The i-MiEV, Mitsubishi’s first plug-in electric vehicle, seemed like a good opener for Mitsubishi, but we haven’t heard much from them regarding any new plug-in models.
True, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicle hasn’t been a huge hit with consumers, selling just 149 units in 2012. The technology is promising, but it does have us wondering about Mitsubishi’s future. For the first half of this year, nearly 900 units have sold, which is much better than last year’s sales, but why haven’t we been seeing any new concepts from Mitsubishi?
Actually, Mitsubishi is having a hard enough time keep up with demand in Japan and the Netherlands for both the i-MiEV and the Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle [PHEV], so there is good reason for Mitsubishi to hold off creating anything new.
Perhaps the biggest problem here in the US is the lack of infrastructure, which makes electric vehicle ownership a difficult proposition for many who might consider the new technology. Still, there are a couple of things in the works, such as a Lancer EVO PHEV based on the Pike’s Peak prototype racer, but I wouldn’t expect anything new for a while.
Mitsubishi Motors North America’s Roger Yasuka confirms this, saying, “We are just in midst of planning our future model line up including the EV, PHEV, and HEV vehicles… Mitsubishi is unlikely to have much beyond its current line up to offer plug-in customers for the next few years.”
Holding off can be a good move, especially for a small company, such as Mitsubishi, to release anything new. Spending millions of dollars developing something that can’t be sold, due to conditions outside of their control [read: infrastructure and technology costs], doesn’t make sense. Additionally, Mitsubishi could be taking the same stance as Subaru, another small automaker who released their first hybrid vehicle this year, who just wanted to make sure they “got it right” for their clients.
Can Mitsubishi get a second chance to make a first impression?