Since its launch in Japan in July of 2009, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV has emerged as one of the best-selling electric vehicles (EVs) on the market. That's probably why it's now available in 15 European countries. Just days ago, the egg-shaped i-MiEV became the first battery-powered car to undergo crash testing conducted by the Euro NCAP.
So, how did the i-MiEV perform? Well, the diminutive hatch earned Euro NCAP's four-star rating, one notch shy of the firm's top five-star score. The problem has nothing to do with the powertrain, as the Euro NCAP explained in a statement:
Dr. Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP's secretary general, added that:The creditable four star rating shows that safety does not need to be compromised in zero-emissions vehicles. The i-MiEV shares its rating with its twin models, the Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn, which have the same design and safety equipment.
The crash tests results indicate that the i-MiEV's battery pack is properly isolated from the vehicle's body and suffered no external or internal damage. Hop the jump to watch the Euro NCAP put the i-MiEV through a battery of tests.We recognize the efforts done by Mitsubishi to demonstrate that plug-in battery powered cars can be as safe as others. It shows that a future 5-star accolade for EVs is not unthinkable.
THE MITSUBISHI i-MiEV BECOMES THE FIRST EV TO BE TESTED AND EARNS A 4-STAR RATING AT EURO NCAP 2011
~ Mitsubishi i-MiEV gains 4-star rating at Euro NCAP 2011 ~
When first launched in Japan in July 2009, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV became the first electric car in regular series production from a major manufacturer, available to world markets. Today, it also becomes the first electric vehicle to be crash-tested by the renowned Euro NCAP organization: a milestone further enhanced by a 4-star rating / new protocol.1
Excellent as such, this result vindicates the view Mitsubishi Motors took when developing this next frontier vehicle: whilst ambitious in its technology, it shall remain mainstream in its daily use whether through the ease of driving, the performance and the convenience it offers.
Obviously, this includes the guarantee of a level of passive & active safety similar to that of an IC-engined car - the direct result of a thorough development process accumulated over 500,000 km of testing that only a major manufacturer like Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) could commit.
Making the best use of MMC's advanced mid-ship architecture, i-MiEV is powered by a compact and lightweight motor and a pack of high-energy density lithium-ion batteries safely located within a long 2.55 m wheelbase.
In this respect, Euro NCAP's comments on the integrity of i-MiEV are eloquent: "No problems were experienced with the high voltage electrical system which powers the vehicle: the battery was properly isolated from the body shell and was not damaged during the tests."
Recently launched in 15 European countries, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV has already surpassed MMC's sales expectations in the region (about 3,000 units shipped as of end of January 2011) and with highlights including # 1 spot in the A-Segment in Norway. This year shall see a further introduction, in North America.