Timed to coincide with the United Nations World Environment Day, Mitsubishi has revealed photos and details of its new i-MiEV electric car. Due to hit showrooms in Japan this July, it will go on sale in Europe in 2010 and find its way to the U.S. by 2012. Looking much like the prototypes that have been turning up at auto shows and in various international government and municipal fleets for the past year or so, the volume-build version will reportedly sticker at just over $45,000 in the home market, but closer to $31,000 with various government incentives/credits factored in.
Driven by a 63-horsepower motor fed by an 88-cell Lithium-ion battery pack, the petite four-seater can travel for up to 100 miles on a single charge. While its on-board charger will permit plug-in top-offs using a 110V/220V wall outlet in seven to 14 hours, commercial quick-charge stations that use high voltage/amperage will be able to bring the battery pack up to 80 percent of its maximum capacity in 30 minutes or less. As with other EVs, the i-MiEV also makes use of regenerative braking for on-the-fly replenishment and features a low-draw electric air conditioning compressor. In addition to a conventional "Drive" setting, its single-speed transmission has a range-maxing ECO position and a third "B" detent that increases the effectiveness of the brake-regen system. As a final comprehensive touch, this new Mitsu has an integrated vehicle management system that monitors and regulates all of the electric input and output functions to minimize energy use and optimizing overall vehicle performance.
Mitsubishi Motors expects to deliver about 1,400 of its new i-MiEVs in Japan during 2009, all under a maintenance/lease program. However, it anticipates that number will reach 5,000 units in 2010 when sales to individuals are set to begin, and rise to 15,000 in 2011.