The Mitsubishi i-MiEV was introduced to the US market in 2012. Powered by a 49 kilowatt electric motor, the Mitsubishi employs a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Designed primarily to be a city car, the diminutive i-MiEV (BTW, MiEV is the acronym for Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) offers a quoted range of 62 miles on a full charge.
As with most electric models, there are three ways to charge the Mitsubishi EV.
The standard-issue charging strategy is a portable charging cable, which is set up to plug into a common 120V household outlet. Using this scheme will produce a full charge in about 22.5 hours. For faster charging, Mitsubishi offers EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) home charging docks supplied by either UPA/Eaton or AeroVironment. While these units require installation, they are capable of fully charging the i-MiEV in about 7 hours. The Mitsubishi can also be equipped with an optional public quick-charger port that connects to CHAdeMO Level 3 public chargers. This will accomplish an 80 percent charge in around 30 minutes.
To ease concerns regarding battery life, Mitsubishi offers an eight-year/100,000 mile warranty on the i-MiEV’s in-house-designed battery pack. Situated in the vehicle underneath the floorboard in a stainless steel case, a fan-driven forced air induction cooling system is incorporated to prevent the battery pack from overheating during fast charging. It also draws cool air from the Mitsubishi’s air conditioning system to ensure optimal efficiency regardless of the external temperature.
As its diminutive size would indicate, the interior’s capacity is a bit on the dear side. Four full-size adults riding together in a Mitsubishi i-MiEV will be a very rare sight. Rear seat legroom is considerably less than generous, and the backseats really don’t offer much in the way of comfort or support. The good news is the rear seats fold, (which is the way they’ll be most of the time anyway), enabling the i-MiEV to haul some 50 cubic feet of stuff. Cargo capacity is 13 cubic feet with the rear seats deployed.
Where most of the electric models coming onto the market are loaded with whiz-bang tech, the i-MiEV takes a comparably minimalist route. This is indeed the economy EV, with lots of hard plastic, a plain dash, light instrumentation, and only necessary controls. In other words, this is the lowest priced mainstream EV currently available—and it shows. Still though, if you’re looking for something to do around town short run duty, the Mitsubishi could well be all you’ll need.