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With all of the talk about EVs today, one of the earliest gets little attention these days, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. That’s not surprising, with all of its flaws and outdated tech. But you sure can’t tell it’s a slow, compromised EV from the used prices we see online for the funky little EV. Once our eyes popped out over the price locally, in the OC, we took a look around elsewhere and found the same higher-than-expected asking prices. 

Even in South Dakota, the i-MiEV is not cheap. We’ve seen averages of $8,000. And Carfax lists them as “good buys.” In Sioux Falls, a city of under 200,000 people. This is for a 2012 EV that cost almost $30,000 when new. Of course, that price dropped quickly once Mitsubishi realized it wouldn’t be selling these like Big Macs at that number.

How many Mitsubishi i-MiEV EVs were made?

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV EV front view on city street
2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV EV | Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty

Production of the i-MiEV ran from the end of 2011 in the U.S. to 2017, though it would continue in production in some countries through 2021. In its first two years in the U.S., Mitsubishi sold 1,800 of the little EVs. Then, the wheels fell off, with sales skidding to only 115 in 2015 and then just six selling in 2017. In all, only 2,148 found buyers here.

So maybe its rarity is causing the prices to hold. It sure isn’t because of range, comfort, or looks. The EPA rating is only 70 miles in range for the “M” base model and 110 miles in the “G” trim. Sure, that kinda works for a city commuter, but talk about range anxiety. As for looks, can you say Frog?

Is there anything good about the i-MiEV?

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV EV with Mitsuoka Motor chairman Susumu Mitsuoka
Mitsuoka version of Mitsubishi i-MiEV EV | YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty

Inside, they were lacking in comfort, mostly from being so cramped. Hey, they’re tiny, so what can you expect? Yes, this is a small car, though the U.S. version has more length, width, and height, than those sold in other countries. 

Charging is another problem, with the tech being so early in EV development. To go from a 10% charge to an 80% charge takes almost an hour. And with a zero-to-60 time of 14.7, it is agonizingly slow. Poor handling, a tippy-ness feel, and slow steering were still more problems. 

How much are they going for now?

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV EV driven on street
2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV EV | Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty

So back to these EVs on the used car market, why would anyone want to buy them today? And one thing you have to be careful about is battery life. Should the 16 kWh lithium-ion battery be on its last legs, figure replacement cost to be around $4,500. So if the battery is shot, that i-MiEV you’re lusting after better be almost free. 

Most of the ones we see for sale are 2012 to 2014 i-MiEVs, with mileage under 50,000. Most have around 30,000 miles. And the average price is around $8,000, be it in Hawaii ($10,000), Virginia ($8,990), Hawaii ($10,995), or Texas ($6,500), as of August 18, 2023. 

So there you go. A surprisingly bankrupt EV still selling for one-third to one-half of its original 2012 to 2014 price. 


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