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USA: Mitsubishi’s EV goal: 2,000 N.A. sales by April

Mitsubishi’s U.S. dealers have about 350 pre-sale orders from retail customers for the i electric car.
(Credit: Mitsubishi)

OKAZAKI, Japan–Mitsubishi Motors Corp. aims to sell 2,000 units of its new i electriccar in North America by April, the automaker’s electric vehicle strategy leader says. The i arrives at North American retailers in November.

North American sales of the i, known in Japan and Europe as the i-MiEV, are then expected to rise to 20,000 units annually by the Japanese fiscal year ending in March 2016, says Yoshikazu Nakamura, senior executive officer of Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle business office.

By then, Mitsubishi will have launched at least three electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles in the United States in addition to the i, he says. The first of those additional electrified models is expected to be a plug-in hybrid version of Mitsubishi’s Outlander crossover, set to arrive in the United States by April 2013.

The electrified vehicles are part of Mitsubishi’s plan to refashion itself as a global EV leader by launching eight electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles around the world by 2016. At this point, Nakamura says the U.S. market won’t get all eight electrified vehicles, but he says at least four of the eight will be available for U.S. dealers.

Nakamura says the company’s strategy is to launch versions of existing gasoline-powered vehicles with all-electric or plug-in powertrains, rather than creating new electric or plug-in nameplates from scratch, as Nissan did with its electric Leaf sedan. The i, for instance, is an electric version of a gasoline-powered small car on sale in Japan.


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