Although launch of a production version of Mitsubishi's ultra-clean i MiEV is still about a year off, the Japanese automaker has announced that it will display a performance-oriented variation on the theme at the upcoming Geneva International Motor Show in March. Dubbed the i MiEV Sport Air, this one-off three-door hatchback was created to "explore the future possibilities" of an EV that emphasizes driving dynamics as much as it does environmental friendliness.
Beneath its far-sexier lightweight bodywork crowned by a "clear cutaway" top fitted with solar panels, the Sport Air Concept will be fitted with a more powerful version of the standard i MiEV's 63-horsepower electric motor. According to Mitsubishi's admittedly fact-light initial press release, the Sport Air's Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack will be located in the floor to help lower the center of gravity and enhance its overall stability.
Due for introduction in Japan sometime in 2010, the series-build i MiEV five-door is designed to run about 100 miles on a single charge and require about seven hours to replenish its 330-volt Li-ion battery pack from a 110V outlet. Mitsubishi is reportedly working on a quick-charge system that would allow an 80-percent electric "refill" in just over 30 minutes. Although there are no plans to sell the i MiEV here, a number of prototypes are being evaluated in America and various elements of its powertrain are likely to turn up in future Mitsubishi EVs that do make it to our shores.