AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Savin' Money at the Pump
Toyota’s Prius has become the go-to vehicle for people looking to save money at the gas pump. Sure, it looks like an alien science project gone wrong and its driving dynamics are less fun than a trip to the ER, but this car’s groundbreaking combination of high technology, phenomenal fuel economy and unimpeachable reliability have made it a perennial favorite.
With electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles getting their prices slashed this year, it’s no surprise that residual values are also being cut.
10. Volvo C30 - 2,827 Units Sold
After checking out the top 10 best selling vehicles of last year, it’s now time to take a look at the worst performers on dealerships lots.
It isn’t a huge surprise to see the Volvo C30 on the list at 10th place, considering the Swedish automaker decided to give the vehicle the axe at the end of 2012. The Volvo C30 was on the market for six years in North America and sold only 26,000 units.
Ford recently announced the EPA fuel efficiency rating for its electric Focus model. Since it doesn’t burn any gasoline, the number isn’t in miles per gallon (MPG), but was given as miles per gallon gasoline equivalent, or MPGe. A new term to the automotive lexicon, it’s worth exploring exactly what MPGe means and how an MPGe rating is determined, especially as the number of electric cars and plug-in electric hybrids on the roads continues to increase.
Japanese automaker Mitsubishi will be releasing its i-MiEV Power Box on April 27th in their home country for around $1,785 (149,800¥).
The i-MiEV Power Box is basically a vehicle-to-grid system that will allow the owners of an i-MiEV and the MINICAB MiEV to use their EV to power an outside device like a phone charger or even a fridge. Weighing in at 25 lbs, the Power Box plugs directly into the EV’s quick-charge outlet to convert electricity into AC 100V.
If the vehicle’s battery is fully charged, the Power Box can put out up to 1,500 watts, good enough for five or six constant hours of energy. According to the Japanese automaker, 1,500 watts is actually good enough to power a typical Japanese household for a full day.
Mitsubishi did warn that everyday use could eventually have a negative effect on the vehicle’s battery pack. The main use for the Power Box is for emergency situations when no other power is available or when the power grid is experiencing peak demand.
There’s no confirmation if the Power Box will make its way to other markets outside of Japan.
One special Mitsubishi i-MiEV city electric car gets pumped up with performance enhancers as the Japanese automaker prepares to enter an all-electric race car into the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Details are limited for now, but Mitsubishi says the new i-MiEV hill climb prototype will be based upon many of the same production model components. However, judging from the illustrations, “production based” is loosely interpreted. Designed with a center single-seat driving position, the rendered i-MiEV hill climb prototype is significantly wider and more aerodynamically stylized than the standard road car.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be held on July 8th and the specialized i-MiEV will be piloted by Hiroshi Masuoka, a two time Dakar Rally winner in 2002 and 2003 behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Pajero.
GALLERY: Mitsubishi i-MiEV Hill Climb Prototype
Mitsubishi has achieved decent amounts of success with the i-MiEV electric car in its home land, and also in Europe, where this model is also sold badged as a Peugeot iOn.
Next month, the i-MiEV will be going on sale in America (called simply the “i” in our market), which will no doubt increase sales numbers of this innovative commuter car.
Not ones to rest on their laurels, Mitsubishi has announced an ambitious plan to electrify themselves, by producing eight electric-vehicles by 2016. These will include plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles.
Part of this new plan is to produce small SUV’s and light trucks which will attract farmers, contractors, and others who use light trucks as part of their work.
Mitsubishi is well under way with this new project, and expects to put its electric truck on sale globally by April 2013. It’s not clear if the light truck will be part of Mitsubishi’s North American line-up, but its other electric vehicles will be available here.
Mitsubishi hopes to sell 42,000 electric vehicles in 2012, double the number it moved this fiscal year. The American market is a crucial part of Mitsubishi’s goals. The “i” car as mentioned before will go on sale soon with a starting price of $29,125, minus the Government rebates.
[Source: Automotive News]
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has a goal – it wants to sell 2,000 units of its new i electric car in North America by April. Mitsubishi’s goal is pretty ambitious, considering that the i arrives at North American retailers in November and it’s only pre-sold about 350 to date.
