Mitsubishi iMiEV goes on sale Motor Trader Car News

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Mitsubishi i-MiEV family

Mitsubishi i-MiEV goes on sale

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 5:05 pm

After almost two years of testing in local conditions and listening to feedback from different people, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) is confident of the suitability of the all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV for sale in Malaysia.

The model was officially announced for general sale this morning at the first Mitsubishi Electric Vehicle (EV) centre in the country located at Jalan Chan Sow Lin, Kuala Lumpur.

The price? RM136,118.50 . excluding insurance which will be RM3,769.50 if you do not have any NCD to offset the premium. It is a duty-free price throughout the country as EVs, together with hybrids, enjoy the privilege at least until the end of this year.

Yes, it is expensive for a model that is similar in size to the Mitsubishi Mirage which costs about half the price. However, the technology cost for EVs is still high, just as it was with hybrids in the early years. Though their numbers are increasing, the ‘critical mass’ has still not been reached where meaningful economies of scale can kick in and start to push production cost down, and make EVs cheaper at retail level.

One of the areas where the cost is still high is the battery pack and for this component, the technology keeps advancing. The lithium-ion type used for the i-MiEV is more expensive than the other type (nickel metal-hydride) used in most hybrids but it does offer better performance.

As the production of lithium-ion battery packs starts to increase, their unit price will start to drop and that will bring down EV prices – unless another type of battery technology is adopted and the cycle of high initial cost starts again.

“The i-MiEV should not be compared to our Mirage though it is the same size. We acknowledge that it is expensive and we are targeting companies first which may wish to demonstrate eco-friendliness. There will also be some consumers who have strong beliefs about protecting their environment and may consider the i-MiEV as one way they can contribute to the cause,” said Tetsuya Oda, CEO of MMM.

M. Iwata (right), the first customer to acquire the i-MiEV in Malaysia. That s his car on the right being recharged at the first Mitsubishi EV Centre along Jalan Chan Sow Lin in Kuala Lumpur

They have found at least one such consumer, Masaharu Iwata from Mitsubishi Corporation, who is the first person in Malaysia to purchase an i-MiEV. Mr. Iwata has been in Malaysia for many years and believes that the i-MiEV is an ideal car for city transport.

Over the three weeks he has already been using it, he said that he has not had issues with the range on one full charge which is around 150 kms.

“Generally, I drive to my office at KLCC where there is a charging station (and a free parking space), and recharge the car while I am there. When I return home, I can recharge it overnight at my apartment, so really, I do not think that people should be concerned about the range of 150 kms,” he said. However, he acknowledged that a family would need a second car if they wish to go long distances, like those who may ‘balik kampung’ regularly.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV family

MMM is offering the i-MiEV with a 5-year warranty which would cover the battery pack, as well as 5 years of free maintenance. After discussions with the JPJ, a method of calculating the roadtax was formulated which is now applied to EVs (this was necessary since EVs have no conventional engine from which the displacement can be used to calculate the roadtax). The basis of calculation is the power output and the i-MiEV is charged the lowest rate of RM10 annually.

As for insurance premiums, it is recognised as being in the same category as a 660 cc car.

MMM is keen to sell the i-MiEV nationwide and will be opening more EV centres, first in the Klang Valley and then in the northern and southern regions, as well as in East Malaysia. The recharging infrastructure is still an issue and while there are a number of recharging stations being set up around KL, it is still something not widespread enough to give consumers confidence. Of course, recharging can also be done at home but if people can also do recharging when they are at their place of work, like Mr.

Iwata, then it might boost interest in owning one.

In as far as awareness is concerned, MMM has done quite a lot to introduce EVs to the Malaysian public. It has had a project in Langkawi with a hotel whereby guests could use the car to move around and it also had an exhibition at Petrosains in KLCC where over 30,000 children had a chance not only to learn about EVs but also experience travelling in one.

According to Mr. Oda, the i-MiEV was launched in Japan in July 2009 and since then, over 33,000 units have been delivered around the world, of which 4 are registered in Malaysia now. The 2013 version has improvements over the one that has been used for testing, with better running performance and some system upgrades.

To understand why Mitsubishi Motors has focussed on EV technology and not hybrids, read this interview with Osamu Masuko . President of Mitsubishi Motors.

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Mitsubishi i-MiEV family
Mitsubishi i-MiEV family
Mitsubishi i-MiEV family

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