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The Mitsubishi i-MiEV Is the Forgotten, Ultra-Cheap Electric Car

If you’re looking for an exceptionally well-priced electric vehicle, look no further than the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. You probably don’t know the i-MiEV, or at least you don’t remember it, but trust me when I say you can get one cheaply. And the lack of awareness around it is probably part of the reason.

Here’s a little refresher. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV was sold in the United States during the mid-2000s, though I can’t quite pin down which years; I initially thought it was only sold here for the 2012 and 2014 model years, but some 2016 models are listed on Autotrader. Either way, it seemed to skip around in model years, likely because there wasn’t much demand, and the car was largely peripheral to Mitsubishi’s lineup.

So what exactly was it? Aside from being an egg-shaped hatchback, it was an electric car with a little 66-horsepower motor that could go around 60 miles on a single charge — with no gasoline backup engine. Those are weak numbers by modern electric car standards, but it would make a decent around-town runabout for drivers who often find themselves looking for parking spaces in crowded areas or generally only driving in crowded city centers.

It’s an especially good car to consider for drivers looking to save money, because the i-MiEV is tremendously cheap. Used 2012 models are easy to find on Autotrader for around $6,000, which is a far cry from the original MSRP of around $30,000. And even used 2016 models are hovering around that range; one has just 14,000 miles and a $6,999 asking price. The i-MiEV is really, really cheap.

Of course, there are a lot of reasons it’s cheap — the small engine, the low range, the small size and the uncertainty of Mitsubishi parts support. But if you’re looking for a cheap electric car and you don’t need to drive long distances, the i-MiEV might not be a bad idea.

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  1. As bad as the batteries were in the early Nissan Leafs, at least there is support, new batteries, and they made a good number of them, so there should be aftermarket support after Nissan stops supporting them. With this Mitsubishi version of a “fast Neighborhood Electric Vehicle”… I wouldn’t get your hopes up. I have no ideal who is buying the i-MiEV new… I wonder if it’s some sort of “buy a loaded Outlander and get a free i-MiEV” sort of deal…

    A nissan leaf is roughly the same cost as well. 

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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