so close to home.

Some highlights of the new 2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV:

  • Some color choices seems to be gone (Raspberry in favor of Ocen Blue Metallic)
  • A new “two mode charging cable” (think 120V) is now available that has 2 amperage settings (8A and 12A), which lets you plug into a 120V/15A dedicated outlet.   What does that mean in the real world?  Gone are the 22.5 hour L1 charges, hello 14 hours
  • Heated driver and front passenger seats and seatbacks on SE (previous i-MiEVs featured a heated driver’s seat cushion only)
2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Rear Seating Area

2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Rear Seating Area

It should be noted, while Canadians can own a 2013 i-MiEV, they do not come cheap.  The ES starts at $33,998 ($33,560 USD), while the SE will set you back $35,498 ($35,000 USD) +$1,700 destination abnd pre-delivery inspection charges.

Check out the 2013 i-MiEV and some of its new features at Mitsubishi Canada’s website, which can be found here.

UPDATE (July 2013):  Mitsubishi has now pulled the 2013 MY information and pricing from their website…perhaps in anticipation of 2014s


Categories: Mitsubishi


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16 Comments on "The 2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV That You Can’t Buy In The US"

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I hope Mitsubishi tries again. Lets face it, the i-Miev is a total flop. While I admit that I would have bought one had it been the only EV on the market, just because I wanted an EV. But when there are so many better alternatives there is almost no reason to buy one. So, I hope Mitsubishi has something better planned for an EV in the next year or two.

If the Outlander PHEV has a starting price around $40k, it could be as much of a hit as the i was a flop.

Last year, the Mitsu. i EV was the cheapest electric car in the US, at $21k after rebate–Leaf was better-appointed, longer range, and higher power, but several thousand dollars more. THIS YEAR, Leaf starts at $21k itself.

Bottom line, unless the i EV has been totally re-engineered with higher specs, it will have to have a price below the Leaf to gain any ground. The new Smart Fortwo Electric is coming in at $25k/$17.5k after rebate–Mitsubishi should aim for that price point. The 4 seats would give many a reason to consider the i EV over the Fortwo, even though the Frotwo still has slightly more range and power, and Tesla/Mercedes engineering acumen.

I think there is a market for the iMiev, as strange as it’s looks are. It did, after all, sell almost 600 in a two month time frame. At the right price, they could sell a lot more … and I totally agree with Anderlan, $25k is the right starting point. I think a lot of iMiev owners, like myself, thought there was more value for a iMiev over a Leaf. Though the spread is narrower now than it was a year ago, it is still there since the new S trim lacks some of the features that you CAN get in the iMiev at the same price (quick charge and a B-mode), while not getting the other pluses the other Leaf trim levels get (like 6.6kw charger and heat-pump heater). I also found the ride in the iMiev much more sprightly and the more upright seating easier to get into and out of. All those glowing positives aside (and I’m obviously in a very small minority of the car buying public), Mitsubishi never really tried to sell this car. I think early on they committed to a certain number of cars for the US/Canada market and then realized there… Read more »

I agree, the uprightness and visibility definitely had me checking regional dealers for MiEV inventory. But, as an EV advocate, it hasn’t got the pep that I would like to show off to others. That combined with actually *looking* like it shouldn’t have pep makes me not want to get one unless I swing an awesome bargain. Good to know it has the DC charger and B mode, though!

I love the i-MiEV’s pep when driving around town. It’s one of the funnest cars I’ve driven. Just don’t drive it in Eco mode.

Definitely a fan of B mode. If it’s good enough for Tesla’s default mode, that’s all I need to know to be a fan of heavy regen.

Good observation.

USA Today reports that at the New York Auto Show MMNA said “Mitsubishi said it had no plans to update, tweak, refine or otherwise change its all-electric i-MiEV.”

