Me and My iMiEV Mark’s daily Autoweek

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Mitsubishi i MiEV

Me and My i-MiEV: Mark’s daily

Shopping for a NEW or used vehicle? here to start your

Senior Editor (West Mark Vaughn is spending the in a Mitsubishi i-MiEV. he’s his days and nights in the car in this

June 28

The i-MiEV was delivered 28. Quite exciting. New technology which I will live for months. I canceled all my other and will try to drive just until September 30.

That my regular 22-mile commute to 22 miles back home, and else I need to do to get around. trips will fall to the minivan.

What is an i-MiEV? It is the version of the i, i being the name of the mini car of the same body but powertrain that is sold in It is in the kei class of vehicle, the smallest have over there.

We in America have been to B-Class cars like the Versa, Honda Fit and Toyota The kei class is one smaller than

The gas i in the Japan market has a rear-mid-mounted internal combustion engine. electric i-MiEV I am driving has a permanent magnet electric driving the rear wheels by a 16-kWh lithium ion battery

The rest of the name, after the i, stands for Mitsubishi innovative Vehicle. It’s pronounced eye which means stinky egg in by the way. Tell a German you drive an i-MiEV and they’ll be

Or maybe they’ll laugh, you can find a German with a of humor.

The i-MiEV goes on here in fall 2011, known as the 2012 model Price will be less $30,000. Approximately $15,000 of price is for the batteries. Batteries for car are astronomically expensive because all made by hand right

Mitsubishi says once a factory is built and some comes into the process the will come down.

I buy one of these if I needed a commuter It fits my needs exactly plenty of excess capability. It can four real adults. is plenty of head and elbow The only thing lacking is seat legroom but it is not cramped there by any means.

The U.S. car will be four inches not because there’s any lack of inside but because it’ll to meet side impact and will need that to do so. To get the four inches Mitsubishi split it lengthwise down the and widen it. There is all the room you inside this thing now.

I fit no problem and I have sitting upright in many a normal car of much larger especially if that fine car has a sunroof.

The i-MiEV arrived on a truck, with a full I immediately drove it gingerly 23 to Pomona to test it. By the time it got I had used up almost half the

There was one bar above half.

I that a facility like the LA Fairplex would have a outlet so I could plug it in, top it off and test it with a full (it turns out the state of charge, or half, had no effect on how quickly the car so I needn’t have been I summoned the electrician. He brought me to a was it 240-volt—outlet that was used for homes. That was where I that the i-MiEV uses a connector and the Fairplex is wired for connectors. The actual plug on a connector plug is smaller that of a 30-amp plug.

So no I plugged it into a 120-volt but who were we kidding? That have taken about 4 or 5 to get back up to full charge.

I it for an hour at 120 volts and the gauge budge. Like I said, the goes just as fast and with a half charge as a full, I later found out Mitsubishi. So I went out and tested on the equivalent of half a tank.

I did the phalanx of AutoWeek AutoFile tests and got the following:

0-60 11.9 seconds

Quarter-mile: seconds @ 72.6 mph

60-0 159.6 feet

Slalom: mph

Skidpad: 0.62 g

Those are nothing to write home It’s possible to set up an EV for performance, so not inherently wimpy. You can also them for efficiency, as was this Even with the old Corbin the Corbin technician told me, you crank up the amps and go fast, but the motor on that one-seater was set for range.

Everything is a compromise. Go and you eat range. Slower and you can drive all More or less.

The acceleration are way better than a gasoline-powered, three-cylinder Smart ForTwo, which went from in 14 something. But the i-MiEV is far slower a Tesla roadster, which is than twice as quick if I

I must’ve put about three or miles on during testing at the including maximum acceleration and all that, which was a big drain on the I’m sure. It ate up about or four bars so I was down to 1/3 charge when I left. I along in the slow lane at 90 or 55 mph for 23 miles to get from the Fairplex to my

At about 19 or 20 miles into my home the gauge was at one bar and flashing at me, but I it home.

My first recharge! was about a million times than I’d thought. You need a 240-volt Level II or Level III fast charger. car is parked all night, right? So use 120 volts and charge away at a rate.

