But it was a gutsy and innovative car at one point.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is no more. Gone. That’s it – finito. Few will cry, and even fewer may even remember that Mitsubishi sold an EV beginning in 2011. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV will not return to the US lineup for 2018, as confirmed by Green Car Reports, and all remaining 2017 models have been sold. To its credit, however, the i-MiEV was the first mass-produced EV, arriving even before the Nissan Leaf. It was first available in Japan in fleets beginning in 2007, at a time when Tesla was still struggling to get its first model, the Roadster, to market.
In the i-MiEV’s place, according to a Mitsubishi spokeswoman, will the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid that’s set to arrive in US dealerships in early 2018. The i-MiEV was never a strong seller. In fact, a mere 2,108 units were in the US from its 2011 arrival until July 2017. That’s not a typo. Compared to the performance and driving range of other, more advanced EV, the i-MiEV never stood a chance. For example, its 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack offers a mere 62 miles of range. The Nissan Leaf, even with its least powerful battery option, has an 84-mile range. Overall output is also unimpressive, with only 62 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque.
And then there’s the car’s design; it is the only Japanese kei car adapted for the US. Its dimensions, as you can clearly see, are tiny. Length, height, width – all are perfectly acceptable for Japan’s micro car culture, but look ridiculously out of place in truck and SUV loving America. Even compared to the Nissan Leaf side-by-side, the i-MiEV looks claustrophobic. But we do need to give credit where it’s rightly due; Mitsubishi took a chance bringing the i-MiEV stateside in the hope that Americans would embrace an EV with a design, as it predictably turned out to be, only Japanese city dwellers could love.