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

In a follow on to Mitsubishi's previous announcement of their intent to begin selling a battery powered electric car in the Japanese and American markets, the company is showing a new battery powered research car. The new "i" MiEV (now there's a name that rolls off the tongue, almost as good as the Sony NW-HD-A1) is based on the "i" mini-car. Mitsubishi will be doing field testing of the cars in conjunction with a pair of Japanese electric power companies, to collect data on the the usage of the vehicles.The power companies have been very interested in promoting electric vehicles, but they also want to better understand the demands that wide-spread electric vehicle use would put on their infrastructure. Mitsubishi plans to begin the field tests in the fall of 2007. The rear engine layout of the "i" makes it well suited to EV conversion. The research cars will use lithium-ion batteries (hopefully not sourced from Sony) and a single electric motor. Readers who are in the vicinity of Yokohama, Japan between October 23-28 can see the car at International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exposition (EVS-22) at Pacifico Yokohama. The Mitsubishi press release is after the jump.

[Source: Mitsubishi]

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.

"i MiEV" specifications

* 2006FY joint-development and 2007FY fleet monitor model

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