A replacement is coming, but not soon enough.
Do you remember the Mitsubishi i-MiEV? Yeah, that odd little electric car that was imported into the United States for a few years. Mitsubishi killed it off back in 2017 for the US market, but much to our surprise, the company still sells it in other parts of the world. The i-MiEV, which stands for Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle, was already out of date when it arrived in the US back in 2011, so we can't imagine buying one in 2020.
According to Nikkei Asia, Mitsubishi will cease production of the i-MiEV at the end of their 2020 fiscal year. Mitsubishi introduced the car back in 2009, and even with over a decade of sales, the Japanese automaker only managed to move around 32,000 units, with around 2,108 of those coming to the US market. For reference, the Nissan Leaf has sold more than 500,000 units since its introduction in 2010. But that also makes the i-MiEV a collectable novelty that's sure to grab attention at the local cars and coffee.
It's easy to see why the i-MiEV struggled to sell. It looked strange, had an outdated and basic interior, and could only travel around 60 miles on a charge. And with just 66 horsepower on tap, it wasn't exactly quick. Mitsubishi could have fixed some of these issues with a refresh, but a company executive told Nikkei, "We didn't have enough money and personnel to continue investing in EV development."
Now a part of the alliance with Nissan and Renault, Mitsubishi will replace the i-MiEV in a joint collaboration with Nissan. Unfortunately for Mitsubishi, this new electric minicar won't arrive until 2023. Nissan already has its own EV plans, with the all-new Ariya SUV set to arrive in 2021. The Ariya should greatly outsell the Leaf, and with an SUV bodystyle, will offer far greater appeal than a new electric minicar. Even if the i-MiEV replacement does arrive in 2023, there's no guarantee that it will come to the US.