Nissan Join Mitsubishi To Build Affordable EV

Nissan LeafNissan and Mitsubishi have announced they’re teaming up to develop an inexpensive electric minicar. According to Nikkei, it will go into production before the end of March 2017.

The news answers the question of what will happen to the aging Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car,  first introduced in Japan back in 2008. The i-MiEV itself was briefly the world’s best-selling electric car, until the advent of the Nissan Leaf in December 2010, which surpassed any other EV with global sales growing year on year.ev charging

Nissan is determined to become to electric cars what Toyota is to hybrids: the dominant global player. Mitsubishi, also has long experience not only in battery-electric cars but plug-in hybrids. Nissan presently has no counterpart to the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid SUV, which was among the top three plug-in vehicles sold in Europe last year–and even outsold the Leaf itself.

The announcement is a follow-up to the joint venture established between the two carmakers to build a petrol-powered minicar that replaces the  Mitsubishi “i” in Japan along with a Nissan kei-class minicar, both were not released in Europe. These tiny kei cars are so specialized, meeting a strict set of Japanese regulations limiting their length, width, height, and power output, they’re largely confined to that market–and volumes are limited.

The jointly produced EV is expected to be an electric option available within the new “i” range.