I plugged it in at 5:30 that first night. By p.m. 4.5 hours later, I on it and it was almost half charged. By the morning it was fully charged, of

June 29

I am now in my office, which is 22 from my home. It used up 1/3 of its charge to get here, with the air running. It has been plugged in to a outlet in the building’s parking for seven hours.

I have to it’s fully charged by

For me, the range of this thing is not a In fact, I could live as far away and not have a problem. got a problem? I ain’t got a problem. You got a

July 1

I drove it to Burbank Hit speeds of 130 km/hr, or 80 mph with I don’t know why I have reticent to go fast in this

If you don’t need to conserve power there’s no reason not to it. Top speed is supposed to be 83 mph but it feels it could go a lot faster than Will try top speed when an arises. Eats up more at those speeds, though.

to tell exactly how much since there’s no detailed of power usage, just the on the fuel gauge. There is an analog dial that what you are doing at any given in your drive. The dial to charge if you’re off the accelerator and the is recharging the battery using the energy of the car rolling to a stop; eco if you’re driving in a conservative or a colorless non-eco state if flooring it.

My first several were done at about 55 mph to energy. No need to do that you think you might not be able to quickly.

At the Burbank airport I it at my usual parking garage, an facility across the street the terminal. The site is not set up specifically for but the guy at the gate pointed me to an outlet. my long blue heavy extension cord I plugged in, it up and headed to my flight, a Mitsubishi ironically.

When I get back, someone hasn’t stolen the it’ll be fully charged and to go.

A couple things I would to see on the production version are:

A little light on the charge to show it’s getting You can look inside on the dash and see a light and you can see, at first, the of charge gauge but I’d to see a faint green light there’s juice flowing, by maybe an orange light tells you when the battery is charged. This would be so you have to go out to the car, open it up, on the key and look at the state of charge

My kids’ RC cars have

— Cruise control. it make commuting much and might even extend

— A clock somewhere on the Could just be an LCD clock. A gauge for the outside air would be too.

— Left-hand This is coming of course, but on the wrong side of the car is a bit awkward, at toll booths and parking

July 2

Last night at the the car was fully charged and no one had stolen the multi-pronged plug. So I rolled up the cord, tossed it in the back and home. I hit 140 km/hr, or 86.8 mph on the That was with a slight assist, so it can’t go into the books. The car felt relatively at that speed, just a bit of side-to-side, which could been caused by the rain in the freeway surface, which I felt effect the straight-line of other cars, too.

Or it have been because of the resistance tires. Or both.

The home was only 21 miles, so I even plug the car in overnight. was more than enough to get the office and drive to work The 22 miles to work ate up less half the bars.

So that’s 43 to eat up a little more than the indicated charge. The car is now 25 stories me in the parking garage plugged in to a outlet down there. I go home later today be fully charged.

This up a moral question: is it wrong to other people’s electricity? it’s wrong. But the airport guy knew I was plugged in and didn’t

I asked the management of the building in I work about charging and they never got back to me. So is wrong? Once we get thousands of EVs on the someone’s going to have to this, figuring out a way to charge for electricity. You might also see on electrical outlets the way locking gas popped up on cars during the oil embargo.

Heck, even trash have locks on them, at here in L.A. But as for now, no one to care about a little

July 6

After getting a recharge at the 120-volt wall in the parking garage at work I home and only used three bars. It was about when I got home that I didn’t plug it in all weekend and it had that amount of charge I went to Southern California (SCE) for a meeting today. It was a drive on city streets. I it would be fun to plug in directly to the California Edison company tap and get free juice from the people everybody has to pay for volts.

a few unsuccessful attempts to get into the area (SCE has more than the Berlin Wall), one of the SCE I was meeting with came swiped a card, a gate and I plugged into 120 volts from the source.

Turned out it was no than any other electricity. all the same. Like gasoline, all sloshes around in big supertankers each oil company adds secret mix of detergents to it and then it, backed by some really big extolling how different it’s to be.

