Mitsubishi Motors unveils cheaper i-MiEV electric car

(Reuters) – Mitsubishi Motors Corp launched two new versions of the i-MiEV electric car on Wednesday, slashing the price on one and extending the range on the other to appeal to more consumers in the nascent zero-emission field.

Mitsubishi Motors became the first major automaker to mass-produce pure electric cars with the egg-shaped i-MiEV and leads the segment so far with 10,000 vehicles sold globally since mid-2009. It has exported another 4,000 electric cars for sale under PSA Peugeot Citroen’s brands.

Japanese rival Nissan Motor Co, which wants to dominate the electric vehicle (EV) market with its French partner Renault SA, has sold 8,500 Leaf electric cars globally since its launch in December 2010.

In the i-MiEV’s first remodeling, Mitsubishi Motors will offer an entry-level “M” version, with a sticker price of 2.60 million yen ($32,000), down from 3.98 million yen, and a shorter range of 120 km (75 miles), compared with 160 km (100 miles) for the previous model.

After Japanese government subsidies, the M will cost the buyer 1.88 million yen, Mitsubishi Motors said.

“Costs have really come down dramatically,” President Osamu Masuko told a news conference, adding that batteries — the main reason for the relatively high price of EVs — had more than halved in price in the last two years… Read More [via reuters]