First Drive: 2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (JDM Spec) – Autosavant | Autosavant

18 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on First Drive: 2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (JDM Spec) – Autosavant | Autosavant
Mitsubishi i

First Drive: 2011 i-MiEV (JDM Spec)

By Haak

The conventional wisdom is green cars such as and EVs have to look like a little different from the three-box sedan if they to enjoy sales success. it explains why the Prius outsells the Hybrid.

Well, the Mitsubishi icertainly fits the bill of different. Technically, I suppose it#8217;s a one-box car, in reality, it is far more ovoid and shaped to call it a box. smaller than nearly on the road today, and will attract attention wherever it

  Several weeks ago, I had the to drive an i-MiEV (Japan right hand drive) at a event, and I found the car to be a curious of the normal and abnormal as I tallied a few in the little EV.

Mitsubishi sells a kei car the i in Japan and some other hand drive markets.  The i has a 659 cc three cylinder mounted and has been reasonably well-received, in large part to its efficiency and packaging.  The electric version of the i is the i-MiEV in the right hand markets where it#8217;s (where MiEV stands for innovative Electric Vehicle), but there#8217;s no left hand i, and there are no plans to offer a i in the US, the i-MiEV will simply be the i when it hits the US market.

The US-spec i is not the same car as the JDM (Japanese Market) i-MiEV; Mitsubishi the US-spec version of the car at the 2010 Los International Auto Show, and it was unsurprisingly #8211; larger and than the version already on elsewhere in the world.  The US-spec i have more features, be wider (and therefore directional changes better), and be optimized to meet US safety

But I actually drove this version of the car prior to the US-spec debut in Los Angeles, and I#8217;m to note that it drove well.  The car that I drove was right off the boat from and had some curiosities that not used to seeing in cars I in the US.  For one, the steering was on the right side rather the left.

  This meant a adjustment than one might because the car#8217;s pivot during turns is much (a left turn has the driver on the of the turn in a RHD car, while it has the on the inside of the turn in a normal LHD I adjusted to this different rather quickly, and mercifully, the is still on the right and the brake is on the left, so those two required no

  The mental block that I had a lot of overcoming, however, was that the signal is on the right side of the column in the i-MiEV, with the switch on the right side.  If I had a dollar for every time I a turn and hit the wipers instead.

quick of the car#8217;s Japanese was that all of the warning labels instance, on the sun visor) were in Japanese only.  However, the were labeled in English, and the had, of course, standard numbers on them.  I did have to do a bit of math to discern my speed in per hour, since the speedometer only km/h with no MPH

The car#8217;s interior is fairly with a lot of hard plastic on the and door panels.  The seats are comfortable, and the controls are logically out.  The car#8217;s spartan meant that there was no learning curve necessary in climate and audio controls.

  good that the US i will a body that#8217;s more four inches wider, the hip room definitely suffers in car because of its narrow body, and the width will also with the car#8217;s handling Visibility, thanks to the tall, profile and large glass is excellent in all directions.  Plus, in traffic tend to notice a egg-shaped car with blue and a 15 inch tall red Mitsubishi log on front door.

With low rolling resistance tires, and and upright, narrow you can probably guess what the handling behavior was like a good degree of accuracy.  was more body roll one would like to see, but that a bit is the fact that the of the lithium-ion battery packs is low on the floor, keeping the car#8217;s of gravity close to the ground.

  The pack produces 330 volts and 16 and can charge reasonably quickly if a high-voltage influx (specifically, hours at 110 volts and 5-6 hours at 220 In some markets, Mitsubishi a fast charger that can the batteries from 0 to 80 percent in 20 which #8211; if the infrastructure there #8211; could help alleviate the range that Chevy is capitalizing on its promotional message for the Volt.

Mitsubishi i

Mitsubishi claims that the will travel about 75 on a single charge, which to be reasonably plausible given my with the car for about a quarter of distance.  I was heavy on the accelerator for of my drive, and the car responded with a dose of EV torque (63 horsepower and 133 motivating 2,376 pounds) could keep up with traffic in the US, and certainly city

There are three drive in the i-MiEV #8211; D, Eco, and B.  felt very much a normal car, though the normal car soundtrack and no sensation of changes (it has a single-speed gearbox, as do EVs).  Eco is designed to preserve and battery power as much as but intrudes somewhat on the driving

  Regenerative braking in Eco mode, without touching the brake made the car nearly as annoying to as an early-production Mini E that I some seat time in a year and a half ago.  the B setting provided the most and regenerative braking.  I preferred D.

In all to the i-MiEV that I drove, it was not for what I was asking it to do:  in America, surrounded by large cars, and satisfy discerning tastes.  It lacks the gee-whiz experience that the Volt and give to its driver, and feels substantial and valuable compared to other cars as a result.

  Pricing hasn#8217;t been (part of the answer to the pricing depends upon dollar-yen rates when the car#8217;s 2011 sale date but we were told to expect $30,000 before the $7,500 tax subsidy (which, of course, the price to about $22,500.)  the Nissan Leaf offering specs, but a nicer interior and a better brand name, the i have its work cut out for it.  It helps that the i#8217;s undercuts the Leaf#8217;s by about but in terms of perceived value, the may be worth that price Once we can get our mitts on a US-spec i, we#8217;ll know with certainty how this car will up against a growing set of competitors forget the Ford Focus EV in 2012 as well), but for now, the advantages (at least, they can be advantages depending upon perspective) are its shape, its price, and the that its technology has already proven for a few years in overseas

Mitsubishi knows that is a lot of pressure on the three-diamond automaker to around its US operations, and a green car like the i certainly can#8217;t The company has  expectations for the US sales, with a target of units annually by 2015.

  Reaching that number depend upon the number of and the number of people willing to the compromises that these EVs require of their owners, as as how well the i meets the needs of buyers.  Honda sold 19,325 Insights through the 11 months of 2010, so 20,000 i is not a given.

Overall, the i-MiEV was a effort that requires coming adaptations to this but is certainly a real, viable car for in the market for a new EV.  There many choices out there at the so it#8217;s easy enough for an EV to test every one available, and in they should once the i Mitsubishi dealers.

Chris is Managing Editor. He has a lifelong of everything automotive, having up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two Chris is also in the process of them into the world of and trucks.

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