AlfredWAB
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:40 am
Location: Sacramento, California

Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:57 am

I am becoming more and more convinced that statement may well be fact. Actions speak way louder than words, but I'm not seeing any action or words. I just got back from attending a wonderful EV event where I learned a lot.

Mitsubishi was suppose to be there with the iMiev, but they didn't even bother to show up. I got to hear from all the other major auto companies about their future plans for EV production and test-drive a lot of other EVs. Even got to see the Tesla S, and several lesser brands I'd never even heard of yet. Including a cool truck with a 40 mile electric range that carries an onboard generator to extend the range. Marketed towards construction and stuff, because the generator could be used to power electric equipment on site as well, pulling from the battery first, but turning on the generator if more electricity was needed. But no Mitsubishi. They were on the brochure and program, but didn't come.

There was a diplomat from the Netherlands there. He was the only one to even mention Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi Highlander EV is the top selling car in the Netherlands. Over 25% of new car sales are now EVs in the Netherlands. Guess what? We can't even buy it in the USA.

Conclusion, if Mitsubishi doesn't care enough to market their EVs in the USA, how can I count on them to be around to service and support the vehicle in the future? At this point, I am seriously considering a different EV, probably the Nissan Leaf. It sells a high volume, they actively promote and support it. It appears to have been designed as an EV, not huge loss of trunk space like with so many of the EV converted vehicles of Ford and others. And I thought it was a really nice car. Definitely more expensive than the iMiev. But is it really worth waiting for the 2014 iMiev to get here? I'm not so sure.

jray3
Posts: 1548
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:05 am
Location: Tacoma area, WA
Contact: Website

Re: Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:29 pm

Awww Alfred, don't be so harsh. :( The Mitsubishi boss says he wants to sell lots of EVs, so it must be true. His company is just incompetent at PR, Marketing, production planning and relationship management with their dealers.

In return, we're able to reap a valuable windfall in the form of fire-sale pricing. :lol:
Some of us bought the car due to it's simplicity and (hopefully) hackability, and salvaged parts are now starting to become available. I'm confident that we'll be able to keep it running for a very long time, just as was the case with 1990's RAV4 EVs, Ford Rangers, Solectrias, etc...
2012 i-SE "MR BEAN" 91,000 miles
2000 Mazda Miata EV, 78 kW, 17 kWh
1983 Grumman Kurbwatt EV,170 kW, 32 kWh
1983 Mazda RX-7 EV 43 kW 10 kWh
1971 "Karmann Eclectric" EV 240 kW 19 kWh
1965 Karmann Ghia Cabriolet

ndm
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:06 am

Re: Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:25 pm

AlfredWAB I'd really like to know what kind of truck you saw at the show, getting an electric truck with a range extender is a dream of mine , the oi' f150 would hit the market fast, that truck sounds like the ICEing on the cake for this dead Dino hater!

Vike
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 pm
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:26 am

ndm wrote:AlfredWAB I'd really like to know what kind of truck you saw at the show, getting an electric truck with a range extender is a dream of mine , the oi' f150 would hit the market fast, that truck sounds like the ICEing on the cake for this dead Dino hater!
Probably these guys:
http://www.viamotors.com/vehicles/electric-truck/

Been hearing about them for a while now, though they're $80k and not quite actually delivering yet. But hey, give 'em $1000 to let 'em know you're serious and they'll promise to get back to you eventually.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

AlfredWAB
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:40 am
Location: Sacramento, California

Re: Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:26 am

Yes, that is the one. And they had one there which was very impressive.

Probably the guys best line in his presentation was the reaction to the $80k price.
"Most guys say they would never spend $80K on a truck. I just tell them that they already do."
Then he proceeded with a very excellent financial presentation on truck costs over an 8 yr life.
Which is the period of time they are guaranteeing the motor for, but expect an even longer life.

People always talk about the gas saved in electric vehicles and how that saves money.
But they don't talk about the other savings in maintenance, etc.

Some that I hadn't even thought about before:
1) If you use your regenerative braking well, conventional brakes last a lot longer.
2) Don't have to pay for Smog checks.
3) Lube & Oil every x miles.

jray3
Posts: 1548
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:05 am
Location: Tacoma area, WA
Contact: Website

Re: Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:40 am

Yep, I'm sold on VIA- wanna get one on the road in my School District as a maintenance vehicle.
2012 i-SE "MR BEAN" 91,000 miles
2000 Mazda Miata EV, 78 kW, 17 kWh
1983 Grumman Kurbwatt EV,170 kW, 32 kWh
1983 Mazda RX-7 EV 43 kW 10 kWh
1971 "Karmann Eclectric" EV 240 kW 19 kWh
1965 Karmann Ghia Cabriolet

Vike
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 pm
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:56 pm

Yeah, I was being a little snippy about VIA there. But to be clear, it isn't really the $80k that annoys me, for exactly the reasons AlfredWAB notes - especially for a commercial vehicle with applications for the remote generator (a unique and impressive capability).

What bugs me a lot more is that they've been talking a good story for a while now and not delivering anything. There have been so many scams and failures in this product space that I tend to remain pretty skeptical until there are confirmed retail deliveries. Did the VIA guy give a firm date for shipping? Their web site sure doesn't.

