Because of what the automaker is terming, "unforeseen changes in market conditions," Mitsubishi announced it's raising the prices of its compact "i" electric vehicle by $1,135.
That brings the base ES model's sticker price up to $29,150, with the better-equipped SE now starting at $31,125. Those prices effectively drop to $21,625 and $23,625 when the one-time federal income tax credit of $7,500 is considered. Option prices remain steady, and include a Cold Zone package ($150) that includes a lithium-ion battery warming system and heated outside mirrors, along with the Premium package ($2,790) that includes a navigation system with rear camera, a hands-free multimedia control system with USB port, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a DC quick charging port.
Still, the i remains the lowest-priced 100 percent electric car sold in the U.S., with its only direct competitor, the Nissan Leaf, starting at $35,200; the "extended range EV" Chevrolet Volt, which includes a small gas engine that runs the electric motor when the battery wears down, has an MSRP of $39,145. Both are also subject to the $7,500 tax credit.
In this case, "changes in market conditions" can mean many things, from a greater-than-anticipated demand for the vehicle, to the company realizing that early adopters will gladly pay the extra grand to be the first in their subdivisions to own an i.
Jim Gorzelany is author of the Automotive Intelligentsia Money-Saving New-Car Guide, available at , and the Apple iBooks Store.