(Chicago Sun Times 1/9/2012 page 61)
By: Arv Voss
Mitsubishi has positioned the i-MiEV as an ultimate eco car It s an expression of the companys environmental efforts toward a sustainable coexistence with the planet and natural resources.
The i-MiEV intelligent Mitsubishi electric vehicle is driven 100 percent by electrical power and is a zero emissions vehicle Power for the i-MiEV comes from a high efficiency compact and light weight permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor that incorporates a rare earth neodymium magnet and optimized wound rotor design.
The motor turns at a maximum speed of 9,900 RPM and develops 49kW (3,000 6,000 RPM) of power. As a basic characteristic of the electric motor it generates very high torque from very low speeds 145 pound feet of torque at 0 to 300 RPM. The transmission is a specially designed single speed reduction gear type with no reverse as the motor serves to deliver the reverse function.
The i-MiEV is a hatchback subcompact that employs futuristic design cues in the form of a jellybean. It seats four people comfortably with room for personal items behind the rear seat.
The interior features all the normal amenities found in a subcompact vehicle. Upholstery is woven cloth with well formed and padded seats. Gauges and switch gear are well placed for optimum user friendliness with special gauges and instrumentation providing specific information relative to charge levels energy storage and current energy level available as well as approximate range which is of course subject to driving style and topography.
My test 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV SE sported a pearlescent white and metallic blue exterior. Pricing started at 21,625 for the i-MiEV ES model and 23,625 for the SE version after applying the available 7,500 federal tax credit.
The i-MiEV is actually fun to drive. After entering and turning it on the only indication that you're ready to roll is a chime signal and ready light in instrument panel. The car is whisper quiet when stationary and only emits a barely discernable whir when moving. Tire noise on the road surface is actually more noticeable.
The shift gate provides the following settings: park, reverse, drive, eco, and B, which allows for the same torque and energy as the drive setting, but at the same time maximizes regenerative braking and energy storage during deceleration or heavy braking.
The eco setting minimizes power output from that of the drive setting and conserves energy. The range on a full charge can be up to 100 miles dependent upon driving factors and conditions and the use of onboard electronic features. Maximum speed is about 80 mph which at that rate will diminish stored energy quite rapidly. Charging time varies through the onboard 15 amp charger. To achieve a full charge at 100V the time is roughly 14 hours seven hours are required at 200V; and with the special quick charger (880V), an 80 percent recharge may be accomplished in approximately 30 minutes.
So is a plug in all electric vehicle for you. It actually depends upon the individual and the intended use and requirements. Some people will obviously get a charge out of the i-MiEV no pun intended. Those who need more drive range won't find it practical as everyday transport. But the i-MiEV is certainly ideal for commuters who travel roughly 30 miles or less each way daily or for longer commutes up to 60 or 70 miles with access to charging facilities in between.
The new 2012 i-MiEV is positioned to serve as a major role player in the quest for sustainable energy. Tax credits are sure to make its purchase more attractive.
Learn more about the Mitsubishi i MiEV at: ChicagoiMiEV.com
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