Sort of like those who pay extra to get electricity from sources. Once it’s in the it’s all the same, dudes. Oh

I was going to meet with SCE people about preparing California for the coming electric onslaught. Talk to your now, if you’re going to use 240 they said. You won’t 240 volts, I said.

They me as many questions as I asked The thing I was most impressed after a week in the EV, I told was that I was able to meet all my needs using only wall plugs and that all the I had about needing 240 volts for naught. If my case is the same as the of coming EV owners, and if they all at night from 120-volt when the rates are lower and the is 10 cents per kWh, then could be groovy.

Ten cents per kWh is cheap, especially if you’ve cranked an electric generator by or by bike pedal. Even little generator lights spin on the front tire of bike take a huge of effort. The stuff is hard to yourself but incredibly cheap you buy it from a utility.

One thing said, which has been before, is that we here in have electricity that from much cleaner than they do back Naysayers will cite all the generating plants in coal-happy Virginia and throughout the East and an EV is no cleaner than a gasoline-powered But even there it’s way cleaner, maybe twice as

SCE uses nuclear from San hydro from the Pacific as well as smaller hydro in the Sierra foothills, and powerplants by natural gas. Since the of the Mojave generating plant years ago, SCE gets no from coal-fired generating There is even some coming from wind and

So you can get much cleaner electricity out than if you owned an EV back

Another point: SCE looked at 12 to see how many EVs would be in SoCal by The high-end estimate is 1 million, seems completely whack to me, for 10 years from now. But the estimate is that there be almost 200,000. That’s in the SCE service area, which is Southern California minus local municipalities that their own deals like Department of Water and Power.

the California Air Resources Board in its literature that there only 4,000 EVs ever in total. That’s from the of the machine age ’til now. Why the number of EVs in this part of state suddenly go up to 200,000 or a

Especially if gas continues to be relatively I don’t see the numbers going high unless there’s oil embargo bigger and longer the one in 1973.

SCE also wanted to something about baseline assessment as determined by the government, billing. My electric bill is to go up, they said. They maps, charts and graphs to me that the increase I was going to in my bill this summer not be solely as a result of my new electric Effective June 1, 2010, the usage zones in which it customers based on how much they are likely to use in a year redrawn.

The deserts use more than the coasts, for instance. As a of this gerrymandering I am now in a higher area.

My previous annual cost $651 and my new annual will likely be $985. for 4605 kWh a year. That figure surprised me, since I myself pretty good at electricity.

That’s 12 kWh a day. We a brand new, very refrigerator, a gas stove, gas oven and we all the laundry. On sweltering summer we do turn on the air conditioning and it is central They said that if you use air four hours a day for a month it $80 a month.

But we don’t have any of the following appliances that were on the list: pool pump and ($36/mo), freezer ($24/mo), cooler ($23/mo), portable ($23/mo), clothes dryer plasma TV ($13/mo), electric ($7/mo). The only thing we had was a which was less than $7 a So where were we using all juice? Who knows?

I go through the constantly turning off lights. I my kids.

Adding an EV to those would seem like be a lot of dough. Turns out it’s not much. And it’s still way than the cost of gas for a gasoline

All utilities are approaching the coming vehicle in their own ways. SCE offer three different options for households with an vehicle:

1. You can stay the same, your EV charging billed as another huge, huge dryer that’s on all night;

2. You can be different rates for different of day that you use electricity;

3. Or you can get a second installed free just for EV and be charged different rates on what time of day you charge it.

At the top of the sliding scale it’s 31 per kWh (if you left a 1,000-watt hair running for an hour that use up a kWh of electricity). But that’s if you’re in 5 usage and I don’t know how with a regular house ever get into Tier 5. We never gotten out of Tier 1 in our

On the other extreme I could be as little as 10 cents a kWh for electricity at night. If I got a separate meter is free from SCE) for the car and the car overnight, it’d be 11 cents/kWh separately from the rest of the appliances. If I was billed Whole Time Of Use and recharged at Super times and was in Tier 1 it’d be 10 a kWh.

