Green vehicles are all the rage, including the first generation of electric vehicles. The third EV from a major manufacturer, the Mitsubishi i, has only been available for a few months, but is spreading across the United States.
First delivery taken in Illinois
Mitsubishi is the third car maker to unleash an electric vehicle in the United States, joining Nissan and Chevrolet, as it has begun rolling out the Mitsubishi i, also known as the i-MiEV. According to AutoBlog, the first models of the small electric car arrived in November and were only available in California, Oregon, Hawaii and Washington state.
The town of Normal, Ill., recently got the first six i models to be sold outside those West Coast states, as the city took delivery of the cars for use as city fleet vehicles. Normal, according to USA Today, is also where Mitsubishi has one of its North American factories, though the i is actually imported from Japan.
Tiny electric city car
The i is smaller than its electric competitors, the Leaf and the Volt, though the Volt also has an on-board gas engine as a range-extending generator. According to Car and Driver, the American version is larger than the Japanese version, as the car had to be lengthened by eight inches and widened by 4.3 inches, in order for reinforcements to be installed to bring the car in line with American crash safety regulations. That said, it is still only the size of a MiniCooper.
The steering is tuned by the Lancer Evolution team, which Car and Driver praised in a recent drive test. The electric motor is not very powerful, producing only 66 horsepower. Getting from 0 to 60 miles per hour is painstakingly slow, as it takes 13 seconds to get there. The car has a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which has an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Charging the car will take up to 22 hours using the traditional 120-volt outlet, but if owners purchase a 240-volt charging kit that’s available through Best Buy, it comes down to seven hours.
Shorter range but cheaper
The Mitsubishi i has a shorter range than any of its contemporaries, as it can travel only about 62 miles when fully charged. The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, can travel 73 miles on a charge. The Chevrolet Volt has an electric-only range of up to 35 miles, according to Chevy, though it can go up to 350 miles using the range-extending gas engine.
The i also costs much less than the other two EVs currently available. The Volt, before the $7,500 tax credit, starts at $39,145 before options. The Leaf starts at $36,050. The i, on the other hand, costs $29,975, before the tax credit. For those want an electric city car, it’s a fairly attractive choice. It will be available nationwide, according to Car and Driver, by this summer.
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