Mitsubishi i-MiEV Edges Closer To Late-2011 U.S. Rollout

January 5th, 2010

With the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevrolet Volt coming this fall, if you’re as happy as one of the top names on the list, the electric car buzz is about social media platforms, and migrate to signup lists real dealer showrooms.

Subject to the exclusive (and impractical) Tesla Roadster, there simply are not fully legal EVs out there yet.

And if you’re not one of those Leaf Volt or early adopters, it seems as if half wave of small electric cars are not far behind. Among those in the calendar year 2011, the Think City EV Ford Focus and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (with more coming in 2012).

Of these the coming years, we have seen that most of the i-MiEV and, together with some colleagues in the media, are firmly convinced now that’s a pretty good city car to be. The small four-seat minicar is perky, agile, and incredibly well-plus can cruise at highway speeds U.S..

The MiEV this time we drove is a production of Japanese-market version, and one of only seven vehicles to the United States as a first test and demonstration fleet.

A little quieter in the form of production

According to the U.S. spokesman Maurice Durand, the production version has the same packaging as the development car we drove earlier in the year, but contains a number of changes in noise and motor function.

Sure enough, within a short ride on the facade of roads along the I-5 near Seattle last week, we noticed a lot less whining than the car we reviewed earlier this year in Palm Springs.

As mentioned earlier, sending the MiEV is a refreshingly simple task. There is no complicated in-dash display to worry about, instead you can simply state-of-charge analog meters, a series estimator, an accelerator and brake, which react intuitively, and a traditional ol ‘handbrake next . The shifter offers three modes-Drive, for normal driving, Eco, which throttle response and limits the power to 80 percent softened, except when the accelerator is connected, and ‘B’, which, as in some crosses indicates access to more engine braking when needed.

Having recently driven the Smart Electric Drive, I was curious how the MiEV would rise. And compared to the SAD, the MiEV feels perkier significantly, especially over 30 mph. This is probably because, while the ED engine is only 20 kW (30 kW for a limited kickdown mode), the engine produces 47 kW MiEV’s. The lithium-ion battery pack, to 16 kWh, is about as large as that of the Smart ED, but there is a 80-mile range, according to reports, Mitsubishi is doing very well with this package.

i-MiEV alive more and more useful than the Smart ED

And perhaps the persistent observation between these two mini EV cars is the Mitsubishi MiEV just feels bigger than the Smart. It’s about 200 pounds heavier than the ED, but it has a usable back seat that this six-six-and-mouth writer for packing, along with a much safer feel at speed. Both cars have a similar layout, their powertrain components packed under the rear floor (and rear in the Mitsu).

As mentioned earlier, it is the i-MiEV 133 foot-pounds of torque, available from the start that you can take off from traffic lights faster than most other small four-cylinder gasoline cars. Admittedly, that Rush begins to fade to 35 mph. This station, we took the MiEV to a designated 97 kmh (60 mph) before we ran out of road (and dared, given the care we were practicing this particular car), but it was still accelerating at a decent pace if we are late. The MiEV can hit 81 mph.

Mitsubishi claims a seven-hour charge with a 220-volt dryer outlet type, or 14 hours with a 110-volt household plug. If you have access to a handy dandy three-phase station, but half an hour to get 80 percent full and about two hours.

In the U.S. deployment, the price downwards

The i-MiEV just went on sale in Japan this month and will shortly be launched in Europe, but in Japan the small electric car sells for about $ 53,000. However, because the MiEV to the U.S. after a number of economies of scale are achieved, Mitsubishi hopes to offer it here for less than $ 30k, according to recent reports. And for the $ 7,500 federal tax applicable to EVs.

An official U.S. version of the MiEV, yet to be introduced, a few small changes powertrain or chassis, and slightly different dimensions compared to the Japanese market version, Durand said.

Expect a formal announcement on the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV later this autumn, with American vehicles for sale one year later.

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