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10 Things You Need To Know About The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
March 25, 2012
4 min. Reading Time

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the newest electric automobile on the block, a battery-powered subcompact that has only recently begun deliveries to customers in the United States. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is an important part of the Japanese brand's upcoming makeover which will see it shift away from its traditional lineup and move towards developing a hybrid-heavy stable of efficient, alternative energy vehicles. The diminutive, battery-powered hatchback is Mitsubishi's great experiment, and one that has been rolled out with the utmost care by the company.

Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

01. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Is All-Electric

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV doesn't make use of a range-extending gasoline or diesel engine, nor does it offer a hybrid setup. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV features a stand-alone battery-powered electric motor that generates a respectable 66 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, linked to a lithium-ion power pack. The i-MiEV is a zero emissions vehicle, which means it has no tailpipe and produces no atmospheric pollutants during its operation. It also offers an adjusted fuel mileage rating of 126 MPGe in city driving and 99 MPGe on the highway, making it one of the most efficient electric cars currently available.


02. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Is Affordable

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV has the distinction of being the least expensive of the current crop of electric automobiles. Unlike the pricy Chevrolet Volt, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV starts at an MSRP of $29,125, which is more than $5,000 less than its next closest competitor the Nissan LEAF. As with other ultra-efficient battery-powered automobiles, the i-MiEV qualifies for the maximum $7,500 federal income tax credit, which depending on your personal tax situation can further reduce the price of the vehicle to a mere $21,625. This makes the i-MiEV the very first budget-conscious electric car to be produced by a major manufacturer.


03. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Offers A Healthy Range

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV might be a subcompact car with a relatively small battery pack, but its lightweight design helps it to provide a total driving range of roughly 62 miles on a single charge. Although this might not seem like an excessive driving distance, it's important to remember that the i-MiEV isn't designed to be a vehicle that traverses vast distances between cities or coasts. Instead it is intended to serve the needs of urban commuters, the vast majority of whom travel 60 miles or less per day to and from work. Mitsubishi advertises the automobile as a perfect 'second car' for families looking to complement to their current gasoline or diesel-powered automobile.


04. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Features A Trio Of Charging Options

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV comes with a 120-volt power cable that can be plugged into any wall socket in order to charge the vehicle's battery. Starting with a completely drained power pack it takes roughly 22.5 hours to top up the i-MiEV using a 120-volt source. Owners can also choose to install an available 240-volt home charging dock that cuts the time from empty to full by over 60 percent, replenishing the i-MiEV's battery in a reasonably quick seven hours. For those who absolutely cannot wait to drive their Mitsubishi after wringing 62 miles out of its lithium-ion battery, the vehicle can also be connected to public chargers that offer an 80 percent charge in a lightning-fast 30 minutes.


05. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Provides Three Drive Modes

The 20012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV offers three different drive modes. The default powertrain setting is Drive, and it is meant to offer good acceleration and a dialed-back regenerative braking experience that still manages to charge the battery without biting too hard during normal stops. Eco mode is intended to stretch the vehicle's battery range as far as possible by reducing the vehicle's 'throttle' response and further reducing the impact of the regenerative system, while Brake ramps up regenerative braking in order to more aggressively charge the car when coming to a halt.


06. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Is A Four-Door Hatchback

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is definitely a small car, and it fits well within its subcompact class. The i-MiEV manages to retain excellent practicality, however, thanks to the design of its drivetrain and power pack which together offer a completely flat load floor. The space between the hatch opening and the rear seatback measures out to 13.2 cubic feet, and folding the back seats forward reveals up to 50.5 cubic feet of total cargo space - on par with many compact wagons. Interior room is tight, which means that more than four adults cruising in the i-MiEV at a time will feel cramped, but overall the automobile stacks up well when compared against traditionally-powered subcompacts.


07. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Provides Rear-Wheel Drive Dynamics

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV breaks the electric - and the subcompact - car mold in two important ways when it comes to its driving dynamics. First of all, the i-MiEV is a rear-wheel drive automobile, a design which has largely disappeared from the small vehicle landscape due to packaging concerns and greater inefficiency when considering a gasoline-powered drivetrain. The reason for the i-MiEV's break with tradition has to do with the second unusual aspect of its design: it features a rear-mounted motor. Located snugly under the floor of the car, the Mitsubishi's power plant sits right above the drive wheels and offers interesting dynamics when it comes to handling and corner turn-in.


08. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Comes In Two Trim Levels

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV starts out in ES trim, which includes features such as a rear defroster, LED tail lights, adjustable front seats, electric air conditioning, power windows and door locks, intermittent wipers and a 100-watt CD player. Front, front-side and side curtain airbags are also included free of charge. The i-MiEV SE replaces the 15-inch steel wheels that come with the ES with alloy rims and also adds fog lamps, automatic headlights, nicer upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob as well as upgraded interior trim. The SE additionally benefits from a louder stereo system and the option to upgrade to a navigation system that includes a rearview camera and the Mitsubishi FUSE communications and entertainment interface.


09. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Can Be Had With Custom Wraps

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is an interesting styling exercise, with a space-egg look that instantly brings to mind the futuristic overtones of electric propulsion in an automotive setting. Mitsubishi is offering a 'Custom Graphics Program' with the i-MiEV that allows customers to order from an extensive catalog of wraps that can be added to the sides, hood, 'e cap' (which replaces the gas cap) and tailgate of the vehicle. The wraps are manufactured by 3M and can be ordered either prior to purchasing the car or added on afterwards by the dealership. Given that only five different colors are available with the i-MiEV, the customization program is an excellent way for Mitsubishi owners to express their personalities.


10. The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Comes With A Lengthy Warranty

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV quells the fears of early adopters with regards to the reliability of electric vehicles through an extensive warranty program. The i-MiEV comes with an eight-year warranty /100,000 mile on the battery alone, which means that Mitsubishi considers its power storage technology to be completely trustworthy. With battery replacement costs looming large in the minds of buyers this assurance is a welcome one. The vehicle also comes with a three-year / 36,000 mile basic warranty, roadside assistance for the same period and a five-year / 60,000 mile powertrain warranty.



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