2012 Mitsubishi iMiEV Reviews Auto and New Car Test Drive

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Mitsubishi i MiEV

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Review: Autoblog


Weight, Rear-Wheel Drive And Torque Bubble Up

There are two truths about the Mitsubishi i should help this little electric car sell in the U.S. once it goes on later this year. it looks like absolutely else on the road today. the car is much more fun than its shape implies.

The North i does share its look versions on sale in Japan and but this EV is a different beast to those models. It’s completely different from the kei-car sold only in home market, which was the Japan Car of the Year by the Automotive and Journalists’ Conference in 2007. also completely different the Japan or Euro-spec electric (which are also slightly from each other) Mitsubishi has been showing off in the for the past few years. We’ve had a to drive these other and you can read our thoughts on the foreign here and here.

At this though, it’s best not to this i is something new.

part of the idea, since the i is to be distinctive. Love it or hate it, thinks that this is electric car buyers want: an vehicle that looks an electric vehicle, even if it from gas roots.

One of Mitsubishi’s design parameters for this was a focus on simplicity. This is as soon as you see the car and its sparse-feeling dashboard. however, means there has some clever thinking to improve the car for its U.S. introduction. has beefed up the i’s size and the of its all-electric powertrain. The car is 4.3 inches and 8 inches longer, for example, the wheelbase is the same as other i

The calibration of the electronic control is also specific to this And, not that EV buyers their plug-in vehicles on safety concerns, but the U.S. i adds side curtain for the first time.

These look like changes on paper, but behind the they make a huge

In our first drive of the i-MiEV. all the way at the 2008 New York Auto we wrote, Make no mistake: the i is not quick in any sense, but the power on tap is suited to city driving. with all its various improvements, we can say the new i is, quick. It’s not quick a Tesla Roadster. but it’ll do fine zipping onto the and darting about in the city.

We this out after spending an with a pre-production model in Oregon.

The i offers more fun should be expected with a EV.

There is no official time for a from 0-60 just but the electric motor is quicker and slightly more horsepower to be exact, for a total of 66) than the Domestic Market version, to accelerate to 50-60 mph with Mitsubishi says that mph is the ideal speed for electric and they’re perfectly suited for environments, but when let loose in venue, the i offers more fun should be expected with a EV as long as you have its settings right.

The i’s three modes Eco, D and B remain the same as before, but they been tweaked. Eco, as be familiar to many plug-in and drivers, prioritizes efficiency and range over dynamic while D operates the way a standard gas would and is suitable for going up It’s the B mode, though, been changed the most.

It now has more regenerative brake to accommodate one-foot EV driving, if your thing. Interestingly, B is also the most fun, the interaction between driver and car a bit like the connection that find in manual transmission You can’t directly dial-in the braking level, but you can approximate it by through the three modes.

We were happy to discover you can also shift into on long downhills for regen-free and we like the slight parking lot as well.

When you’re not attention to the powertrain, you’ve got to the road for fun curves. For this, the wider stance helps handling, but it’s no mountain Still, when you put all of the improvements with the i’s small low center of gravity (the battery is part of the 600-pound that the electric i has over the version) and rear-wheel-drive powertrain, got an EV that’s more fun than it be, especially given its skinny

We’ll call it suitable

The 500-pound battery is the biggest of the electric i’s 600-pound

One area where Mitsubishi has on details we could be generous by the beancounters and engineers have the car’s simplicity ethos is on the information-sparse dashboard. All you see is a battery meter, a gear indicator, the the eco/regen indicator and the odometer. EV fans will want to more.

For instance, the i has 16 bars in its state-of-charge gauge. When the gets down to two bars, the low lights comes on. When five percent usable left, a turtle light on.

At three percent, the car goes limp mode, which the driver just a few miles of left at low speeds to get to an outlet. the i only uses around 92 of its 300-volt, 16-kWh, 500-lb. to preserve the pack’s life, the car tells you it’s at zero, really at about eight from empty.

The spartan isn’t completely useless, of It does have a digital surrounded by a charge/eco power The goal, if you’re going for is to keep it in the eco range, since the zone indicates when using more energy. your foot off the pedal the car into the charge zone.

How do you keep it in eco? By being Keep a consistent speed, let the car without hitting the brake possible, use momentum to crest when possible, preheat or the car when it’s plugged the grid (if you’re already on the use the standard seat heater of heating the cabin) and so on.

Speaking of in, what about the battery? up of 88 3.7V cells arranged 22 modules, the pack is waterproof and in a stainless steel case to protect the system in a crash. a standard 120-volt outlet, the will take a whopping hours to charge from

However, this drops to seven hours using a EVSE. and i models equipped CHAdeMO capability will just 20-30 minutes to get to 80 full. No announcement has been about possible car-to-home in the U.S. but we have to assume technology will make the across the pond.

