Mitsubishi to Bring Gas-Powered i MiEV in the US?

Though Mitsubishi’s all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV isn’t set to hit the US for another 18 months, the Japanese carmaker has plans of selling also a gasoline-powered version of the car.

Mitsubishi said that a gasoline version of the minicar would compete against Daimler’s smart fortwo model, Automotive News reported.

Both electric and gas versions of the i-MiEV are already on sale in Japan. The i-MiEV with 660 cc turbocharged gas engine is available in Europe, but if the car were sold in the US, the small turbocharged unit would likely be replaced by a larger 1.0-liter normally-aspirated three-cylinder engine.

The powerplant on the gas-powered i-MiEV will, in fact, be similar to the one found on the smart fortwo. Ironically, the smart is imported from Europe, where Daimler builds it using... a Mitsubishi engine.

Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV is just 133.7 inches long, which makes it about 2 feet longer than the smart fortwo and 5 feet 3 inches high.

The statement was made during a dealer and media preview of the i MiEV in California last week, where John Koenig, executive vice president of operations at Mitsubishi Motors North America, said that a sales volume of 1,000 units per month could probably persuade Mitsubishi to reengineer the car for US customers.

The expense of creating a left-hand-drive version of the i-MiEV already has been covered for its introduction into Europe, where it sells for about $16,000.
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