Mitsubishi has slashed the price of their plug-in electric car – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV – in order to compete with the likes of Nissan’s LEAF.
With Mitsubishi getting in to mainstream electric cars before any other big car maker with the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, they had a big advantage. They were the first to mass-produce an electric car; first to do mass, real world trials with electric cars and the first to take orders for a mass produced electric car.
Which is all very good and will help Mitsubishi polish its green halo and hope the eco-mentalists forget that they are best known for big, heavy workhorses like the Mitsubishi Shogun and the bonkers Mitsubishi Evo. But for the benefit of the Mitsubishi ‘Green Halo’ we’ll gloss over what their real achievements are and concentrate instead on them being ahead of the game in the fluffy-bunny stakes with the i-MiEV.
But being ahead of the game is not always all it’s cracked up to be. If you’re out front you have no benchmark for what you’re doing; it’s you setting the benchmarks. Which is exactly what Mitsubishi did in March when it announced prices for the i-MiEV in the UK. And the i-MiEV came in at a rather eye-watering £38,699.
The price obviously reflects the horrendous cost of battery production, and Mitsubishi probably factored in precious little for R&D in order to keep the i-MiEV at least within spitting distance of the price for a real car. And after all, daft Governments round the world – including our own disappointing lot – are subsidising EVs, so the price won’t seem too bad.
And then Nissan decided to make the LEAF a loss-leader in an attempt to get a head-lock on the EV market, and came in with a price of £28,350. Still a lot of money for an averagely equipped Golf-sized car that won’t even take the family to the seaside and back, but hugely cheaper than the £38k for Mitsubishi’s midget milk float.
So what are Mitsubishi to do? Get in to a price war on a car they’re probably not making money on anyway, or stick to their guns on price and sell next to no i-MiEVs? Surprisingly, they’ve decided to enter in to ‘Battery Wars’ and have cut the price of the i-MiEV to £28,990. Frankly, if you’re going to sell at a price that has no bearing on your costs you’d think you’d actually undercut the competition, not come in at £600 above even after dumping £10k off the price.
Let me know when they’re on BOGOF.