They may be required to supply the parts, but they are not required to supply them at what we would call a rational price point.
Precisely. And if iMiev parts today aren't exactly cheap, imagine a few years down the line...
The Lean approach to car parts after-sales supply would imply that manufacturers would only keep a limited number of parts at any one time - not warehouses full. Where masses of parts are made when the production runs (and they probably keep production going until parts ordered have been exhausted by overwhelming majority), the stocks once production ends are a totally different ball game - small numbers, and small volume replenishment. Thats very expensive to maintain, so thats why parts prices are about 10 times the cost you think they should be. In addition, the battery packs are large, and I can't see how Mitsubishi could do anything other than keep about 10 packs available for parts at any one time (or a small number nonetheless). They can't be stored with cells in for ages (unlike traditional parts), meaning that they are a large, heavy item that needs producing on an as-needed basis and then shipped half way round the globe. So, it's no wonder that the cost is massive, as you are actually paying for a small scale production legacy supply.
This has always been my reasoning for designing packs that can be serviced fairly easily, not the way all the manufacturers do it presently. The fact that a whole pack is binned for probably only one cell going bad is also tragically inefficient, and against the aspirations of EV drivers in the main probably. It's not the best answer to the problem by Mitsubishi, it's just an answer. They should have mounted the pack 180 degrees to how they did it!
In days gone by I used to drive a 1985 BMW 6-series. BMW used to (no longer actually) maintain availability of any part for any model of theirs made since I think about 1968 or so through some very long German titled process. The parts prices for that car were astronomical to begin with, but at a certain age and time BMW outsourced spare parts supplies to a 3rd party, who then supplied them through the BMW dealer network. The customer was able to get what they wanted, but the prices went through the roof, and the quality of some of the parts was not up to BMWs QC standards... anyway that particular cars underside rusted out a long time ago now (as well as most of the rest of it), which was probably more of a blessing in disguise in many ways.