Mitsubishi to invest up to $200 million in Renault Ampere EV unit

Mitsubishi has been something of an also-ran in the automotive world for the past decade, with the brand’s storied badges (Delica, Lancer, Pajero, Eclipse — to name a few) largely forgotten in modern vehicular conversation. Now, it says it will invest up to $200 million in partner firm Renault’s Ampere EV unit.

Ampere is set to go public in 2024 at a valuation possibly exceeding $10 billion, and the company has an investor day set for November 15 to detail plans for an initial public offering. On November 1, Renault and Ampere are officially set to become separate operating entities. The Megane E-Tech is the company’s only product for now, but more will be coming soon.

While Mitsubishi still sells a decent number of vehicles in Japan and some parts of Asia, it recently pulled out of a Chinese SUV production deal and still has a fairly laggardly 2035 electrification target. Ironically, Mitsubishi was one of the earliest automakers to bring a modern EV to market with its i-MiEV back in the late 2000s. Admittedly, that “car” was more an oversized golf cart with a crash structure than a compact EV, with abysmal range (66 miles EPA) and a top speed of 80 mph. But hey, it was 2009! After building over 45,000 MiEVs, Mitsubishi discontinued the platform in 2018. Internationally, both Peugeot and Citroën badged versions of the MiEV for sale.

Mitsubishi Motors currently sells no EVs outside its home market of it Japan, where it does have one (very popular) electric kei van and an electric minicab for sale.

Mitsubishi Motors became part of the Renault-Nissan(-Mitsubishi) Alliance back in 2016 when it was purchased by Nissan, though, and that’s the framing you’ll want to apply to today’s investment news. As a member of the alliance, Mitsubishi may not be obligated to invest in Ampere, but it would seem quite silly not to. It’s not hard to imagine a future where Mitsubishi-badged Renaults are running around Japan.

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