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Mitsubishi i MiEV: Arriving in 2010

Motoring Channel Staff - 30/March/2009

Mitsubishi i MiEV
Mitsubishi i MiEV

Mitsubishi i MiEV
Plug it in, charge it up, and the i MiEV is ready to roll

Mitsubishi i MiEV
Mitsubishi's i MiEV undergoing testing in the States

Sydney, Australia – Mitsubishi won the race to have the world's first mass produced electric vehicle (EV), but it could also be Australia's first EV.

After being shown at the Melbourne International Motor Show and currently undertaking a nationwide tour of Australia, the Mitsubishi i MiEV's journey to Australia is looking more certain after the NSW State Government confirmed it would begin evaluating the i MiEV for inclusion in its fleet.

Expect the i MiEV to arrive here in 2010.

Consisting of around 26,000 cars, the NSW State Government fleet is not small and said electric vehicles would help reduce its carbon emissions and decrease its carbon footprint.

Able to travel about 160km on a single charge of electricity that takes about 8 hours from a conventional power point, the 4-door car has the potential to change the way people views private transport.

If the price tag of around $30,000-$35,000 sticks, this would also bolster the Mitsubishi i MiEV's case.

The NSW Government has announced it will create an Electric Vehicle Taskforce to see if investing in EVs is a prudent move.

The major hurdle at present is that the electricity that charges the cars comes from coal-fired power stations, which means the vehicles are not zero emissions at all, but in fact about the same and in some cases more polluting per kilometre than petrol, diesel or hybrid cars.

The Company Line

Mitsubishi is extremely upbeat about the i MiEV's sales potential in Australia, both in fleets and for private buyers. 

Mitsubishi Australia's president and chief executive officer, Robert McEniry, expects the i MiEV will continue to receive heightened levels of interest from members of the government, media and public.

"Hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles are becoming increasingly common in this current environmentally conscious climate, but Australia hasn't seen anything like the i MiEV before," said McEniry.

Compared to a similar sized petrol car, Mitsubishi claims the running costs per kilometre are around 33% lower. If charged during off-peak or night time hours the operating costs will be even less.

Mitsubishi Australia's vice president of brand and marketing, Paul Unerkov, is anticipating this next exciting step for the i MiEV.

"It's great to finally see the i MiEV on the road. Mitsubishi is excited to be at the forefront of this cutting-edge technology. Electric cars are no longer just a futuristic dream – they're right here, right now," said Unerkov.

The Car

MiEV stands for "innovative Mitsubishi electric vehicle".

It's a compact car about the size of a Toyota Yaris or Mitsubishi Colt, and uses a large-capacity lithium-ion battery system to power a compact, high-output 47kW, 180Nm electric motor in place of the traditional gasoline power train.

It's cruising range is around 160 kilometres per full charge: it can be recharged via a wall socket with its plug-in functionality.

Mitsubishi says that the i MiEV's batteries take about 8 hours to be fully recharged via normal power points, but high voltage power outlets (which are expected to be deployed in Australia late in 2011) will do the same thing in 20 minutes.

With total voltage measuring 330V, and total energy output at 16kWh, the compact battery and motor reside under the seating and in the back of the vehicle, allowing seating capacity for four individuals and good size luggage compartment in the rear of the vehicle. 

Able to reach a top speed of 130km/h, with a range of around 160 kilometres from a single charge, the i MiEV is a rear-wheel drive vehicle with three ‘speeds’: Drive, Eco and Brake.

Drive is the full power mode where the car drives under normal mode. Economic or ‘Eco’ mode allows the power to drop out automatically to extend the i MiEV’s cruising range and fuel efficiency. Brake mode offers high regenerative braking that absorbs as much kinetic energy as possible – restoring power to the battery - and is perfect for downhill driving.

Related Links:
- Australian Electric Car Network (2012)
- Opel Ampera Concept (2011)
- Chevrolet Volt (2011)
- Lexus HS 250h (2010)
- Electric Cars: Detroit Goes Green (2009)
- Toyota Prius Hybrid (2009)

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