It looks like Mitsubishi is getting very serious about it’s i-MiEV EV that caused such a splash at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The diminutive, all electric city-car is headed not only for production, but will be for sale to any Joe Schmoe off the street with the money and the desire to buy one of the little guys. As long as they live in Japan (for now).
Mitsubishi is starting off small, and being nice and logical and methodical about the first sales of its i-MiEV. The initial sales targets are aiming to move only 1400 of the little guys in fiscal year 2009, but that seems like a good way to go about it.
Priced at around $45,300.00 (based on current exchange rates) the i-MiEV will initially be available as a lease only deal, and although there is no official word you would expect that if this initial round goes well, Mitsu would move into actual sales of the EV. Described as a new-generation electric vehicle, Mitsubishi says the i-MiEV is “the pioneer that will open the door to the next 100 years of our automobile society.” That’s a bold statement about one little car that will go on sale in Japan starting in late July.
The i-MiEV is based on Mitsubishi’s “i Series” minicars that are quite popular in Japan. Making maximum use of the long wheelbase from the i Series platform as well as the “i” minicar’s rear-midship layout, Mitsu installs a large capacity lithium-ion drive battery under the floor and the power unit where the luggage used to go. This gives a cruising range that Mitsubishi describes as “ample for everyday use” and still gives the owners generous seating and luggage space associated with the “i Series.”
Charging is always a bug-a-boo with EV’s but Mitsubishi feels they have this well under control.
The i-MiEV has a 3-way charging system that allows the battery to be charged at home or when out on the road. Normally the i-MiEV is charged via a connection to either a standard 100-volt or 200-volt domestic outlet using the supplied charging cables. The i-MiEV’s battery can also be “quick charged” at various stations which are currently being set up throughout Japan.
Weighing in at only 1100 kilos and just over 11 feet long, the i-MiEV still seats four people and although range figures are not given, Mitsu says you can drive it as you would a normal car around town, and not even notice that it’s an electric vehicle.
Here’s a video demonstration of the i-MiEV from Mitsubishi:
Mitsubishi’s press release follows the jump:
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