Monday, December 21, 2009

Mitsubishi Unveils Production Version of i-MiEV All-Electric RWD Minicar, Priced from $47k

The much anticipated production version of Mitsubishi's pure-electric i-MiEV minicar was unveiled today in Japan. Mitsubishi will begin leasing the minuscule EV principally to corporations and to local authorities in Japan in July. Individual sales are due to start in the Land of the Rising Sun in April 2010, followed shortly after by Europe and later on, the United States. In Japan, prices for the i-MiEV have been set at a hefty 4,599,000 Yen which is about $47,500 US or €33,700 at today's rates. That's more than double the price of a Toyota Prius that costs 2,050,000 Yen or $21,200 in Japan.

The production model of the four-seater EV which is based on Mitsubishi's 'i' minicar does not differ significantly from the concept version which was last previewed at the New York Auto Show this past April. Measuring in at 3.395mm or 133.6-in. in length, the i-MiEV is roughly the same size as the Fiat 500.

While retaining the i's rear mid-ship architecture, the i-MiEV replaces the conventional gasoline engine, transmission and fuel tank with a 330-volt lithium-ion battery system located under the floor deck, electric motor and onboard charging system. The electric motor that drives the rear wheels develops an output of 47kW or 64HP and 180Nm or 132.8-lbs/ft of maximum torque.

According to Mitsubishi, charge times to replenish the lithium-ion battery pack will be 7-14 hours, although the automaker said that it is developing fast charging stations throughout Japan that will take just half an hour. A full charge delivers up to 100 miles or 160 km of pure electric driving.

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