Sunday, November 2, 2014

LA Auto Show: Mitsubishi i gets westernized by fattening up, Priced from around $30,000

The North American i-MiEV is finally here to help rally the Mitsubishi troops in what has to be one of the company's final attempts to stay afloat here in the the States. The US i will be sold strictly as an electric vehicle and use Mitsubishi's innovative Electric Vehicle system (MiEV).

The company plans to roll out the "i" to West Coast dealers (specifically California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii) in November 2011, with the Northeast getting access by March 2012, followed by nationwide availability by the end of 2012. According to Mitsubishi, the U.S.-spec model's MSRP is expected to be around $30,000, not including Federal and available state financial incentives. For the record, the larger Nissan Leaf EV has an MSRP of $32,780, again, not including any tax cuts.

Unlike the Euro-spec and upcoming US Fiat 500s, which don't appear to be very different from each other, there are some major visual differences between the Japanese i and the American version.

Most noticeable are the wider fenders to provide a bit more interior space, as well as new front and rear bumpers to meet US safety regulations. Standard features include a traction control system, airbags, and tire pressure monitoring system as well.

In order to improve efficiency, there are also "Eco" and "Brake" modes. If set to "Eco", the car's system will limit "excessive power usage", while "Brake" mode increases resistance in the regenerative braking system for a better charge.

The 16 kWh powertrain, mounted behind and below the rear seats, is made up of an 88-cell lithium-ion battery pack and "permanent magnet" synchronous electric motor. Power is rated at 63 horsepower and 133 lb-ft of torque for the mid-engined 4-seater.

Lastly, charging can be done at home via 110V (16 hours), 220V (8 hours), or three-phase 220V quick-charge systems. The quick charge system can get from "low" to about 80% charge in approximately thirty minutes.

By Phil Alex


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