2012 Mitsubishi i Review: Car Reviews

11 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2012 Mitsubishi i Review: Car Reviews
Mitsubishi i

A cheap car with an expensive engine

FAST FACTS

1. The i’s electric motor is rated at the equivalent of 66-hp and 145-lb-ft of torque.

2. Charge times differ, with 22 hours on a conventional household outlet, 7 hours on a 240-volt outlet and an impressive 30 minutes for an 80 percent charge with a special quick-charger.

3. The Lithium-ion battery pack contains 88 individual cells and boasts an 8-year, 100,000 mile warranty.

4. A De Dion three-link rear suspension helps deliver surprisingly good cornering ability. Plus, it’s rear-wheel drive.

5. Pricing starts at $29,125 and with a $7,500 Federal Tax Credit it drops to $21,625

Automakers, beset by increasing government meddling as it relates to emissions and fuel economy requirements, are looking at various ways to meet the challenges ahead. And certainly, when it comes to urban environments and shorter distance driving, EVs are seen as a logical choice.

At present, there are two ‘mainstream’ electric vehicles on sale in North America, the pure electric Nissan Leaf and the extended range Chevy Volt, which uses a gas engine to boost range beyond 40 miles.

The third, which is on sale about the time you read this, is the 2012 Mitsubishi i electric vehicle, a car that, like the Leaf represents another effort at all-electric propulsion. Although new to our shores, the i or i-MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) as its known in other markets, has been buzzing around Europe and Japan for some 18 months now, though the version across the pond is slightly different.

To begin with, it’s narrower. In order to better appeal to American tastes (and sizes), our model is some 4.3-inches wider. That said, in most other aspects it’s quite alternative by small car standards.

The conventional 660 cc gas engined Japanese Domestic Market K-class i mini car, on which this is based, bucks the trend in featuring a motor mounted amidships under the rear seat, driving the back tires.

INSIDE: MORE SPACIOUS, MORE NORMAL THAN YOU’D THINK

Mitsubishi i

FUN TO DRIVE, YES REALLY

What is interesting, is that in brake mode (best used for stop and go city driving where the car’s regenerative braking system works most effectively), it didn’t feel like the car was dragging a tree behind it.

CHARCHING OPTIONS

In terms of charging the thing, Mitsubishi provides three different options, two with outlets located on the right side of the vehicle, one on the left. The first is a 120-volt outlet (that includes a portable charging cable that comes with the car), which is designed to be plugged in at home. Using this method the i takes around 22 hours to fully charge.

The second option, a 240-volt EVSE outlet, can restore battery capacity in some seven hours. On the left side is an optional DC quick charging receptacle, which can restore approximately 80 percent battery capacity in just 30 minutes, though at present such charging stations are few and far between.

In addition, Mitsubishi doesn’t recommend using the DC quick charging method too often as it can drastically shorten the life of the battery pack (it’s currently rated to last eight years).

CAN’T ESCAPE RANGE ANXIETY

One thing we did note when driving the i is that range anxiety remains very much a problem, even on the West Coast. It becomes particularly apparent if the battery pack is half depleted or more. During our test loop, which took in some Freeway driving and steep hills, it took less than 18 miles for the battery pack to become depleted from half charge, so when planning a journey you need to seriously bear in mind the route you’re taking as well as the location of charging stations.

According to the EPA, the i EV boasts an equivalent miles per gallon rating of 126 in the city and 99 on the open road.

Mitsubishi i
Mitsubishi i
Mitsubishi i
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