Mitsubishi details global iMiEV plans

Mitsubishi's big electric car announcement at the New York Auto Show was that the iMiEV would be coming to the U.S. All we could get out of Mitsubishi reps before the big reveal was that this will happen sometime before 2012.
When we got to spend a few minutes with John Koenig, Mitsubishi North America's executive vice president of operations, he said, "We've now announced that for all the global markets, wherever the left hand drive is needed, that's where it's going to be. We just can't say the exact timing when it'll be, but I would say within two years."

With Japan, the UK, and the rest of Europe due to get the iMiEV before the U.S., the question of how many of these cute electric cars Mitsubishi can produce was at the top of our minds. We asked Koenig about the reports that the company would increase its annual production capability to 20,000 units. 20,000 may seem like a too few to some people, but Koenig said that the real numbers are really even smaller. Less than 10,000 iMiEVs will be made per year when Mitsubishi starts up "full production." The limiting factor, as should be no surprise, is the number of battery packs that GS Yuasa can make. Koenig said, "Right now, GS Yuasa is our source of batteries, through the joint venture we've done with them. I think 10,- or 12,000 is the maximum volume at the beginning. We're working on figuring out a way to get greater battery production, but that's going to mean an investment in a plant somewhere to produce more. We haven't made a decision on where that plant would be located, whether that be in Japan or North America or Europe.

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