According to Yoshikazu Nakamura, senior executive officer of Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle business office, the company expects North American sales of the i (aka i-MiEV in Japan and Europe) to reach to 20,000 units by the end of Japan’s fiscal year in March 2016.
The goal is attainable, as the U.S. model of the i has a base price of about $28,000. That means it’s one of the least-expensive highway-capable EVs sold in the United States. It also means that it will be sold at a loss for the first few years.
From now until 2016, we can expect to see three new Mitsubishi electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles (in addition to the i). Following in the footsteps of the i is the plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander crossover, which will be available in April 2013.
As part of a plan to establish itself as a global EV leader, Mitsubishi will launch eight electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles around the world by 2016. Of those, North America can expect to see four of these models. And the company isn’t starting from scratch – it plans to launch versions of existing gasoline-powered vehicles with all-electric or plug-in powertrains.
With the recent launch of the U.S.-spec i-MiEV electric car at the LA Auto Show, Mitsubishi has announced a plan to help bring the company back to its former self.
In 2002 the Japanese automaker sold 345,111 vehicles and operated 637 retail outlets in the United States. Currently, there are just 401 dealerships and the total sales figures are a scant 53,986 units.
Seeing the correlation, Mitsubishi will launch 26 new dealers over the next year, with three new stores in Texas, seven in California and the rest in 11 other states, mostly in the West or East. The dealerships aren’t just designed to sell any car, but to support the rollout of the new i-MiEV electric car. According to PR rep Maurice Durand, Mitsubishi also wants to put dealers back in place in markets where previous dealers had shut down during the recession.
Apart from the shrinking dealer numbers, Mitsubishi is also facing an issue of aging products, with little new in the lineup apart from the the Outlander Sport (a smaller compact crossover compared to the Outlander) in the past several years.
[Source: Automotive News via 4WheelsNews]
Citing the company’s long history of affordable compact cars that are environmentally sustainable, Mitsubishi today launched the U.S.-spec version of the electric i-MiEV at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.
With some 4,000 i-MiEV models already on the road in different parts of the world, the car is now somewhat familiar, but the U.S. version has a few changes on the outside and underneath. The front fascia, in particular, has been reworked for U.S. standards, and Mitsubishi tells us this four-passenger car is intended to be the first salvo in the company’s push towards better overall emissions and consumption by 2020.
Power comes from a lithium-ion battery and electric motor that can be recharged in 16 hours from a conventional household outlet or 8 hours using a 220V outlet. A special 220V quick charger will, however, be able to charge up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.
The other announcement today was that Mitsubishi has teamed up with Eaton to supply home recharging stations, and Best Buy to sell and install them. One last mention was the pricing, which will start at under $30,000 before any government incentives – or the optional graphics packages that will be available when the car hits showrooms next Fall.
Cars will hit dealers in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in November of next year with larger scale sales at the end of 2012.
GALLERY: U.S.-Spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV
If you though Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV electric city car was both silly looking and impractical, perhaps the i-MiEV Cargo is more up your alley? Or perhaps not. With significantly more usable space, along with an even more ridiculous shape, the Cargo model is a concept that Mitsubishi is exploring for eventual production. The i-MiEV on which it’s based has already been given the green light with sales starting in Japan in April of 2010.
Designed more for urban transportation of goods than hauling hay, the tiny i-MiEV CARGO actually boasts a serious amount of cargo room, with the rear cargo space measuring 1,350 mm wide by 1,180 mm high and 1,100 mm high. That equates to 1,742.3 liters or 61.9 cubic feet of space.
The i-MiEV Cargo has a range of roughly 100 miles on a charge and makes 63hp and 133 ft-lbs of torque.
The i-MiEV Cargo will officially be unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show on October 21st.
GALLERY: Mitsubishi i-MiEV Cargo
Official release after the jump:
Tiny electric car will go on sale in July
Mitsubishi has just revealed the production model of its i-MiEV electric car in Japan and it plans to have models on the road by July. Initial sales of 1,400 vehicles will be to government entities with public sales starting in April of 2010.
