Clean Transport

Published on August 7th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Nissan And Mitsubishi Working On $15,000 EV

August 7th, 2014 by  


Originally posted on GAS2

When electric cars first made their mainstream debut, the cheapest one you could buy in the US was the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which before rebates came in at about $29,000. Four years later though, Mitsubishi and Nissan are teaming up to build an EV that costs half that amount before any tax rebates, reports the Nikkei.

The minicar-based EV will be aimed specifically at the Japanese market, where small “kei cars” have remained stubbornly popular due to their low cost to buy and operate. After a series of price cuts to both the Mitsubishi i-Miev and the Nissan LEAF, these down EVs now cost between $22,000 and $28,000, and once you factor in rebates the cost comes down to between $15,000 and $21,000. But once those incentives inevitably run out, will buyers still be driven to electric vehicles?

Mitsubishi and Nissan aren’t taking any chances, and their micro-EV could prove especially popular in major metro areas like Tokyo, where parking comes at a premium and gas costs can be exceptionally high. Nissan and Mitsubishi are also working together on a national EV charging network meant to expand public charging offerings all across the island nation.

But the big draw would be a the super-low price, as after Japan’s generous EV incentives of about $7,200, this new micro EV would cost buyers less than 1.78 million yen, or about $8,000 [Note: see price correction in comments]. An $8,000 EV is a car it’s almost impossible to say no to, you know what I mean? People have spent less on countertops for their kitchen makeovers, but to have a vehicle that allows you to eliminate or reduce your gas costs to almost nothing?

That’s just a no-brainer to me. Let’s hope this is more than just rumor and hearsay.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Ronald Brakels

    A compact electric car for $15,000 is quite doable. Battery costs are important, but the cost of an electric car minus the battery is significantly less than a gasoline or diesel vehicle because it is so much simpler. The motor is a fraction of the price, there is no need for gears (one gear will suffice, or if you want to get fancy you can have two), no exhaust system, no petrol tank, no oil pump, a very simple cooling system, etc. So given that battery prices have have had large decreases in cost and these decreases will continue, a $15,000 electric car is a reasonable thing to expect, provided of course it is manufactured on a large enough scale and that will be what Japan intends to do. (They have like one oil well in Japan, so they got a strong incentive.)

    • James Elliott

      Agreed. I think they’ll be able to do a $15,000 (after incentives) EV kei-car here without too much problem. The kei-cars are quite light, which is probably exactly what you want with an EV and should enable them to make one with a good range even with a smaller (therefore cheaper) battery.

      I’d imagine that they’re also thinking that if they can build up production of EVs via the kei models, the benefits in manufacturing cost and battery cost reductions will spill over to other EVs as well, making it easier to build and sell standard model EVs here later on.

  • Ronald Brakels

    I will mention that while Japanese “yellow plate” cars may be small by American standards they seat five people, they go up and down Japanese mountains, and they do highway speeds (even if they are not supposed to as the result of an 80 kilometer an hour speed limit). And I have to admit that when I went to America I was disapointed by the size of the cars there. I expected the place to be full of cars the size of whales with fins on them. Instead, many of the cars were sensibly sized, even small, so it definitely looks like there’s a market for smaller Japanese cars there.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I saw a Hummer today. Used to see them with some regularity, not very often any longer.

      Thing looked like a house driving down the road compared to the cars most people were driving.

      Of course, this is Ca. When I was back East last winter there were many more larger cars. Gas is cheaper than Ca in many states.

      • Ronald Brakels

        We have some hummers in South Australia. (Tragically I was thrown out of the Manly Man Hummer club after a disagreement with the club headquarters in Riyadh.) And personally I am disgusted with the fact that contrary all sense, Australian cars have been getting larger and less fuel efficient. This is what happens when your country decides not to have a recession after the Global Financial Crisis (and yes, it was a choice) and a rising Australian dollar keeps gasoline prices relatively stable. Of course, as the price of coal and gas exports drops this will all end in tears. Tears and massive electric car purchases. And I’ll mention that the reason I am disgusted by increasing car sizes in Australia because when I’m out driving my Hummer I should dwarf everything else on the road. If I drive over your car and I notice that I have done so, it means your vehicle was too large.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Manly Man Hummer club

          Watch yourself. This is a family show.

        • Larry


  • James Elliott

    “But the big draw would be a the super-low price, as after Japan’s
    generous EV incentives of about $7,200, this new micro EV would cost
    buyers less than 1.78 million yen, or about $8,000.”

    1.78 million yen is about $17,400, not $8000.

  • Ďakujem

    Of course this would be wonderful, but I’ll believe it when I see it. The EV industry is so full of rumour and vapourware that I have no other choice.

    • Benjamin Nead

      We’ll, I believe it’s going to happen. My fear is that it will only available in Japan and never make it to the US.

      There is a perception in the auto industry is that the North American market is only interested in higher priced, larger vehicles. Yet there are now fewer autos in general being sold here to the youngest demographic. A small, under $20K EV really is a no-brainer to make inroads into that market . . . except to the no-brained marketing people who will want to keep it away from these shores.

      • Patrick Linsley

        Well there is a silver lining even if it is only sold in Japan (that’s if it sells well of course). With greater rates of adoption of electric vehicles battery prices speed up their price decline as more are built. Of course it would still suck as I’m sure an electric kei would be a blast to drive.

      • Offgridman

        The real problem won’t be if people want it, or if the marketing people will try to sell it. The big problem is if that inexpensive of a, vehicle can pass the US safety standards, just like all the other micro commuters now available in Europe and other places.

Back to Top ↑