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Mitsubishi i MiEV: Electric Mini-Car

At the LA Auto Show and on the Streets of California

 |  Jan 05 2009, 3:21 PM

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As Mitsubishi used the LA Auto Show to showcase its i MiEV electric car, several models were sent out onto the roads of California for real-world testing.

Based on a gasoline-powered version of the same car that Mitsubishi currently sells in Japan, the i MiEV uses a 330-volt lithium-ion battery to power a magnet electric motor. The battery makes 47 kW, which, says Mitsubishi, can move the car quicker than it’s 64hp gasoline sibling.

Because the battery is located low in the car the cabin is spacious and the center of gravity is very low. Mitsubishi says the i MiEV will be able to travel 100 miles on a single charge.

The i MiEV is currently undergoing testing for production and Mitsubishi claims it will be the first “new generation” lithium-ion-powered electric vehicles to hit the market.

Official release after the jump:

Mitsubishi Motors Delivers Innovative i MiEV Electric Vehicles to Southern California
Edison for Joint Testing and Evaluation

Mitsubishi will Monitor Consumer Reaction to Four-Passenger Electric Car at LA Auto Show

November 26, 2008 — Cypress, Calif. –
Before Mitsubishi Motors delivers its innovative all-electric car – the i MiEV – to Southern California Edison for fleet testing, consumers will get a sneak peek at the stylish four-passenger mini-car at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery, the Mitsubishi i MiEV will be the first of the new generation of lithium-ion-powered electric vehicles to be developed by a major automobile manufacturer that will be available to the public.

Extensive testing with the i MiEV has transpired over the past two years with seven major utility companies in Japan. The success of these programs quickened the vehicle’s development pace and prompted Mitsubishi Motors to begin selling electric vehicles in Japan in summer of 2009.

According to Tohru Hashimoto, corporate general manager of the i MiEV Business Promotion Office of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, The small, four-passenger Mitsubishi i MiEVs will enter into SCE’s nationally-recognized prototype testing and evaluation program. This collaboration with one of the nation’s leading utility supporters of electric vehicles will provide us technical feedback on i MiEV vehicle and battery performance, as well as vehicle connection and integration into the U.S. electrical system.”

The rise in interest for electric vehicles and other alternative-fuel propulsion systems is dramatically shaping the way automakers and utility companies are approaching the opportunity. Through this program, SCE hopes to help Mitsubishi Motors gauge how electric vehicles will most effectively connect to the smart grid of the future and the next generation Edison SmartConnect advanced meters. In addition, the collaboration may explore future requirements for vehicle communication and connection.

“We are thrilled to partner with Mitsubishi. The i MiEV is a terrific example of the innovative products that will soon make their way into the market and eventually make a significant impact on climate change and dramatically reduce our dependence on oil,” said Edward Kjaer, director, electric transportation for SCE. “Through our rigorous research program, we intend to contribute to this car’s ultimate success, thereby advancing plug-in hybrid technology.”

The i MiEV electric vehicle, which is based on Mitsubishi’s i” gasoline-powered mini car already on sale in Japan, adapts a zero-emissions state-of-the-art electric drivetrain. A durable 330-volt lithium-ion battery system is located under the floor deck and powers a permanent magnet electric motor. With this packaging, the i MiEV is able to offer the same level of interior utility and space as the gasoline version while lowering the center of gravity for more stable handling. The 47 kW electric motor offers improved performance and quicker acceleration over the 64-hp gasoline version.

The advanced lithium-ion battery is developed by the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation / Mitsubishi Corporation / GS Yuasa joint venture company, Lithium Energy Japan. LEJ represents the leading edge in battery technology and promises up to 100 miles of zero-emissions, economical driving on a single charge when packaged in the i MiEV.