Earlier this week we saw how a startup electric vehicle maker dropped out of business saying support for the market is weak, but don’t try telling that to Mitusubishi.
The far-more deep pocketed company said it will push up plans for nationwide roll out for its four-door electric i from an originally planned December 2012 nationwide roll out to June 2012.
The plug-in commuter will be here six months sooner perhaps in part because it is six thousand dollars less than a Nissan Leaf while offering only 11 miles less EPA estimated range (62 vs. 73).
Mitubishi reports its dealers have said they are receiving requests for the i and perceived demand around the U.S. was enough to prompt the company to update its schedule.
Last month the car began selling in Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington, and while new to the U.S., Mitsu has already sold 16,000 units overseas where it is known as the i-MiEV.
The i, will start at $29,125 which makes it a value leader compared to the 2012 Leaf which goes for $35,200.
If factoring in a $7,500 federal subsidy, outlay for the Mitsu could be around $22k, and this is before miscellaneous other incentives that may be regionally available.
So the price is attainable for more people, but in question is how many would want to make the Mitsu their one and only car?
Mitsubishi says the i is ideally a second car, but we know intrepid EV enthusiasts have been known to say “phooey” to that assumption already, having purchased the limited-range Leaf as an only car.
Reports are that limited range or not, EVs can be used as a primary car, especially for those with shorter daily drives. An internal-combustion rental car is an option for infrequent longer trips for some of these early adapters.
Regardless of that discussion, the overall positive news for EV enthusiasts is significant competition is coming in, and more is yet to come.
Mitsubishi said it will also start selling an electric version of its Mirage compact in Japan in 2013, though it hasn’t set a date for U.S. sales.
Offerings also by Chevrolet and Ford – Spark EV and Focus Electric respectively – are on their way, with the Ford being first, and plans for the Chevy yet to be announced. Besides these, more EVs are expected to enter what is now a tiny but growing market.