U.S. Version of Mitsubishi 'i' Minicar Due in November

This week Mitsubishi announced a few details about its limited-production U.S electric minicar due in November, including that it will be the lowest-price, highest-MPGe EV yet available.

The “i” is what Mitsubishi is calling the $27,990 “wide body” version of its EV, and just 2,000 will be made available for the North American market.

You may have read of other electric and petrol iterations of the car also known as the iMiEV in Japan and elsewhere, but Mitsubishi said it is taking the cautious route for year one in the U.S.

As it is, the all-electric North American version of the tiny city car earned a respectable 126 MPGe (mile per gallon equivalent) in city driving, and 99 MPGe on the highway (112 MPGe combined).

Utilizing a 16-kWh li-ion battery, and capable of 81 mph top speed, the rear-wheel-drive commuter will weigh a few hundred pounds more than the approximately 2,400-pound Japanese version.

This is still several hundred pounds lighter than the larger bodied Nissan LEAF, which Mitsubishi does not consider a head-to head competitor.

To test its range, the i was put through the “LA4” driving cycle which simulates aggressive driving and operating in higher ambient temperatures with the air conditioning on. The cycle covers approximately 7.5 miles and includes numerous brief stops to mimic in-town driving as well as starts and stops for traffic signals.

A conservative estimate Mitsubishi is promising is “real world” range of 62 miles (100 km), and under the EPA’s LA4 cycle, the car is actually rated at 98 miles.

The company said it worked to improve travel distance, and attributes the 98 mile range to software upgrades and a revamped regenerative braking system, which delivers a 20-percent efficiency boost.

“We feel that with the combination of capability, affordability, and high level of efficiency offered by the 2012 Mitsubishi i will be prove very appealing to consumers considering EV transportation”, said Yoichi Yokozawa, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America.

Although Mitsubishi considers it a “second or third vehicle,” for most Americans, if one factors in a $7,500 federal tax credit, it will at least be priced competitively compared to the few other EVs yet launched at $20,495, and boasts a long list of standard amenities.

Included are energy-efficient electric air conditioning with micron filter, speed-sensitive Electric Power Steering (EPS), driver seat heater and LED rear combination tail lamps.

Advanced safety features include dual-stage supplemental front air bags, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard passengers.

Does this sound like a fair bit of safety built in? It was considered necessary for this small car testing the waters in the demanding North American market – and there are more safety features besides, including Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control Logic (TCL), 4-wheel Anti-Lock Braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), high voltage cut-off system and an Approaching Vehicle Audible System (AVAS).

All this technology will come standard on every Mitsubishi i.

Press release: Mitsubishi

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  • Stan Smart

    These “toy cars” are what the American Public still thinks of when they hear the words HYBRID CARS!

  • James Davis

    That’s not too bad, but it’s still not worth $30,000.00. With that short range, the most that vehicle is worth is $15,000.00. If you are going to make a small car like that, make it sporty like the Dotson 280 Z or the Nissan ZX, or the Soltice or the Sky. People, most often, will overlook a slightly over inflated price if they don’t feel embarrassed to be seen in it. That car will make people look at you like you are on welfare or something, or you are artistically tasteless.

  • Rene Maldonado

    More information and is this car is available for Puerto Rico

  • Anonymous

    For those who drive 60 – 80 miles / day, this is a very ideal 2nd / 3rd car at an affordable 28 K. Please dont compare it with a smaller car that sells for 15 K, since those cars will make a lot of noise whereas this EV will drive so smoothly.

    This will also be a head turner while also reduce the Oil bill for the nation.

  • Shines

    I agree with Anonymous. Mitsubishi is only selling 2000 of them in the US market. They should find enough buyers. After feedback and experience from these users the next version should be more efficient and better looking.

  • tapra1

    and high level of efficiency offered by the 2012 Mitsubishi i will be prove very appealing to consumers considering EV transportation”, said Yoichi Yokozawa, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America.Network Blog

  • greg45

    I really love the design of this so much. You are able to get so much from this car. The gas mileage is just amazing here. I see this selling so good in the future. Keep up the good work. Price Comparison Shopping Website