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CURRENTevents Tesla wins Ohio battle as dealership war spreads

Mitsubishi slashes price of 2014 i-MiEV

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi has drastically dropped the price of its 2014 i-MiEV, and added several features as standard equipment. The new MSRP is $22,995 - a $6,130 price reduction from the previous 2012 model year vehicle.

After factoring in the federal tax credit of $7,500, the net MSRP drops to only $15,495. California residents could be driving electric for $12,995 - no more than the price for a bottom-of-the-line gas burner. And this is no stripped-down model - standard equipment includes CHAdeMO DC quick charging, a battery warming system, heated front seats, heated side view mirrors, aluminum wheels, fog lights and even a leather-covered steering wheel. To date, more than 30,000 Mitsubishi i-MiEV and i-MiEV-based production vehicles have been sold, most of them in the European and Asian markets.

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Ohio was the site of the latest battle in the war between Tesla and the auto dealers, and the subversives from Silicon Valley seem to have won the day. The Ohio Dealers Association got an anti-Tesla amendment added to Ohio Senate Bill 137 - an unrelated bill that requires drivers to change lanes when highway maintenance vehicles are alongside the road. The proposed amendment would have banned Tesla (or, theoretically, other automakers) from selling cars directly to customers, and required it to make sales through independently-owned third parties. Groveport auto dealer Rhett Ricart told the Columbus Dispatch that he fears the long-established independent franchise model could unravel if states allow manufacturer-owned stores. “Tesla is Armageddon,” he said. However, Tesla VP Diarmuid O’Connell described traditional auto dealers as “classic incumbent monopolists,” and said, “The reason we sell direct is not to eviscerate the franchise dealer model. It’s because we’re introducing a novel and innovative technology that requires a lot of customer education and support.” Tesla is steadily growing more skilled in the arts of war. A lobbyist representing the company sent Ohio House members a letter asking them to block the amendment. Tesla also issued a press release in which it urged its supporters to contact lawmakers, and pointed out that there are more than 250 Roadster and Model S owners in Ohio, that Ohio companies supplied over $10 million in Model S parts and components this year, and that the company already operates a service center in Dublin, and plans to open stores in Columbus and Cincinnati this month, as well as a number of Superchargers before the end of the year. Finally, the electric automaker deployed its most potent weapon. The Columbus Dispatch showed photographs of members of the Ohio legislature taking test drives in an 85 kWh Performance Model S. The amendment was defeated.

CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine - Iss 11 DEC 2013  

CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine - Iss 11 DEC 2013