I finally took the time to watch this all the way through this weekend, and I highly recommend it to all i-MiEV owners, along with the dwindling number of shoppers still interested in the car.
It's a theme on which I've touched in a few areas of this forum, but I'll have to say it again - this video from August 2012 just adds to my confusion regarding what happened that year, during which customer deliveries of this much-anticipated, affordable, nationally available EV didn't crack a paltry 1000 units.
What is quite obvious in interview after interview with engineers, workers, and product management types is that Mitsubishi invested heavily in the creation of this car. They are very proud of it, and had very high hopes for not only its acceptance, but its true success in the marketplace. At the time this video presentation was prepared, Mitsubishi was already planning for the automation of the few remaining welds that were still being done by hand, as soon as demand and production volumes ramped up.
I think the video leaves little doubt as to where Mitsubishi Japan's heart was in all of this. I can only conclude that they were undermined by MMNA's lack of enthusiasm and commitment. It would appear that EV proponents lost some internal arguments, and the i-MiEV was starved of marketing support by opponents who were convinced such efforts would be wasted. Consider the reality of the video itself. U.S. viewers didn't get to see it until it made it to YouTube late last year, because it was never shown on the Discovery Channel in the U.S., having been shown on Discovery Channel Canada back in August. Exactly how did that happen?
Which brings me back to the essential mystery of the i-MiEV story. How could Mitsubishi Motors spend the billions of dollars and years of concerted effort it took to bring the i-MiEV to North America (something that is glaringly obvious when you watch this video), then chicken out when it came to actually selling the car? They did the really, really hard part, then gave up just 10 feet after the starting line. Was the Nissan Leaf that much better and/or cheaper than they'd expected? Did they find out something about the U.S. EV market very late in the game that discouraged them from spending that last 5% to at least let the car find its potential audience?
There's a story here, and I hope we get to hear it someday.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012