Mitsubishi i-Miev price cut may not be enough

19 August 2010

i-Mievs in the mistUnsurprisingly, Mitsubishi has been forced to reduce the list price of its i-Miev electric car in the UK, even before it’s delivered its first sale. Equally naturally, it has homed in on £23,990 after rebates, a price that brings exact parity with its arch rival, the Nissan Leaf.

Rivalry is evidently what Mitsubishi is feeling, rather than some sort of brotherly love towards a fellow pioneer. In the press release revealing the new price of its greenest car, Mitsubishi begins by ranting that it was the first company to mass produce an electric car, the first to announce UK pricing, the first to take customer orders, and will be the first to commence deliveries – the kind of accolades incorrectly laid at the feet of Nissan’s EV by overly keen and insufficiently fact-checked press coverage in recent weeks.

The £9,709 price drop (more than the cost of a Smart ForTwo) is a welcome adjustment, of course. The i-Miev is a lovely little car – nice to drive, pleasant to sit in and perfect for choked urban roads. It’s narrow and short, so will be easy to park in tight spaces, and looks adorable.

Nissan LeafBut it has a tough task on its figurative hands. Going pound-for-pound against the Leaf, it still looks expensive, even at its newly reduced price. It’s smaller, slower, less refined, offers less range, seats fewer people, carries a lot less luggage, and looks like it ought to be a big chunk cheaper when you cast your eyes around the cabin. It’s also nowhere near as clever, lacking features like the Leaf’s range-predicting satellite navigation and mobile-phone integration.

There’s nothing wrong with the i-Miev. It’s just not worth as much money as the Leaf.

Update: Using the magic of Twitter I asked Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of What Car? (and therefore a bloke who knows what a car ought to cost), what price would be right for the i-Miev. He said, “If a Nissan Leaf costs £23k (after grants), I reckon an i-Miev should cost under £20k, including the £5k Government bung.”

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