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2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Preview

2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Preview

By Jeff Youngs, February 27, 2013
Fast Facts:
  • All-electric car now in its second year in U.S.
  • Vehicle emphasizes cheap power, economical sticker price
  • 5-door hatchback comes in two trim levels
  • 62-mile range
  • Several battery charging options

Introduction
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the electric version of the Mitsubishi i. It's a 5-door, 4-passenger hatchback subcompact that is available in two trim levels. It competes directly with the Nissan Leaf, and less directly with models such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius. It is an egg-shaped car with a high rear, and the manufacturer touts its energy efficiency and the quietness of the electric motor. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is a 4-passenger electric vehicle with a 62-mile driving range. Mitsubishi says that it takes 22 hours to fully recharge the i-MiEV using a standard household power outlet, or 7 hours using a dedicated 240-volt outlet. The i-MiEV is offered in ES or SE trim levels. The model entered the United States market in the 2012 model year, and the 2013 version is little changed.

Exterior Features
The 2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is available in the ES and SE trim levels. On the exterior, the ES features 15-inch steel wheels; the SE upgrades to alloy wheels and adds fog lamps and automatic headlights. Colors include Cool Silver, Raspberry, Labrador Black, and White Pearl. Two-tone white pearl and ocean blue is available with the SE trim. The high-set taillights are a noticeable design feature.

Interior Features
Standard interior features include the full complement of power accessories, air conditioning, fabric-upholstered bucket front seats, 50/50 split-folding and reclining rear seats, a 100-watt, 4-speaker sound system with radio and CD player, an onboard recharging system, heated driver's seat, remote charging timer control, and remote climate control. The SE version adds various upgrades to the interior trim, including premium cloth upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 360-watt audio system with six speakers, and a passenger-side vanity mirror. Storage space behind the rear seats amounts to 13.2 cu. ft. With the seats folded down to create a flat cargo floor, cargo capacity is 50.4 cu. ft.

Optional Features
Available features include a Level 3 quick charge port, 40GB HDD Navigation with rear-view camera, music server and real-time traffic (SE trim only), FUSE Hands-free Link System with USB port (SE trim only), and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls (SE trim only). The Premium Package includes those options plus a DC quick charge port. rearview camera system, and battery warming system. Also optional are upgraded interior lighting, heated side mirrors, cargo net and mat, side molding, folding cargo tray, rear parking assist, side window deflectors, USB adaptor kit, and a wheel-lock kit.

Under the Hood
The 330-volt lithium-ion battery operates with a choice of three drive settings: "Eco" and "B" modes both improve energy efficiency, the former by reducing the rate of battery consumption and the latter by increasing the regenerative braking. The "D" setting is the full-power mode. The water-cooled rear-mounted battery is coupled with a single-speed reduction gear transmission that sends power to the rear wheels; top speed is slightly over 80 mph. An uncharged vehicle will be fully charged in seven hours using a 240-vold home charging unit; it will take 22 hours to charge when plugged into an ordinary outlet.

Fuel Economy
The EPA has given the 2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV an energy efficiency equivalent rating (MPGe) of 126 mpg city/99 mpg highway/112 mpg combined.

Safety
Standard safety equipment includes antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the 2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV receives an overall rating of 4 stars (out of 5 stars) with;4 stars in the frontal collision and rollover crash protection, and 3 stars for side-impact crash protection.

Technology
The technology of the Mistubishi i-MiEV is geared to minimizing emissions and saving on the cost of energy. The vehicle is designed mainly for city driving at low to moderate speeds. High speeds tend to reduce the range of the vehicle. The cab is warmed by a system that generates
heat from the traction battery; using the heating system also reduces the range of the vehicle. The air conditioner, with its own electric motor, also drains the battery significantly, but the car can be pre-cooled while charging.

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