Mitsubishi i miev Electric Car Review | Electric Car Conversion Blog

22 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi i miev Electric Car Review | Electric Car Conversion Blog
Mitsubishi i

Mitsubishi i

miev Electric Car Review

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car Left Front View

In early January 2012, I got the opportunity to test drive a 2010/2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car . In reviewing and test driving this Electric Car . I looked at how a typical city dweller would want to use it and if would meet these expectations. The review describes the criteria used and how the evaluation was made so it can be seen how I made the assessment and the conclusions drawn.

Value For Money

I felt that the Mitsubishi i MiEV is a bit over priced for what you get. Considering it is possible for a private person to do their own Electric Car Conversion on a similarly sized car for less and Mitsubishi . being an established car manufacturer, they should have access to resources, suppliers and since this Electric Car is being mass produced, they should be able to achieve economies of scale.

As it is based on the Mitsubishi i which is a gasoline powered car, then a lot of the body parts, wheels, lights etc are already being mass produced so Mitsubishi should be able to leverage on the economies of scale as it is based on a highly popular car. In the past, I have been critical about the pricing of this Electric Car . but the demand for the Mitsubishi i MiEV far exceeds supply, which consequently allows the Mitsubishi i MiEV to command its high selling price.

I have seen several i MiEVs on the road and although most are owned by corporations, there have been private individuals buying them as well. Although market forces permit the i MiEV to command this high price, I feel that Mitsubishi could have added extra value to the i MiEV such as a sun roof, sports wheels, body kit, rear spoiler, body hugging racing seats and a racing steering wheel.

Fun Factor

Inside the i MiEV . the cockpit is fairly basic. When cruising along and you want to quickly accelerate, the acceleration is phenomenal. It is basically almost instant and with the single speed transmission and wide torque curve, there is no waiting for kick down or shifting down. With the small body, it just zooms.

Although, it is not a Tesla Roadster . Porsche or Ferrari, it leaves a lot of other cars on the road behind which can result in some amazed looks from others. However, if you are trying to accelerate as quickly as possible from a standing start, there is up to a one second delay from the time you stomp on the accelerator to the time the i MiEV moves.

This is probably due to a soft start feature programmed into the controller to help prevent the Electric Motor from burning out and thus preserve the life of the Electric Motor . This feature did confuse me at first because other Electric Cars and Electric Vehicles I have driven had massive acceleration from a standing start. I have to admit that I did not want to hand the car back after I finished driving it. I would happily take this car home.


The i MiEV seats 4 full sized adults easily. The rear cargo space fits a lot of shopping and if you need more space, you can fold down the rear seats. The rear seats have a 50/50 split so you can fold down one seat and still seat 3 people. The batteries don#8217;t intrude into the passenger compartment. Being based on a Japanese Kei car, the i MiEV was clearly designed to be practical in the busy and cramped streets of big city centers.

Although, the range is up to 100 miles (160km), I suspect that in practical terms, it will be around the 62 mile (100km) range, unless you accelerate like a snail and avoid going up hill. This range is sufficient for the majority of city commuters where the majority would not do more than 50 miles (80km) from home to where ever they go and back home again. This probably explains why some of the charging stations at shopping centers have not been heavily used as most people who drive Electric Cars probably don#8217;t need to use it and charging at home more than satisfies their needs.

Driving (From A Driver#8217;s Perspective)

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car Test Drive

From a driver#8217;s perspective, driving the i MiEV is nice and easy to drive. The A-Pillar does create some blind spots so you have to be a bit careful at intersections (like if you have to give way to traffic). This problem is not due the being Electric . but a problem inherited from the gasoline powered Mitsubishi i . which this car was based on.

i-MiEV Electric Car Driving Position

When I was starting it, I just put the key fob in some compartment under the steering column, pressed the foot brake with the gear stick in P. I guess it would work in N as well, but I did not try that. Then I turned a switch (where the key would normally go) until the dash said ready. I found out from the owner#8217;s manual that if the key fob ran out of batteries, there is an emergency metal key which you pull out of the fob.

The switch to start the car, you pull the plastic cover off and insert the emergency key into it and proceed as normal.

The car behaves like an automatic car.  If the gear stick is in D and you don#8217;t have the accelerator or brake pressed, the car creeps forward like a gasoline powered automatic car. I did not try it out when I had the gear stick in Eco or B. I tried to work out what the different modes on the gear stick do and have described them below:

i-MiEV Electric Car Gear Stick

P for Park;

R for Reverse;

N for Neutral;

D for Drive and it appears regenerative braking is not activated when the accelerator is released;

Eco for Driving #8211; not sure about the regenerative braking behavior, but the car did slow down a bit quicker than when D was selected;

B for Drive and it appears regenerative braking is activated when the accelerator is released.

When I first drove the i MiEV I did not notice the regenerative braking when the gear selector was in B. After I was told, I paid attention to the braking behavior and you could notice the regenerative braking activate, but it was not as strong as I expected. If you look at the dash, and regenerative braking is happening, the needle indicates that it is charging. I feel the regenerative braking should have been stronger than what it is, but it appears Mitsubishi went for smoothness.

I found the digital speedometer useless when I was accelerating quickly 10mph (16km/h) to 50mph (80km/h) as the digits would flicker that fast since the acceleration under these conditions was phenomenally quick. I found myself letting go of the accelerator so that I could see how fast I was going and then stomping onto the accelerator again.

I feel an analog speedometer (one with a needle) would have been better as you can see your rate of acceleration and know what speed you are doing at a glance. Once, you reached a steady speed, the digital speedometer is fine.


With a top speed of 81mph (130km/h), this exceeds many city speed limits. Most people in cities will not even get close to those speeds (legally). With 132 ft lb i.e.

180Nm of torque which is more than a number of 4 cylinder and some 6 cylinders gasoline powered cars, coupled with a small body, it means the acceleration is a lot quicker than many standard gasoline powered cars. With this type of acceleration, it is great from blasting away from traffic (provided you are rolling already).


For a town or city car, the i MiEV is reasonably comfortable. It hasn#8217;t got the nice luxury seats of the Rolls Royce 102EX Electric Car (which is basically a factory Electric Car Conversion done to a Rolls Royce Phantom), but feels no worse than a standard Ford,  Chevy or Toyota. Leg, shoulder and head room was sufficient (I#8217;m 5#8217;7#8243;).

I would have no problems driving this car for hours.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car Specification

Body Type: 5 door small hatch, based on the Mitsubishi i kei car . so effectively, it is a factory Electric Car Conversion .

Curb Mass (Weight*): 2400 lb (i.e. 1080kg)

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