Using the separate method, my annual $985 would grow to $1,269, if I 20 miles a day. But since I my EV 44 miles a day minimum, my actual with the second meter be a little over $1,637, or more assuming I recharge at a wall plug.

Level II which recharge electric much faster but do it using 240 cost no more to operate 120-volt chargers, you just get the into your car battery There are some costs in setting up your house for 240 which are not included in these But you don’t need 240 volts an i-MiEV, as my experience has shown.

So why the house?

Regardless, it’s way cheaper than gasoline. If I say, six or seven kWh to get to work and at 11 cents per kWh, my daily cost is 66 or 77 cents.

SCE expects to an online bill estimator up and by next month. SCE customers EVs or plug-in hybrids will be to calculate the costs of their new

EVs are the second car in a two-car, four-member They’re the perfect vehicle for In stop-and-go traffic and wretched misery you might as well one of these. Save the planet, or at cut back on the rate at which you are the planet. And maybe reduce smog.

Is that a bad thing?

I have a minivan at home for all the the EV won’t do. I’m not saying EVs replace cars, trucks, and minivans, at least not in the foreseeable But they can and should be the second car in a where one or even both work.

The i-MiEV would the commuting needs of my family. My could drive it to and from her job then hand it over to me to to and from mine. With of us recharging it at work then it in at home overnight we’d more than enough

Or I assume we would have than enough range, I haven’t tried this scenario yet.

An update: I heard from representatives of the in which I work and they do not mind if I use the building’s 120-volt to recharge my EV. So there is no moral anymore. At least not at work. I have no idea how I will the electricity from my home In these early stages of there is still lots of electricity out there for the poaching.

has recharging stations. There are of them. I looked at CalStart’s and got a list.

July 7

Since I got with more than a charge last night I plug it in. I ran a couple errands, 10 then drove 22 miles to So that’s 22 plus 22 plus 10 and I the battery. Range is 54 miles mostly freeway driving only 10 miles of that more or less suburban

All of it was done gently, no jackrabbit Though I did use the a/c and got as fast as 108 km/hr or 67 mph for stretches of freeway on the last 15 or so of this charge.

By the time I into my parking place and plugged in it was down to one bar and flashing, it had been for the last mile or The car is recharging now and should be half by the end of my eight-hour shift here at Tower West. I will it in when I get home. Or maybe plug it in at the Burbank Airport and leave it plugged in when away.

120 volts is not as good as 240 volts but 120 volts are better than anything.

Two more things occur to me this car needs:

1. A way to up the regenerative system manually for efficient braking. Even in the B on the transmission I still have to use the pedal to stop, which turns kinetic energy heat and brake dust. I to be able to stop using the only. On the Vectrix electric I rode a few years ago you could not do that but you could continue the throttle around and actually go That was the scooter’s reverse.

no sense in wasting potential

2. It needs a better armrest, for the at least. There’s nowhere to put arms when you drive you roll down the window and your right elbow

July 8

Don’t get cocky, I drained the battery more it’s ever been today. All the bars were and the little gas tank icon was at me, with miles to go before I got to VSP at Burbank Airport to plug in. traffic was clogged on the freeway last miles so I crawled at a battery-saving pace, timing my so I could use regen as much as and accelerating as slowly as I could causing cars behind me to me.

I was never so happy to see an electrical in my life. I plugged in, got on the shuttle and away. When I return it’ll be fully charged and to go.

Maybe I’ll try to see how far it can go on a full Does it get better mileage in driving, taking advantage of the or is it better on the freeway? I will

I had been so confident with the range that I wasn’t it off. I’d leave it in the with half a charge, so was I that I could go anywhere I Well, I can go anywhere I want but now on I’ll recharge whenever I just to avoid the anxiety.

night, in a real duh moment, I the bars on the fuel gauge and there are 16 of them. The battery is a battery. So each bar represents one right? Of course.

Duh.

So if I use 8 or 9 driving to and from work, and if kWh costs me 10 or 11 cents if I recharge at then my 44-mile round to work and back costs me than a buck. If I drive a car that gets 20 mpg and gas costs a gallon it’s about or so for the same commute. So an EV costs one or one ninth or so what a gasoline car to operate.

