2012 Mitsubishi 'i' - 2010 LA Auto Show

By KBB.com Editors on November 10, 2010 11:31 AM

As home to the annual Green Car of Year announcement, the Los Angeles Auto Show is a natural venue to introduce all manner of enviro-friendly vehicles. Going forward, we expect more and more of those vehicles to be pure electric cars.

This year Mitsubishi will introduce its first all-electric car for North America, the 2012 Mitsubishi "i." We already knew the U.S.-spec version would measure longer and wider than the car that's been on sale in Japan since 2009, but Mitsubishi came forth with more details during the LA Auto Show - including when, where and how much.

>See more new cars unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

Mitsubishi says the 2012 Mitsubishi "i" will go on sale in November 2011 - first in Western states and progressively expanding to the rest of the country by the end of 2012 - at a starting price of around $30,000 before available tax incentives. That entry price would undercut the all-electric 2011 Nissan Leaf by a few thousand dollars, although the Nissan is roomier and presumably rangier.

The heart of the four-seat, rear-wheel-drive "i" is the automaker's Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV) technology, which in this application incorporates a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery. The system delivers 63 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque to motivate the 2,584-pound people mover. The automaker hasn't announced an official range target, but the "i" features two-thirds the energy storage capacity of the Nissan Leaf, which has a stated range of 100 miles.

Mitsubishi says the "i" can be charged through standard 110V or 220V power sources, or by a quick-charger system that utilizes a three-phase 220V power supply. A full charge will take 8 hours at 220V and 16 hours at 110V, while the quick-charger can provide an 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes.

Because an eight-hour charge is better than a 16-hour charge, Mitsubishi has teamed up with Best Buy's Geek Squad to sell 220V charging stations for the home.