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