The pack is using forced induction, means that an exhaust fan hot air through the pack. When the is above 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the blow ambient air through the If that’s not enough and the pack above 86 degrees, the car’s unit will automatically on and force cooled air through the This won’t happen much, apparently, but quick-charging often raise the temperature 86 degrees even if Mitsubish that daily quick-charging is not a for this car .

The rest of the powertrain is as well sorted. The small, maintenance-free motor is waterproof, has a casing and offers 9,900 rpm along with that one benefit of EVs: instant The just-as-small transmission weighs 42 pounds. The powertrain has a five-year, warranty and the battery is warranted for years or 100,000 miles. All technology gives Mitsubishi rights to an EPA rating of 112 mpge. and it be good for a maximum of 98 miles on a

Mitsubishi itself is being a bit conservative, suggesting that should expect around 85 out of a full pack, even the Monroney is going to say this bubble has a range of 62 miles.

How that work? Well, the EPA electric vehicles using a (city/highway) test and then 30 percent from these to approximate real world 70 percent of the i’s city (98 miles) is 69 miles.

Mitsubishi i MiEV

70 percent of the highway range (78 miles) is 55 In calculating a combined (city/highway) range, the EPA weighs the formula more in the favor of the city (55 percent) versus the highway (45 percent), thus: (98 miles at 55 + (78 miles at 45 percent) x 70 percent = 62 That may make some of regulatory sense, but there no longer be any doubt that mileage may vary when it to EV range estimates.

Another solution Mitsubishi uses the i is its bizarre remote key fob. non-Internet-connected device can communicate with the vehicle (if within to pre-heat or pre-cool the vehicle, as as set the charging process. We think the fob is too big and too little and carrying another piece of plastic is annoying but spokesman Maurice Durand AutoblogGreen that Mitsubishi is dealing with a car that’s years old at this point, and the fob was the solution without adding

We hope that a smart-phone will be coming at some

There are some similarities the original i and i-MiEV models. For the interior is much bigger you expect it to be, and tall passengers fit comfortably in front or back. the rear seats are folded the i offers over 50 cubic of cargo room, accessed an expansive rear opening.

is one thing where the U.S.-spec i truly needs to be changed. The identifiers are on the right side of the stalk, exactly opposite of they should be. This is a from the car’s Japanese but the small gear indicator on the is not easy enough to see to replace the big letters on the shifter itself.

Little quirks like make you wonder, since think that Mitsubishi know what it’s when it comes to EVs by now. The first EV was the Mini Cab EV, which was way back in 1966. Mitsubishi made the Minica EV in 1971.

It was by heavy lead acid but it was followed by Mitsu’s first battery car, the FTO EV, in 1999. Ah,

We’ll know soon whether these minor keep buyers away the i. The first deliveries will in four rollout states Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in 2012. While all 400 Mitsubishi nationwide will get ads for their to highlight the differences between gas and vehicles in the third quarter of about 75 percent of the roughly 40 dealers in the rollout states be i certified (with more to On top of the information sent to everyone, dealers will get three chargers, a drop-down i sign and an iPad loaded with i By the end of November or early December, all dealers will also get have to purchase) two i vehicles, one for and one for demo drives. So, that’s 60 sold right there.

The i be available nationwide by the end of 2012.

the before-rebate cost for the entry-level ES was going to be $27,990. but unforeseen (i.e. a stronger yen) this to climb up to $29,125 after tax credit). The top-of-the-line SE Premium package, which CHAdeMO quick charging will command $33,915 after tax credit). On top of the car’s Mitsubishi is partnering with Buy’s Geek Squad to $700 Eaton home (plus installation fees).

As prices imply, Mitsubishi is not to make a luxury electric car Instead, it is trying to make the affordable EV in the U.S. the opposite of the plan. Mitsubishi representatives us that the company feels low are important to encourage electric adoption, especially for the target

Mitsubishi estimates sales of in the first fiscal year March 31, 2012) and then to 5,000 in the second fiscal (April 2012 March So far, Mitsubishi has gotten 400 i pre-orders through its website .

may have a bit of a sleeper hit on its hands.

If in Europe and Japan are anything to go by, the i sell just fine in the The i-MiEV was introduced to the market in of 2009 and has already sold 11,000 units. It’s to note that that’s the Mitsubishi version, since Peugeot and Citroën have selling rebadged versions in since 2010.

Bryan Mitsubishi Motors North manager of EV product strategy, that the i is the most-proven mass electric vehicle available We feel very confident the U.S.-spec version of the car to the United

Mitsubishi may have a bit of a sleeper hit on its too. We know that EVs are not for everyone, but the pace of change in category means the EV that’s for you may be here sooner than you In fact, if none of this that exciting to you, but you wanted to like the i, don’t

Mitsubishi reps have us that the next-gen model is not far

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