They say the future is electric. And going by the massive strides Elon Musk and his Tesla brand have made of late, the prospect seems more real than ever before. Boasting quick charging times, longer driving ranges and less yawn-inducing performance, a new crop of electric cars are heralding the electric era. But not every brand that dabbled with electric motoring has found success. In fact, many have failed miserably. One such is Mitsubishi, whose foray into the world of EVs was not well-received in any market.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, or Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle, was launched with much fanfare as the world’s first modern highway-capable mass production electric car. But its sales run over the last eight years has been more befitting a limited production vehicle. Having received a lukewarm reception in the home market and in Europe, the car was launched in the US two years later. But with its spartan, crammed interior, lackluster range of around 100 kilometres on a single charge, and sluggish performance figures of nearly 15 seconds to do 0-100kph, the i-MiEV was rejected outright by American green car buffs. And $23,000 (Dh84,500) was an unjustifiably high price to pay for the modest performance and range it returned. And it didn’t help that Nissan’s Leaf and Chevrolet’s Bolt EVs offered much more value for money.
Mitsubishi blamed everything from the Yen to the economic situation of the target markets for the car’s paltry sales numbers, which were often three-digit figures annually.
Last month, the Japanese carmaker announced that it was pulling the model out of the US market, which we think signals the inevitable killing-off of the disappointing car.