It was obvious, when Mitsubishi unveiled the U.S.-market battery-powered i at the 2010 LA Auto Show, that the new car was longer and wider than the original i-MiEV. The i's added length was needed, at least in part, to make the vehicle comply with U.S. safety regulations. As Maurice Durand, manager of product communications for Mitsubishi Motors North America, told us, the additional width can also accommodate "larger frame people." Turns out, there is another reason that wider and longer is better.
Recently, Durand told Automotive News (sub. req.) that the i's dimensions give it improved "highway manners" compared to the i-MiEV. According to Durand, adapting the i-MiEV for American driving styles meant making the i slightly longer and five inches wider than the i-MiEV. Additionally, the i's meatier tires provide some extra stability at freeway speeds
The electric i is expected to go on sale in the U.S. this fall and should hit the market with a price tag that's "around $30,000."