IntroductionMitsubishi is set to introduce its first all-electric car in the United States later next year, but it will unveil the updated 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV next week at the 2010 Los Angeles International Auto Show. Back in September, we reported that the i-MiEV would grow significantly in size when it went on sale here, and now Mitsubishi has announced some of the dimensions for the new electric hatchback. Although the i-MiEV still has the signature egg-shaped design, it has grown in size to deliver a more spacious cabin as well as a better performance in U.S. DOT crash tests.Overall, the U.S.-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV is now almost a foot longer measuring in at just over 12 feet. It is not clear where that extra length was added in, but the production i-MiEV does sport a much longer snout than the version intended for Japanese and European markets. As for the width, it too has been stretched by about four inches to give the i-MiEV an overall width of 5 feet 2 inches. The height of the car remains pretty much the same as the foreign-market versions.
As for styling changes, the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV retains its unique shape, but is easily distinguishable from the JDM model. The new front fascia gives the car a severe underbite, while the turn signal indicators are moved from the headlights to the fascia. The windshield was already fairly tall and now gets even wider, so to keep a clear view for the driver, an extra windshield wiper was added in. This interesting setup has one wiper resting in the horizontal position and the other resting vertically along the passenger-side A-pillar. Similar to the front end, changes made to rear of the i-MiEV are focused on the fascia and lighting. The new rear fascia sticks out much further than the JDM model, while the clear-lensed taillights are now replaced with red lenses for the brakes and taillights. Additional side marker lights and reflectors are also added to the new fascia.
Inside, the single image that Mitsubishi released of the new i-MiEV show a similar but slightly more stylish cabin design. The highlight of this picture is definitely the two-tone color scheme which is applied to the seats, door panel and instrument panel, but the look of the U.S.-spec instrument panel appears much cleaner thanks to the flush-mounted center stack. While it is possible that this model is a higher trim level, it does have a more upscale look than previous models of the i-MiEV.
Pricing has yet to be announced for the U.S.-spec 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, but many are expecting a starting MSRP below $30,000 which doesn't factor in available federal tax credits. Likewise, Mitsubishi hasn't divulged any EV drivetrain details for the U.S.-spec version, but these should all be revealed at next week's unveiling. JDM models use a lithium-ion battery pack to provide power to the 63-horsepower electric motor that drives the rear wheels.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV went on sale in Japan last summer and will go on sale in Europe by the end of this year, but it won't be ready for the U.S. until fall of 2011. A few more pictures after the jump.