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Mitsubishi is going to take good look at the viability of all-electric motoring, this after announcing its plan to sell an all-electric vehicle in the Japan and U.S. in the near future. It has just introduced a new research platform, the i MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle), a four-passenger EV based on the company's podlike i kei car.

The i MieV will make its public debut later this month at a Japanese alternative vehicle conference. After that, two Japanese power companies will be provided with i MiEVs for internal research on how to integrate EVs into their business plans, including the development and deployment of a rapid-charge infrastructure. In January, Mitsubishi will bring in two additional power companies and commence fleet testing with all four to gauge whether or not an EV is a commercially viable proposition for all parties.

The i MiEV electric motor is mounted in the standard engine's rear-midship location and generates 47kW (63 hp) peak power. The car has an operating range of approximately 80 to 100 miles with a top speed of 80 mph and is actually much torquier than its conventionally-powered counterpart, generating 130 lb-ft to the standard i's 69.

(Press release, diagram, specs after the jump)

[Sources: Mitsubishi, LA Times]

i MiEV Technical Info:

i MiEV Tech Specs

Mitsubishi Motors builds new research EV, "i MiEV" for joint research with power companies

Tokyo, October 11, 2006 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has built a new research vehicle, the Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV)*1 for a next-generation EV development project. The electric vehicle (EV) will be used for joint research programmes with power companies that have been working on the promotion of EVs. The power companies will conduct field tests, gather data and evaluate the commercial viability of the vehicle. MMC will provide power companies with EVs and analyse field test data collected by them.

The new research EV is based on MMC's "i" mini-car, and named "i MiEV". i MiEV is powered by a compact and lightweight motor and high-energy density lithium-ion batteries. After removing the i's combustion engine mounted on the platform with an original rear-midship layout, a single motor*2 is mounted in its place. i MiEV became electric-powered with few modifications of the body structure. In addition to the joint research programmes, MMC will further improve the components of i MiEV such as the battery system, motor and EV electronic control unit for the future commercial application.

(MMC will display i MiEV at the 22nd International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exposition (EVS-22) at Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama on October 23 - 28, 2006.)

MMC will begin joint research with Tokyo Electric Power Company, and The Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc., in November 2006 and with Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd., in January 2007. MMC will provide each power company with i MiEVs. By testing i MiEV, the power companies will evaluate how the vehicle is applied to their business and how fast-charge infrastructure may be developed for EVs.

In the autumn of 2007, MMC will begin fleet testing in order to verify the vehicle's technical capabilities in daily use and to evaluate the commercial acceptance in collaboration with the power companies above along with, the Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd., and Hokuriku Electric Power Company. MMC will provide the power companies with i MiEVs for the fleet tests. The data collected from the test of daily use shall be used to assess the commercial viability of EVs in the market place.

MMC takes environmental concerns seriously. Developing new environmental technologies and diversification of fuel sources are MMC's key challenges and the MiEV project is an approach to these. MMC is also working on other environmental technologies such as clean diesel engines and bio-fuel engines. On the social side, MMC launched a natural conservation project called the "Pajero Forest & Local Mountain Restoration Initiative", which supports conservation and management of Japan's forests.
*1 "MiEV" encompasses MMC's whole technological concept of lithium-ion battery, in-wheel motor and other technologies related to EV, hybrid electric vehicle and fuel cell vehicles. The MiEV concept is developed from MMC's former concept "Mitsubishi In-wheel motor Electric Vehicle (MIEV)", referring to a lithium-ion battery/in-wheel motor-driven vehicle. MMC continues to develop in-wheel motor technology.
*2 In this system a single electric motor is coupled to a reduction gear and differential to drive both rear wheels.

i MiEV vehicle profile

i MiEV is the third EV of MMC's MiEV series. Based on the i minicar platform, i MiEV replaces the conventional engine and fuel tank with a lithium-ion battery system, motor, inverter and other EV components in the rear-midship layout.

There are two main advantages of the rear-midship layout: increased cabin space and plenty of space for the EV power train. The layout enables the power-train to be placed in front of the rear axle line, which ensures ample cabin space for passengers (4-occupant capacity). It also provides ample space for battery storage, which could achieve the desired daily driving range of a number of customers. An on-board charger allows the vehicle to be changed ordinary electric outlets.
In addition to the high practical values, i MiEV displays higher performance levels than the base model in some categories. For example, i MiEV shows stronger torque, quieter noise and less vibration, which are natural advantages of EVs.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      0-60 faster than a ford crown Victoria, 80mph top speed! where do I sign?
      Well done Mitsubishi for pushing the envelope on electric car development, building a proper fully electric car with 4 seats and a boot. Only 5 hours charging is amazing for a car that is used in the city.
      a 5 hour charge for 100 mile commute means it would cost 0.03p per mile (or free if you have solar panels/windmill installed)!

      If this came out for less than $17,000 i would buy one tomorrow.

