2012 Mitsubishi i - Efficient and AffordableWith a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $29,125 - a full $6,075 less than electric vehicles produced by other mainstream automobile manufacturers - for the base ES model before a federal tax credit of $7,500 and available state financial incentives (subject to availability of funding), the revolutionary Mitsubishi i is the most affordably-priced mass-produced electric vehicle available in the Únited States.
And thanks to its eye-catching design that makes for a surprisingly roomy cabin and excellent handling, stability and safety - accompanied by the additional benefit of exceptionally low maintenance and 'refueling' costs - the all-new Mitsubishi i is an outstanding choice for the eco-conscious automotive consumer searching for a primary vehicle to supplement their use of ride sharing and/or public transportation, or as an ideal secondary vehicle for those wanting to make a meaningful personal contribution to sustainable transportation.
A Brief History of 'i'
Gasoline-powered Mitsubishi i
First shown as a concept vehicle at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show and a hit wîth show attendees and the media alike, the production car version of Mitsubishi i was introduced to the Japanese public in January 2006. Thanks to the car's loveable styling, cavernous (for its dimensions) interior, strong reputation for safety and robust sales, Mitsubishi soon began marketing its popular 'little big car' throughout Asia and Europe.
In its home market, the Mitsubishi i was a keijidosha - a light vehicle class or kei car - so it was powered by a tiny (by western standards) 12-valve, 659cc DOHC inline-3-cylinder engine that featured the Japanese auto manufacturer's MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system) for maximum power output and fuel efficiency.
One of the truly unique design characteristics of the Mitsubishi i is its engine placement just forward of the rear axle and behind the rear seat - a rarity among compact cars. Positioned low and toward the center of the chassis, it gives the car a low center of gravity for excellent handling and stability while also maximizing interior volume. It is this concept of optimal packaging of the drivetrain components that made the i the logical choice when Mitsubishi decided to make a 100% electric-powered vehicle as it was relatively easy for engineers to swap the gasoline engine for an electric motor and stowing the lithium-ion battery pack beneath the sub-floor.
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The Mitsubishi i has won numerous prestigious automotive awards including a trio of 'Car of the Year' designations in Japan by Consumer's Choice, Carview and the Japanese Automotive Researchers and Journalists Conference (RJC) in 2007.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Japan-Spec
The culmination of its decades of design, engineering and manufacturing experience in the area of advanced 100% electric-powered battery vehicles, the renowned Japanese auto manufacturer launched the groundbreaking Mitsubishi i-MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) in Japan in mid-2009 and has since become a much appreciated and environmentally-friendly vehicle among consumers and corporate fleet managers alike.
Based on the fuel-sipping Mitsubishi i, this small but very space-efficient vehicle saw its engine and gas tank removed to make way for such technologically-advanced hardware as an electric motor, inverter and lithium-ion batteries in an effort to advance a more sustainable form of transportation.
With its 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, 47 kW (63 horsepower) electric motor and single speed reduction gear transmission, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV has an approximate range of 160 kilometers in the Japanese 10-15 mode urban driving pattern and a top speed of approximately 130 km/h.
With its lithium-ion batteries housed within a remarkably sturdy and waterproof stainless-steel safety cell and a fortified platform thanks Mitsubishi's innovative RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution body) energy absorbing safety technology in the event of an impact, the i-MiEV has achieved exemplary crash test ratings from a wide ranging list of governmental safety and regulatory bodies around the world including the Japanese, Australian and Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) agencies.
Following its successful launch at home, the i-MiEV entered into the Hong Kong and Australian markets in 2010. By the end of that year, the zero-tailpipe-emission EÚ version of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV was launched in Germany, followed quickly by the Únited Kingdom at the beginning of 2011.
The i-MiEV is now available in a wide range of countries across Europe and has eclipsed more than 10,000 units sold. In select European markets, a rebadged i-MiEV is available from a pair of leading French auto manufacturers as the Citroen C-ZERO and the Peugeot iOn.
The game-changing Mitsubishi i-MiEV has collected such distinguished awards as the 2009 Japan Automotive Hall of Fame Car Technology of the Year, the Japanese Car of the Year Most Advanced Technology at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show and earned the Environment Special Grand Prize at the 2010 International Automobile Festival in Paris, France.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Ú.S.-Spec
The next-generation Ú.S.-specification Mitsubishi i - available in either an ES base model or upgrade SE trim package - will be available to test drive at dealerships beginning in November 2011 wîth the first scheduled customer vehicle deliveries set to commence in early 2012.
This new Ú.S.-spec electric vehicle will feature an even roomier interior and improved safety features, thanks to a 110mm (4.3-inch) wider track and redesigned front and rear bumpers, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) to warn pedestrians of the approaching EV. A redesigned center console featuring improved materials will also feature prominently on the new North American Mitsubishi i.
This zero tailpipe emission production vehicle makes use of a more powerful 49 kW AC synchronous electric motor (66 bhp), an 88-cell 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and includes an onboard battery charger and is exceptionally 'fuel' efficient: The Ú.S.-spec Mitsubishi i is rated by the EPA to attain 126 mpg equivalency in city driving and 99 mpg in highway driving and achieves a commanding 'real world' EPA driving range of 62 miles (98 miles in the EPA LA4 city unadjusted).
The vehicle's batteries can be recharged in approximately 22 hours by the included 120v Level 1 portable charging cable, 7 hours by a dedicated 240v Level 2 EVSE charger (available for home installation by select retailers or utility companies), and receive an 80% charge in under 30 minutes from a public Level 3 quick charging station via the optional charging port.
Standard appointments on all Mitsubishi i models include a 4 speaker, 100-watt AM/FM/CD audio system wîth MP3/WMA playback capability; speed-sensitive Electric Power Steering (EPS); LED taillamps; a driver's seat heater; a highly-efficient electric manual air conditioning system wîth micron filter; and a vehicle security and immobilizer anti-theft system. An advanced airbag system consisting of dual-stage front airbags, driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental airbags and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags; 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) wîth Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD); and Active Stability Control (ASC) wîth Traction Control Logic (TCL) are also included as standard equipment.
Vehicle options include a Cold Zone package that includes heated outside mirrors and a battery warming system for the main lithium-ion battery pack ($150 MSRP) and a Premium Package available wîth the upgrade SE trim level that includes an HDD navigation system wîth rear view camera, DC quick charging port and the FÚSE Hands-free Link System™ wîth ÚSB port and §teering wheel-mounted audio controls ($2790 MSRP).
For information on the 2012 Ú.S.-spec Mitsubishi i, including how to pre-order America's lowest-priced mass-produced electric vehicle, visit i.mitsubishicars.com.
Mitsubishi Vehicles - An 'Electrifying' Future
Having developed an electric vehicle drivetrain that has proven to be exceptionally reliable and efficient, and wîth EV infrastructure continuously expanding the world over, Mitsubishi is committed to playing a key role in helping to make a positive contribution to sustainable transportation in the automotive .
Thanks to the rapid proliferation of consumer products including cell phones and laptop computers, lithium-ion battery technology is advancing at an incredible pace. As a result, battery prices are expected to decrease while energy storage capacity increases each year. This should help to make EVs more price competitive wîth gasoline vehicles while simultaneously greatly enhancing the real-world driving range of electric vehicles. Additionally, both the automotive consumer and society benefit immensely from reduced automotive emissions and oil consumption.
For these reasons, Mitsubishi plans to evaluate the potential and viability of electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) that could be added to the company's model lineup in the future.