And there are no oil changes, But you do need tires and windshield fluid.

First car I got into the i-MiEV was a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. a change. Yowzer. I did not feel at all. I suppose some ethics major is going to me a hypocrite.

Well, let he who is without cast the first electroshock.

9

As expected, when I walked to my parking space at VSP parking the street from Burbank the i-MiEV was fully charged. No It had more than 24 hours to get and it can’t take more 16 hours to do it, if you figure one hour per kWh at 120

Again, no need for 240 volts so

Drove it home 20.48 and it only ate up 3 bars, which I figured is three kWhs. found religion, I am now going to the battery topped off. A charge done at 10 cents a kWh me 30 cents. I can afford that.

So I it in.

July 10

Drove to Arcadia and six miles each way. I watching the fuel gauge to see it would pop over and I would a bar. It finally did after 14 kms, or 8 and a half miles.

like a more accurate of gauges on this. The 16 bars give me enough information. it in when I got back home. been sitting since, charged.

Mitsubishi i MiEV

I rode the bike to the store, with a big backpack on my Used no gasoline but critics gleefully point out that I x-amount of carbon dioxide.

11

I will take it to work all including Wednesday when I go to Monica to drive a Nissan electric car. I wonder how take to seeing a competitor in the lot. Not far enough to worry range, though I will for a charging spot in Santa

Should be a lot of them, since city is supposed to be very EV

Next Saturday there are a few in the OC I want to attend, but I have to 240 volts in order to do it. It’s 45 miles to Irvine. I can get there but I get back. I will do a little which is all that’s necessary to your EV almost anywhere,

I’ll see.

In a couple I have to go to San Diego, which is 145 away. No way to make that in the So I’m thinking of driving it to the station and taking the train to San That whole process take longer but I will be to work on the train instead of the traffic. Maybe it’ll be

Who knows? I will let you know.

12

Drove to work with a charge and with the a/c blasting Temperature outside was in the 90s and it was perfectly inside. I didn’t even try to kWhs, just spewed all up and down the freeway.

Who needs Woohoo!

July 13

I got down to the car to home last night at 11:00 p.m. and found it had not been charging all day. I had the cord into the wall plugged the cord into the car and off, without peering the driver’s window to see if the little red plug light was on. I had about a tank left so I made it okay, but it highlights another to have some kind of on the cable or better yet on the receptacle of the car indicates a connection was made and the is recharging.

I plugged it in when I got and at 6:00 a.m. when I to look at it, it was almost full, one bar to go. I left it plugged in for another two and by then it indicated full.

I a few errands then into the 22 miles with the a/c on and ate up 7 bars, or 7 Since that had been overnight off peak it could been 84 cents. Closer of the information I’d been by SCE shows that I pay 12 cents per kWh in 1. My house has been in Tier 1

That could change the gerrymandering of my bill, but even at 2 the cost is only 14 cents.

The car is in the parking garage recharging.

came through with a 20-amp plug for Saturday. I plug into the electrical the powers their tire

July 14

Topping off the tank to work best. By keeping it I get a lot more freedom and a lot less anxiety. Today I drove up to twice, down to Los Angeles, to Santa Monica and all the way back to my in LA.

Adding it all up I went 58 miles. the first six miles I plugged it in for an hour to top it off, so I can’t say I all 58 on a single charge. But I did go somewhere 52 and 58 miles on about 10 bars or 10 So that’s a little better five miles per kWh.

that by the 16 kWh capacity of the battery and you 80 miles of range based on how I today. A lot of today’s driving was on the about 30 of it with the a/c on. Maybe 20 was in stop-and-go traffic.

So to go at a theoretical range in far-less-than-ideal traffic is pretty good.

Figuring out numbers is something of an inexact With a gasoline car you drive a distance, starting with a tank, then fill up the and you know almost exactly gas mileage you got. Harder to do with electricity, at least as it is here.

Now, about 10 I’m heading down to the structure, unplugging the i-MiEV, might be topped off, and home. Lemmee see—it’s charging six hours so maybe it be topped off at 120 volts.

