Mitsubishi i Electric Car to Go on Sale Six Months Early

Mitsubishi is moving up its nationwide rollout of its 2012 Mitsubishi i electric car by six months to compete better with the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus EV and Honda Fit EV. The rollout, which was scheduled for December 2012, will happen by July, company President Osamu Masuko told Automotive News.

The 2012 i, formerly known as the i-MiEV, began shipping to initial markets on the West Coast last month, with the first retail sales beginning this month. Mitsubishi recently raised the EV’s price to $29,125 before launch, a $1,135 increase. Regardless, it remains the most affordable mainstream EV available.

The Leaf is now available in 30 states, and its nationwide rollout will be finished by March. The Focus EV just launched in three initial markets, with 15 more coming in 2012. The just-announced Honda Fit EV will come next summer to California and Oregon and to the East Coast in early 2013.

Moving up the nationwide rollout means that by this summer, the Mitsubishi i will be one of the most widely accessible electric cars in the short term, sharing the limelight primarily with only the Leaf in many areas of the U.S. The Japanese carmaker plans to sell 10,000 electrics in 2012.

The EPA recently ranked the Mitsubishi i as the most fuel-efficient vehicle for the 2012 model year. It rated the EV at 126/99/112 city/highway/combined in miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). Real-world electric range is estimated at 62 miles, more than 10 miles less than the Leaf, the EPA says.

Masuko also told Automotive News that the U.S. would get a larger electric car, derived from Mitsubishi’s subcompact Mirage small car, by mid-2013. That model might gain more traction with U.S. consumers, considering the petite size of the i.

Mitsubishi Pulls Forward U.S.-Wide Launch of i EV (Automotive News) 

More From