When Nissan announced last month that its upcoming all-electric Leaf will sell for $25,280 after federal subsidies, it was almost like a challenge to other automakers–we dare you, Nissan seemed to be saying, to sell a quality EV at such a low price. Think City recently rose to the challenge with its $30,000 EV, and now Mitsubishi is actively undercutting Nissan with the i-MiEV, set to hit U.S. streets in 2011.
The i-MiEV will cost approximately $22,500 after a $7,500 credit–that’s cheaper than the average Prius. Mitsubishi’s entrant into the EV arena has a range of 80 to 100 miles, a top speed of 81 mph, and a charge time of 7 hours with a 220V system. In comparison, the Leaf has a range of 100 miles, a top speed of 87 mph, and a charge time of 8 hours with a 220V system.
At first glance, it looks like the two vehicles are on even footing. But Nissan announced its pricing plan first, and got the lion’s share of attention for unveiling the first reasonably-priced mass-market EV. Not to mention that the Leaf is sleeker (in our opinion) and has room for five passengers compared with the four-seater iMiEV. We’ll also be watching to see if the i-MiEV matches up in the features category when it is released in the U.S.–the 2011 Leaf will offer Sirius/XM satellite radio capabilities, Bluetooth connectivity, and energy-efficient LED headlight, among other amenities. In any case, this probably won’t be the last we hear about affordable EVs. Now that Mitsubishi and Nissan have revealed their offerings, it’s only a matter of time before other major automakers follow suit.