Home / Auto News / News article: Mitsubishi i MieV Sport Air Concept - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Mar 03 2009, 3:24 PM

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With Mitsubishi all set to launch a production version of the i MieV, the company is already looking to the future. According to the i MieV Sport Air Concept, that future might include mini electric sportscars.

This little teardrop shaped coupe is rear-wheel drive and features a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. And weighing just 2,161 lbs, with the heavy lithium-ion battery back located under the floor, the car is not only light  but has excellent stability due to a low center of gravity.

Also, an electric engine is conducive to a performance car because of the immediate availability of power. Total output is 81hp and 170 ft-lbs of torque. The concept car is also fitted with 17-inch wheels with somewhat low-profile 175/50/17 tires. The wheels are also pushed to the outer limits of the car for optimum stability.

Mitsubishi says that the car is more sporty and aggressively styled than the “cheeky” i MieV. It still looks cute to us though. And by cute, we mean ugly.

GALLERY: Mitsubishi i MieV Sport Air Concept:

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Official release after the jump:

Geneva, March 3rd, 2009

Mitsubishi i MiEV SPORT AIR concept

- SportEV –

Whilst the idea of an electric sports car (or simply electric fast car, witness the 100 km/h record-

breaker back in 1899) is not new, not much thought have been given so far to consider electric vehicle

(EV) fundamentals as sports car material…

Blending sporting heritage with EV leading expertise, Mitsubishi Motors has just taken that upside

down view to create the clear removable top i MiEV SPORT AIR, premiered at the 2009 Geneva Motor

Show.

One step beyond being merely green, this zero on-road CO2 emission racy concept builds upon those

EV fundamentals, marrying:

the powerful accelerations and high torque inherent to electric motors,

the safe driving dynamics that stem from i MiEV’s lithium-ion battery pack, ideally located

within its long wheelbase and the low center of gravity it therefore implies.

Tech look

A joint effort between Mitsubishi Motors design studios in Okazaki (exterior), Okazaki and Cypress,

California (interior) as well as Tokyo (execution), the zero CO2 emission i MiEV SPORT AIR concept is

a relative to the acclaimed and equally zero CO2 emission 2007 i MiEV Sport show car.

Longer (+ 20 cm) and taller (+ 12 cm), it trades the cheeky look of its predecessor for a more technical

approach of its teardrop shape: from the clamshell effect of its deep(er) windshield + diminutive bonnet

to the shaper shape of its front end – complete with an inverted Jet Fighter “grille”, or the flush glazing

over the B-pillar.

Details, such as the (more) robust looking three-spoke alloy wheels, the squared-off mirrors, the LED

front lighting and side repeaters contribute to that look.

Appropriately for an EV, a semi-transparent embedded solar panel is used on the bonnet and “clear

cutaway” roof panel, while the “printed circuit board” motif continues inside, highlighting points inside

the cabin.

Air

Whilst several variants of i MiEV Sport have been sketched internally (all the way to a wacky mini

pickup !…), the 2009 i MiEV SPORT AIR concept is a more tangible proposition with its removable

clear roof panel over its polyamide and polyphenylene ether body panels.

Made of semi-transparent lightweight composite, the “clear cutaway” roof panel allows open air driving

whilst retaining the structural integrity of the coupé.

Sky blue

i MiEV SPORT AIR’s color & trim follows a “Japanese Technology” theme, combining the

approachable image and the high-tech spirit of environmentally-friendly devices:

- The blue exterior color evokes the openness of clear blue skies, while the use of a pearl finish

effect gives a bluish sheen to the body highlights the car’s eco-friendly image.

- Inside, the mesh “ventilaio” trim uses a high-contrast color scheme of greyish blue and “grege”

(an intermediate color between grey and beige). With the use of blue illumination for the

instruments and interior lighting this two-tone scheme imparts an advanced and high-tech look

to the cabin while at the same time producing a relaxing and reassuring atmosphere.

Mitsubishi’s proprietary Green Plastics (http://media.mitsubishi-

motors.com/pressrelease/e/corporate/detail1420.html )are used for the carpeting, the seat

back panels and side covers

Indeed, i MiEV SPORT AIR offers a welcoming ambience to create a comfortable and restful space.

The wrap-around cockpit design, on the other hand, is styled to alert the driver to the high

performance potential of the car the moment he sits behind the wheel.

The major controls and switches are all ergonomically grouped around the shift dial – with additional

controls subsumed into a single touch-panel display – making for more positive location and operation

by the driver.

Cab forward

A sports car of a new kind, i MiEV SPORT AIR also presents an unusual and very aerodynamic

teardrop-shaped profile and cab forward proportions making the best use of its 2,550 mm wheelbase

over an overall diminutive length of 3,650 mm.

Just as for the forthcoming production i MiEV, this generous wheelbase put the 175/50 R 17 wheels at

each corner for the sake of driving dynamics and – in conjunction of the rear-midship layout – an

optimum use of the available interior space for 4 passengers (2+2 seating).

It also provides an ideal location for the lithium-ion battery pack: located under the floor, the 200 kg

pack allows for a very low center of gravity, for stability and balance but also for passive safety.

The powertrain components – including the motor and inverter – are arranged beneath the luggage

compartment. As such – together with the aluminum rear suspension – they contribute to a good

weight distribution (50% front – 50% rear).

Space frame

An aluminum space frame – a combination of aluminum extrusions and aluminum die casting – is light,

rigid and strong, helping to improving performance by minimizing weight (940 kg).

The optimum layout of structural members, including front-side and cross members, efficiently absorbs

crash energy in the event of front-end or side collision.

In a collision from the rear, the EV components located under the back seat and rear floor serve as a

barrier to ensure the integrity of the passenger compartment.

By making use of i MiEV’s rear-midship layout and utilizing Mitsubishi’s latest RISE (Reinforced Impact

Safety Evolution) body, i MiEV SPORT AIR realizes excellent occupant protection in collisions from

any direction, even when colliding with a vehicle of different height or weight.

Pocket rocket

Pointing to the direction a realistic Mitsubishi sports EV may take in the future, i MiEV SPORT AIR

turns EV characteristics into (baby) sports car assets, all with the eerie silence, fluency and stress-free

driving of electric cars.

In particular, it uses a more powerful version of i MiEV’s permanent magnet synchronous electric

motor for even faster standing and passing accelerations – an EV trademark – than the standard

i MiEV with 60 kW (82 ps) and 230 Nm:

i MiEV i MiEV SPORT AIR i MiEV Sport

Power 47 kW 60 kW Front: 20kW x 2 / Rear: 47kW

Torque 180 Nm 230 Nm Front: 250 Nm x 2 / Rear: 180 Nm

Max. speed* 130 km/h** 200 km/h 180 km/h

Range*** 160 km 200 km 200 km

*  Where legal

**  Governed

*** Japanese cycle

Last but not least, i MiEV SPORT AIR offers another more down-to-earth approach to powertrain with

a single motor powering the rear wheels, exactly as the forthcoming production i MiEV and as

opposed to the more conceptual solutions forecasted with the 2007 i MiEV Sport (2 in-wheel motor at

the front + 1 single motor at the rear + E-4WD + E-AYC + S-AWC).

Overall length 3,650 mm

Overall width 1,600 mm

Overall height 1,520 mm

Wheelbase 2,550 mm

Track

The number of passengers 4

Vehicle weight 940 kg

Motor output 60 kW

Motor torque 230 Nm

Battery system 330V lithium-ion

Drive mode Rear wheel drive

Tires 175/50R17

***