      In the UK a "so called" electric car manufacturer has recently released a car that has a tiny 40 mile range and a 12 hour charge time. And has a pathetic top speed of 42 mph(0-42 17 seconds)!

      This shows how serious the Japanese are taking alternative fuel cars. Whist the US continue to sell 6 litre petrol V8 suvs with highway 12MPG....and you wonder why the BIG 2.5 are losing sales the Asians/europeans??
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, a car that I can take as far as the next county! (I'll just have to stay off the interstate, where the pace of traffic regularily tops 80mph). Great if you fly or take a train EVERY TIME you leave the outskirts of your city.

      #3 and #4: I know it's been posted before in Autoblog, but let me say it again. GM WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH AN EV IN THE EARLY 90's. Toyota had an EV rav-4. Where are they now? Oh yeah, they were destroyed too. But as usual, they can do no wrong, so GM is evil once again. And for the record #3- GMs large SUVs have higher mileage ratings than Toyota's. Go ahead, compare the FJ and a (much larger) Tahoe. I'll wait. And #4, there was an article posted here just 2 days ago saying Hummer sales are up, not "declining".

      And one last thought... Mitsubishi might not be selling cars in the U.S. in a few years... how can they say they're going to sell this here?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Maybe this will be the vehicle that saves Mitsubishi. It would be a nice commuting car. Just stay away from Sony batteries!
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Thats a cute car that will give the Smart a run for the money."

      Nope, it'll give the prius a run for the money.

      Also, the only expensive thing in an EV is the batteries. Modern batteries are expensive to build and make reliable.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Ugh... to think how far GM was ahead of the rest of the world in electric car development."
      Where in the world did you get the idea that GM was ever ahead of the pack on electrics? The Honda EV was
      a far better electric car than the EV1, which was a piece of crap that should never have en brought to market. "Who Killed the Electric Car? is a piece of ficititious Hollywood crap only convincing to those who know nothing about electric cars. If Mitsubishi brings their car to market with their obsolete batteries, it will meet the same fate as the EV1, Honda EV, and Toyota Rav 4 electric. Unless an electric car contains Altair's revolutionary batteries, the car is a fraud, in my opinion. I
      wouldn't go near any electric car with obsolete batteries, including the ultraexpensive Tesla with its $20,000 worth of batteries that won't last more than 5 years. I might note that the EV's nickel metal-hydride 26 battery pack cost over $15,000. The EV1 cost GM $44,000 to build, the Honda EV cost Honda $53,000 to build. Still want one of those useless old electric cars? Yeah, a big mystery about who killed those old electrics - spend $44,000 and get a grocery getter that ca't get out of the county and back. What a ripoff.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is going to be a great little car, when it finally comes to market. In the prototype, there's an overnight charge time of 7+ hours for a full charge, but you can do it from any home outlet. The other option is a quick-charge (requires big expensive machinery) that will give you 80% in 25 minutes.

      Over the next year or so Mitsu will likely improve on these figures and expand driving range, and they are aware that most people in Japan won't pay more than $17,000 for it. I think we have a viable product here, folks.

      And as much as I love Mitsu, I too wish that GM hadn't dropped the ball on EVs. We could have been so far ahead of the game by now in terms of climate change and building cheaper, sexier electric cars.

      Oh well. Hopefully scrappy little Mitsu has what it takes to make this baby succeed.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "The car has an operating range of approximately 80 to 100 miles"

      If it's a realistic estimate, that's good enough for me. I can charge it overnight in my garage. My commute is ~55 miles/day, add a few errand here and there, this is just what I've been waiting for. I'd buy an electric only car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sweet, I would only have to charge it twice a week!
      • 8 Years Ago
      What are the conditions needed to get 80-100miles?
      -Is that range only at 35mph? What's the range going 70mph?
      - How much will having the ac on affect the mileage
      - Does the battery life decrease with time? Warrant?

      This looks like a great car but I don't know if it could realistically handle my 50mile per day commute. Traffic, AC, Heater, traffic lights, etc... might impact it's mileage. Now if it were 200-250 mile per charge, I'm all over it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow! Great blog. While it seems like a useful vehicle, I cannot imagine driving it myself. Crazy!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Is it me or does this thing look like a SMART Car?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ugh... to think how far GM was ahead of the rest of the world in electric car development. I know it's been said too much, but car enthusiasts should probably give "Who Killed the Electric Car" a watch, regardless of your beliefs about green cars and the lot (I personally liked it a lot). Hey, for car-oriented entertainment in the U.S. it's better than watching boring-ass NASCRAP reality-tv shows on SPEED, right?

      It's not entirely GM's fault though. They didn't address the fact that American businesses have a hard time proposing long-term business plans to shareholders of American companies who expect immediate stock performance (since they do have a lot of control of the company). I just hate to remember that all the development money was switched to the now-declining HUMMER brand.
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