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Future Mitsubishi EVs to run on new Renault-Nissan platform, report says

It's all about keeping costs low.

Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

In case you missed it, Nissan purchased a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors. Now, since it's part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, it's time for the cost cutting to begin, and it'll reportedly start with electric vehicles.

Instead of using its own platform, Mitsubishi will rely on the Alliance's next-generation EV platform, Reuters reports, citing Japan's Nikkei newspaper. The platform will also be used for the next generation of Nissan's Leaf EV, which Reuters claims will go on sale in 2018. Members of the Alliance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cost-cutting is a tough act for electric vehicles, as many are built on dedicated platforms that are of little use for other types of vehicles. The costs are especially high for Renault-Nissan, as its two current EVs -- the Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf -- exist on two separate platforms. That's believed to change when the aforementioned new platform comes out, so it makes sense that Mitsubishi would get lumped in there, as well.

Mitsubishi offers a plug-in variant of its Outlander crossover currently, but its only battery-electric vehicle is the i-MiEV. It is not a very good car. It has both the looks and the range of a golf cart, and its sales numbers are whatever the opposite of "impressive" is.

Even sharing with its own partners has the chance for a decent cost reduction. Nikkei reported that sharing the motor, inverter and battery between the three automakers would lower the Leaf's price by about 20 percent, although it's unclear if that relates to the automaker's cost or the final consumer price at the dealership.

Other automakers are beginning to open up platforms for this reason, too. Volkswagen introduced its electric MEB platform with the I.D. concept car, and MEB will eventually go on to underpin dozens of new EVs across Volkswagen's many subsidiaries. Toyota is also looking to offer up its fuel-efficient powertrains, in the hopes of spreading out costs a bit better.

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