The North American version of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, in comparison to the Japanese- and European-spec i-MiEVs, features an enhanced, enlarged body structure to secure plenty of space for four adults and better meet the expectations of U.S. consumers.
Mitsubishi claims that the operating cost per mile of the electric i-MiEV is significantly cheaper than that of a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle. In Japan, the operating cost is only 1/3 that of the 660cc gasoline engine-powered version of the car, and the operating cost can drop even more significantly than that of its internal-combustion sibling by taking advantage of reduced electricity rates by recharging during nighttime or off-peak hours.
The power system consists of a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor and a high energy density lithium-ion battery pack that consists of 88 cells (22 modules, 4 battery cells per module) for a maximum battery capacity of 16 kWh. The battery modules can be installed either transversely or vertically; this packaging flexibility allows them to be stored underneath the cabin floor. All 88 cells reside within an extremely sturdy stainless steel capsule to provide maximum protection.
The i-MiEV also features a three-way battery charging system that allows the vehicle to be charged using the onboard household charger through either 110V (15A) or 220V (15A) power sources or by a quick-charger system that utilizes a three-phase 220V power supply. The charging times from a very low battery to completely full are approximately 8 hours at 220V and 16 hours at 110V. The three-phase 220V quick-charger can take a low battery all the way up to an 80% battery charge in under a remarkably fast 30 minutes. The three-phase quick-charger makes use of a special outlet that is accessible on the driver’s side of the vehicle, while the onboard household charger’s outlet is located on the passenger side of the i-MiEV.
Mitsubishi said also it will partner with U.S. companies Best Buy Co. and Eaton Corp. to provide American consumers with recharging devices for i-MiEV electric vehicles. By establishing a solid infrastructure for recharging the cars, the firm hopes to bolster sales down the road.
Mitsubishi Motors will have U.S. consumer electronics retailer Best Buy install the rechargers at customers’ residences. It will recommend the use of 220-volt equipment manufactured by electrical system firm Eaton. Eaton also plans to develop rechargers for installation at Mitsubishi Motor’s U.S. dealerships.
The automaker plans to roll out the i-MiEV in the U.S. next fall.[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]