At least Outlander P-HEVs (to get marginally back on topic :) ) are actually for sale in Japan and Europe. Given that, it's a bit inconsistent to be skeptical about Mitsu's intentions while embracing VIA vaporware.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

Don
Site Moderator
Posts: 2736
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 3:55 pm
Location: Biloxi MS

Re: Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:32 pm

AlfredWAB wrote:I am becoming more and more convinced that statement may well be fact. Actions speak way louder than words, but I'm not seeing any action or words
I would argue that the biggest 'action' was when they created a completely different car for North America - Longer, taller and wider than the domestic/Euro version. If they had the slightest misgivings about selling them here, why not save a ton of money, lots of time and trouble and just import the same version of the car that they are selling everywhere else?

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2017 Chevy Volt Premier
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1979 Honda CBX six into six

Vike
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 pm
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:07 pm

Don wrote:If they had the slightest misgivings about selling them here, why not save a ton of money, lots of time and trouble and just import the same version of the car that they are selling everywhere else?

The JDM version of the i-MiEV would not meet American crash standards. The car is longer for U.S.-spec bumpers, and wider to create enough space between front seats and doors to allow side airbags to deploy (ever notice how far away those dinky stock armrests are from your elbows?). As has been discussed elsewhere, it would have been a good idea to go with bigger wheels while they were at it, as the stock tires can barely handle the added weight of the batteries, but it wasn't strictly necessary, so they gave that a pass. Given Mitsu's interest in electrification (where they feel they have significant advantages) and attributes that made the i a suitable BEV platform (a small efficient RWD package tall enough to accommodate batteries under the passengers), the mods were worth it considering the alternatives. No other BEV option was feasible within the time frame, e.g., a BEV Lancer would have been about as competitive as a Coda, and the Mirage is packaged all wrong.

What happened after the project was green-lighted is anybody's guess, but it does seem a cavalcade of bad breaks. Masuko now seems to think the company's global future is in electrifying (BEV or PHEV) C/SUVs, not micro cars, so I'm guessing there was a change of heart some time before the i-MiEV launched in NA. Cold feet undoubtedly went icy when a spike in the yen forced a last-minute price increase, especially after Mitsu realized that Nissan was pricing the LEAF more aggressively than expected. The overpriced SE/Premium packages did less to improve overall margins than to undermine the car's perceived value quotient, especially (and critically) among reviewers.

At this point it looks like the "We've already spent the R&D money, may as well price 'em to sell" camp has won the internal argument (at least for now), bringing the car back with a simplified (and far more attractive) pricing structure, presumably one that at least covers unit manufacturing costs. But with Outlander PHEV sales apparently constrained by the supply of the same batteries that power the i-MiEV, the question now may be one of availability. Gone are the days of insisting that certified dealers hold a couple of i-MiEVs in inventory, obviously, but the new car may even be a strictly ship to order proposition. And hanging over the whole story is the cloud of Mitsu's plummeting U.S. sales, exacerbated by the highly questionable move of taking the Outlander PHEV to Europe first. While I take Masuko at his word that Mitsubishi can't be the company it wants to be without North American sales, he could be overtaken by circumstances; I've no idea how much longer dealerships can be expected to hold on with the current product mix. So for the i-MiEV, availability of dealers might wind up being an even bigger problem than availability of cars.

I guess we'll know more in a few months - and more still next year.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

Mart
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:45 pm
Location: Midtown, Jackson, Mississippi

Re: Mitsubishi does not want to sell EVs in the USA

Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:55 pm

Vike wrote:But with Outlander PHEV sales apparently constrained by the supply of the same batteries that power the i-MiEV, the question now may be one of availability. Gone are the days of insisting that certified dealers hold a couple of i-MiEVs in inventory, obviously, but the new car may even be a strictly ship to order proposition. And hanging over the whole story is the cloud of Mitsu's plummeting U.S. sales, exacerbated by the highly questionable move of taking the Outlander PHEV to Europe first. While I take Masuko at his word that Mitsubishi can't be the company it wants to be without North American sales, he could be overtaken by circumstances; I've no idea how much longer dealerships can be expected to hold on with the current product mix. So for the i-MiEV, availability of dealers might wind up being an even bigger problem than availability of cars.

I guess we'll know more in a few months - and more still next year.


Several years ago, before Toyota had opened its plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, I had the opportunity to ask one of the Toyota execs if they could build the Prius (as they had announced) at that plant without a U.S. battery supplier? He admitted that they didn't think it would be possible, and the plant now produces Corollas. (Of course there was the whole sordid settlement between Chevron-Ovonics and Toyota over the NiMH batteries and the Yen/USD exchange rate involved too.)

Mitsubishi has announced they are moving i-MiEV battery production to a separate facility to avoid the competition with the Outlander PHEV. That may buy them time. Unless Mitsubishi starts PHEV/BEV production near the Normal plant, I don't see how they could do a ship-to-order system in America within a reasonable time. Perhaps the Enerdels that went into the old Th!nk City would work if the contracts with LEJ/Yuasa allow it and the capacity is in place. Otherwise the Normal plant will be left making ICE cars in a company moving towards PHEV/EV. I'm only about 160 miles from Don in Biloxi, and that's the closest Mitsubishi dealership to me. They may as well figure transport into the cost of a new MiEV.

Return to “Suggestions for Mitsubishi”