We told you back in April that Mitsubishi was working hard to keep the cost of its i electric car lower than any other EV on the U.S. market. Originally this brought the price to an extremely affordable $21,000 base price after the $7,500 federal tax rebate, just $1,000 over the goal Mitsubishi was trying to meet before the Japan earthquake prevented their success. Now, things seem to have gone downhill. After making a big to do over the low price of its i several months ago, Mitsubishi has raised the price of the green vehicle to near Nissan LEAF levels, with a $1,135 jump in all model prices. Why?

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Mitsubishi cites “unforseen changes in market conditions” for the increased price, which may or may not refer to additional challenges caused by the earthquake. This now means that before the federal tax credit, the numbers are as follows. For the ES model, the price is now $29,125 ($21,625 after the tax credit), for the SE, $31,125 ($23,625 after the tax credit), and the SE with premium package will run you a cool $33,915 ($26,415). Clearly the price creeping up is more than an inconvenience. It changes the value equation for people considering these little vehicles as grocery getters, pushing the mainstream adoption of electric cars back just a little more. However, the i EV is still the lowest-priced electric vehicle on the U.S. market, so even though the pricing is no longer stellar, it is still the best budget option for the moment.

+ Mitsubishi

Via AutoBlog Green