It should be two from the top of the fuel gauge.

15

Last night I wound up the office around midnight. traffic finally cleared off the Monica Freeway I flew the road at between 105 and 115 km/hr. 65 to 71 mph. I had no a/c on because it was cool

But the car seemed to eat the bars at what like a 50 percent quicker I got home 22 miles later used up six bars (kWh) of the usual four or five for the 22 home, so that’s less 50 percent higher consumption, but higher. Normally I would at 90 km/hr or 56 mph, so an increase of 12 mph one or two more kWh per 22 miles.

I plugged it in and charged it overnight. Today the outside is in the triple digits and the a/c like a champion. No worries Very impressive.

The front is a skinny MacPherson strut and the rear is a DeDion setup the trailing links giving for the large rear-mounted electric driving the rear wheels. doesn’t handle potholes too It doesn’t get the car out of line, just those things pretty and gets your attention.

The is light, so it’s affected by pothole hits than a car would be. The short wheelbase it, too.

July 16

Drove home night but since it was so hot I didn’t in the car to recharge until next We had the central air on and I didn’t want to a fuse in the house. I have no if it would have blown a or not.

I plugged it in for two or three in the morning when our household a/c was off and got bar or two.

After coming in to it reads 73.4 kms, or miles on 10 kWh, minus it got back in the couple-hour charge morning.

Total mileage now is kms, or 649 miles.

At the end of three of possession I still love thing. I am not smug, I don’t around thinking I’m the Earth, I just really the efficiency of it. It’s a very system.

Is there a better way to use for transportation than this? I organize a carpool or pick up I would do that if there was a way to do it.

morning will be an adventure. I go 45 to Irvine and hope I can charge juice to go 45 miles back. be more if I decide to do Cars N too.

Might be even if I try doing Donut Derelicts as Don’t think I’m to try anything but Miatafest.

July 17

very conservatively, at about 55 I made it the 76.3 kms (47.3 using only 9 kWh. 5.25 miles per kWh. also 8.5 kms per kWh.

I wouldn’t made it there and back a recharge. But thanks to the good at Mazda RD, I was able to plug a 240-volt, 20-amp plug in shop. I plugged in at 8:45 with 7 bars showing on the All I really needed was a couple to get back home, but I figured, if I was three hours I could get a bars from full. But I back at 11:45 to find some idiot or saboteur had my car!

Why would someone do The unplugging took place enough that I was able to get a charge. I headed home a luxurious 11 bars to go the 47.3 or so it would take to get home.

I it but not with a lot to spare. The gauge two bars and had started to flash. trip mileage was 153 kms, 95

Nonetheless, with a little planning and with some from the good people at RD, I was able to take a 95-mile trip in a small electric Other EVs with larger packs could go a lot farther.

I it in that night at 10:00 when electricity’s cheap. The outlet is 110 or 120 volts.

July 18

At 9 it was fully charged. I don’t exactly when it achieved charge but there it was by 9 when I

July 19

Drove it to the airport, 21 with the a/c and the audio on the whole Drove about 60 mph or so. It ate about bars, four kWh. it in and flew off. So convenient.

parking your car at the airport and the gas fills up for you while you’re

July 20

Car was fully charged I got back to it. Drove home at with the headlights and audio on. about 60 to 65 mph. It only three bars to go just 21 miles. 7 miles per kWh.

to plug it in when I got home.

21

Plugged it in at 6:30 a.m. are still low til 9:00 a.m. Ran a errand twice. After the one I plugged it back in, using the expensive electricity, and topped it

Left it plugged in until I on 49-mile trip, which I at 75 mph with the a/c and audio on. This was and it ate up 14 kWh. I had thought I’d be to recharge halfway through my but no dice.


I am waiting until 9 p.m. to plug it in.

I weighed it on fancy electronic scales. It 2,497 pounds, 1,142 1,355 rear. That’s light, especially with the

The Jetta I drove yesterday is 3,000 pounds, or a little

Also looked at it on a lift. suspension is MacPherson strut. is a DeDion axle. The electric is up under the rear end. The are in the middle. It’s rear

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