Sure seems suspiscious…

Let’s hope the i-MiEV was just Mitsubishi dipping its toe into EV waters. Working from an existing platform, they were able to develop this EV fairly inexpensively. However, as they added more markets (North America specifically), they had to make changes to the i-MiEV to adhere to regulations and preferences of consumers.

That is when Mitsubishi should have stopped, did some more market research, and built an entirely new vehicle. Instead, they had to significantly (read: expensively) modify the i-MiEV for those markets, making the cars longer, taller, and wider. That kind of retooling doesn’t come cheap.

As an i-MiEV owner, I would have to say most Americans don’t like the size of the i-MiEV. It’s too small, driving between speeding big-rigs and distracted SUV drivers. Mitsubishi didn’t do its homework, and while it sold a lot of i-MiEVs this year because of awesome lease deals (that’s how I got mine), that does appear they were clearing inventory.

No front, no rear, you get badly hurt in both front and rear end crashes. EV or not, that is the kind of big mistake even an EV enthusiast will notice.
Second, the range is just too low for a car that doesn’t have a range extender option.
Verdict: global restart from scratch.

The i-MiEV has a safety cage design, similar to the Smart cars. While not as safe in an impact as a large, heavy car or truck, it is able to nimbly AVOID crashes.

In reference to range: I drive 18 miles round trip to/from work. That is 95% of my driving. Just like a Honda Fit is not ideal for a construction worker carrying a ton of cargo, this vehicle isn’t for everyone. For me, it’s perfect.

It is difficult for a small company like Mitsu (in the US, that is) to sell a money losing EV. It is better for them to concentrate on Outlander PHEV – they have the opportunity to sell the highest volume PHEV going by the sales in Netherlands and Japan. Price it right, expand the dealer network, it can become their biggest selling car.

Owned it, loved it. Those who have driven it should comment freely. If you haven’t please save the empty feedback. Consumer reports ratings are surprisingly misleading. Excellent use of space inside of the vehicle with wheels in front pushed all the way up, and wheels in rear pushed way back. Rear seats fold down allowing far more interior storage space that the leaf. I test drove both and did quite a bit of research.

No Transmission hump between the seats made for plenty of elbow room up front for me and a fellow ex wrestler ( me at 6’2- 200lbs, him at 6’0- 315lbs.) 3 little kids in back no problem but only 2 adults comfortably.

True 50-60 highway miles before empty. Acceleration similar to my 1996 Toyota corolla, wagon. Not extra fast, but i wouldn’t say slow either.

Also worthy of note, this car saved my life in a serious accident from behind. I found out that the vehicle had multiple airbag protection system, including side impact bags that I’d never had in any other car I’ve driven.


As an iMiev owner, I can say this: The car has pep. More than any 4 banger it’s size would have.

You have to take the car for what it is. It is an urban-run around-errand car. For someone who needs to travel around the city for up to 60 miles or so, it is ideal. While a little more range would always be welcome, why carry around more batteries when you don’t need them on a daily basis.

So it looks funny…but it is one of the easiest cars I have ever owned for getting into and out of.the front seat. Good vertical height for comfort, yet low center of gravity.

iMiev owner here.
I chose it over a Leaf because it was $8k cheaper, and had a superior cargo area,
It’s quite zippy enough for any legal use.
Mitsu never advertised it. At all. That can’t have helped.
The savage and misleading Consumer Reports review probably did some damage too.

I suppose the resale value is zilch, so I hope I am never forced to sell. The whole point was to get a car that will just keep going and going and going with minimal service, so as long as it holds to promise I’ve done okay on my purchase.

I too own an iMiev and it is by far the most fun, reliable and maintenance free car I’ve own and I have owned a lot of cars. I’m 6’2 and have road in the back on several occasions in complete comfort because its a lot more spacious than meets the eye. What attracted me to the car was not only the price, but the warranty. To date, I don’t know of another EV manufacturer who offers an 8 year/ 100k mile warranty on their battery. This told me Mitsubishi has a lot of faith in their iMiev and that’s good enough for me.