Monday, December 21, 2009

Mitsubishi says yes to U.S. market launch of all-electric i MiEV RWD microcar

Ending the speculative rumors that had been circulating for quite a while now, Mitsubishi officially confirmed at its New York Auto Show press conference that the fully-electric i MiEV microcar will be arriving on U.S. shores. The pure electric, four-passenger i MiEV is scheduled to go on sale in Japan this July with Europe following suit in 2010 and the U.S. shortly after that. The tiny i MiEV, which is slightly smaller than a Fiat 500 measuring 3.395mm or 133.6-in. in length, is based on the Japanese market, rear-engined 'i' minicar.

The electric version replaces the i's conventional gasoline engine, transmission and fuel tank with a lithium-ion battery system, electric motor and onboard charging system. However, it retains the standard i's rear mid-ship architecture which allowed Mitsubishi to integrate the new components under the seats, luggage compartment and floor deck.

The i MiEV's battery pack can be charged either from an 110v outlet - which takes around 12 to 14 hours - or half that time on a 220v. Additionally, there is a fast charge connector that allows the battery to reach 80 percent of capacity in just 30 minutes.

We're not aware of the exact specifications of the U.S. market model, but it is most likely that the vehicle will undergo certain changes to 'fit' (feel free to share your thoughts on this one...) the needs of the American market.

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