As a full-electric vehicle the i-MiEV creates zero emissions and is powered by an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that makes 63hp and 133 ft-lbs of torque.
It is based on Mitsubishi’s “i” minicar and by locating the drive battery under the floor and the power unit under the luggage compartment, it not only retains a great deal of usable cargo space, but is also a well-balanced vehicle.
Mitsubishi calls it the “ultimate eco-car, a solution to the various challenges the automobile faces today including environmental pollution, global warming and the depletion of petroleum-based energy supplies.”
The battery can be recharged using either a conventional household outlet, a 200-volt outlet or it can be quick-charged at special stations – which Mitsubishi is currently setting up in Japan. With a standard household outlet, charge time is 14 hours, but can be sped up to 7 hours using a 200-volt outlet. Quick-charge stations will be able to make the charge in just half an hour.
The i-MiEV is priced at 4,599,000 Yen ($47,600) but is eligible for a $14,400 tax break.
Mitsubishi did not give any details on when the car might go on sale outside Japan, but company representatives have already said the the i-MiEV is scheduled to be sold in North America.
GALLERY: Mitsubishi i-MiEV
More on the i-MiEV after the jump:
Japanese automaker could use Saturn dealerships to almost double its retail network
Oddly, it seems as though Saturn is far more interesting and far more loved as the up-for auction arm of a doomed for bankruptcy company than it ever was as regular old car brand. To date the Penske Automotive Group, automaker Nissan/Renault and investment firm Telesto Ventures have all been cited as potential buyers. Now we can add Mitsubishi to that list.
According to a report in the Detroit News the Japanese automaker is in talks with GM to supply its vehicles to the existing Saturn dealership network. The move would see Mitsu expand its number of dealerships in the U.S. by 380 – up from the current 430 dealerships.
The move seems unlikely as Mitsubishi is suffering in the current economic downturn. In April the company sold just 3,919 vehicle in the U.S., down 55.9 percent from the same month in 2008.
Mitsubishi is, however, eager to gain a larger percentage of the U.S. market and until recently was even engaged in talks with Chrysler to bring a small electric car called the Peapod Mobility to the U.S.
The company does appear to be beefing up it’s product line and rebranding its existing products. Company representatives have made it clear that the i MiEV electric micro-car (pictured above) will come to North America and a coupe version of the car has been explored in concept form. Additionally, Mitsu recently launched the Sportback version of the Lancer. As far as rebranding, the company is finally picking up on the success of the Lancer and Evo models and is giving that look to the rest of its line. We’ve already seen it with the 2009 Eclipse and the next generation Outlander promises to have an Evo-style nose.
[Source: Detroit News]
Mitsubishi plans to continue to promote its i MiEV electric vehicle by launching a more performance-oriented version of the micro-car at the Geneva Auto show this March. Called the i MiEV Sport Air, this concept car is an effort by Mitsubishi to explore the fun side of green motoring.
The iMiEV Sport Air will feature a similar drivetrain to the existing electric car, with a lithium-ion battery pack that is situated in the floor to give the car an excellent center of gravity and, therefore, plenty of handling fun. For the Sport Air, Mitsubishi intends to up the output of the electric engine to appeal to those who want to go green.. fast. Much like it’s micro-sedan counterpart, the Sport Air will be a zero emissions vehicle.
In terms of design of the Sport Air, Mitsubishi has only released this sketch and said that the car will feature a “clear cutaway” top for open air motoring.
At the LA Auto Show and on the Streets of California
As Mitsubishi used the LA Auto Show to showcase its i MiEV electric car, several models were sent out onto the roads of California for real-world testing.
Based on a gasoline-powered version of the same car that Mitsubishi currently sells in Japan, the i MiEV uses a 330-volt lithium-ion battery to power a magnet electric motor. The battery makes 47 kW, which, says Mitsubishi, can move the car quicker than it’s 64hp gasoline sibling.
Because the battery is located low in the car the cabin is spacious and the center of gravity is very low. Mitsubishi says the i MiEV will be able to travel 100 miles on a single charge.
The i MiEV is currently undergoing testing for production and Mitsubishi claims it will be the first “new generation” lithium-ion-powered electric vehicles to hit the market.
Official release after the jump: