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Mitsubishi Reveals i-MiEV Production Model in Japan

Tiny electric car will go on sale in July

 |  Jun 05 2009, 12:34 PM

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Mitsubishi has just revealed the production model of its i-MiEV electric car in Japan and it plans to have models on the road by July. Initial sales of 1,400 vehicles will be to government entities with public sales starting in April of 2010.

As a full-electric vehicle the i-MiEV creates zero emissions and is powered by an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that makes 63hp and 133 ft-lbs of torque.

It is based on Mitsubishi’s “i” minicar and by locating the drive battery under the floor and the power unit under the luggage compartment, it not only retains a great deal of usable cargo space, but is also a well-balanced vehicle.

Mitsubishi calls it the “ultimate eco-car, a solution to the various challenges the automobile faces today including environmental pollution, global warming and the depletion of petroleum-based energy supplies.”

The battery can be recharged using either a conventional household outlet, a 200-volt outlet or it can be quick-charged at special stations – which Mitsubishi is currently setting up in Japan. With a standard household outlet, charge time is 14 hours, but can be sped up to 7 hours using a 200-volt outlet. Quick-charge stations will be able to make the charge in just half an hour.

The i-MiEV is priced at 4,599,000 Yen ($47,600) but is eligible for a $14,400 tax break.

Mitsubishi did not give any details on when the car might go on sale outside Japan, but company representatives have already said the the i-MiEV is scheduled to be sold in North America.

GALLERY: Mitsubishi i-MiEV

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More on the i-MiEV after the jump:

Mitsubishi Motors to bring new-generation EV i-MiEV to market

  • Delivery to corporate, governmental and local authority users starts late July
  • Sales to individuals to start April 2010

Tokyo, June 5, 2009 — Mitsubishi Motors Corporation today, on World Environment Day, unveiled the production version of the i-MiEV *1 *2 new-generation electric vehicle (EV), describing it as “the pioneer that will open the door to the next 100 years of our automobile society.” The i-MiEV will go on sale on the Japanese market in late July of this year.

The i-MiEV represents the crystallization of some 40 years of electric vehicle development at Mitsubishi Motors. The company is presenting the production i-MiEV as the ultimate eco-car, a solution to the various challenges the automobile faces today including environmental pollution, global warming and the depletion of petroleum-based energy supplies. The company will continue its extensive collaboration with both private and public sectors in Japan and overseas in developing infrastructure to promote ownership of EVs.

Mitsubishi Motors expects to distribute, on a maintenance lease*3 basis, some 1,400 i-MiEV models in fiscal 2009 principally to corporations and to local authorities. The company plans to start sales of i-MiEV to individuals in April 2010 and will start taking orders in late July of this year.

*1 MiEV: Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle
*2 i-MiEV : For the full production model a hyphen has been added to the name by which the advance experiment and proving models have been known.
*3 Maintenance lease: A lease in which the monthly payments include some of the taxes, insurance and maintenance costs.
i-MiEV : Overview
The i-MiEV makes maximum use of the long wheelbase that stems from its base model the “i” minicar’s rear-midship layout to install a large capacity lithium-ion drive battery under the floor and the power unit under the luggage compartment. This provides a cruising range that is ample for everyday use without compromising the generous seating or luggage space of the “i.”

The introduction of the MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System)*4 – an advanced integrated vehicle management system into which the company has poured its wealth of know-how garnered from many years of EV research and development – has provided the kind of high performance and reliability that befits a new-generation EV.

*4 Generic name for the integrated vehicle management system developed by Mitsubishi Motors for new-generation EVs.
1. Principal product features
(1) Zero drive-time CO2 emissions
The i-MiEV is a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) which produces no CO2 emissions while being driven. Even when the CO2 gas emitted at power generating stations is taken into consideration, the i-MiEV generates approximately one-third of the CO2 produced by the gasoline “i” minicar (Calculated in-house based on the average of electric energy frameworks in Japan).
(2) Driven 100% by electrical power
The i-MiEV is very economical because it only uses electrical energy as its power source. Also, depending on electric power company rate fees, the running cost can be reduced further by charging the battery when off-peak (late night) rates apply*5.
*5 An application must be submitted to the electric power company to qualify for domestic late night rates.
(3) Quiet, agile, comfortable performance
The i-MiEV delivers the quiet and comfortable motoring experience only possible from an internal combustion engine-less EV. Maximizing the excellent response and high low-end torque inherent to its electric motor i-MiEV enables a level of responsive and powerful performance that surpasses that of the gasoline-powered turbo engine “i” minicar.
(4) Ample range for everyday minicar use
The i-MiEV has a single-charge range of 160 km*6 in the Japanese 10-15 mode urban driving pattern. This gives it a range that is ample*7 for everyday minicar use.
*6 Actual range will vary depending on weather conditions, road congestion and on how the driver operates his vehicle (use of accelerator, climate control system, etc.)
*7 A nationwide survey in Japan indicates that on average 90% of car drivers cover less than 40 km/day on weekdays and that 80% cover less than 60 km/day at weekends and holidays (in-house research).
(5) 3 ways to charge the battery
The i-MiEV uses a 3-way charging system that allows the drive battery to be charged at home or when out and about. For normal charging i-MiEV is connected to either a standard 100-volt or 200-volt domestic outlet using the charging cables supplied with the vehicle. The i-MiEV‘s battery can also be “quick charged” at quick-charge stations which are currently being established throughout Japan.
  • Charging time guide *8
    Method Power source Time
    Normal** 200V AC(15Amp) Approx. 7 hours (full charge)
    100V AC(15Amp) Approx. 14 hours (full charge)
    Quick 200V 3-phase (50 kW) Approx. 30 mins. (80% charge)
  • *8 Actual charging times may vary depending on such factors as air temperature and power source status.
    ** The normal charging gun and normal charging connector were jointly developed by Toyota Motor Corporation and Yazaki Corporation.
    2. Advanced technology
    (1) Main powertrain components
    a. Drive battery
    The i-MiEV is powered by a very high energy-density lithium-ion battery manufactured by Lithium Energy Japan*9. The large-capacity drive battery is comprised of 88 lithium-ion cells connected in series and is installed under the floor in the center of the vehicle. This configuration contributes to outstanding handling and stability due to the car’s low center of gravity.
    *9 Joint venture established on December 12, 2007 between Mitsubishi Motors, GS Yuasa Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation to develop, manufacture and sell large-capacity and high energy-density lithium-ion cells for EV use.
    b. Motor (power unit)
    The i-MiEV uses a high-efficiency compact and lightweight permanent magnet synchronous electric motor specially developed for the vehicle. It generates maximum torque from low engine speeds to deliver powerful response and a comfortable ride experience. When the vehicle slows down the regenerative brake system causes the motor to operate as a generator. The electrical energy recovered is stored in the drive battery.
    c. Transmission
    The i-MiEV uses a lightweight and compact single-speed reduction gear transmission, exploiting the high low-end torque inherent to the electric motor and eliminating the need for complex gear shifting mechanisms as found in internal combustion engine powered vehicles.
    d. On-board charger
    The i-MiEV comes with a compact, lightweight on-board charger that allows the drive battery to be charged using a domestic 100V/200V AC line.
    e. DC/DC converter
    The DC/DC converter is used to charge the 12-volt auxiliary battery and power electrical equipment. It is integrated with the on-board charger in a single unit to reduce size and weight.
    f. Inverter
    The i-MiEV ‘s motor is driven by an alternating current. The inverter converts high-voltage direct current from the drive battery to alternating current and supplies motor with the power required to drive the vehicle.
    (2) Combination meter display
    The combination meter instrument cluster is comprised of a power meter that presents a visual display of power consumption and energy recovery status, a drive battery residual charge indicator that indicates how much remaining power there is left in the drive battery, and an available range indicator that displays an estimate of how far the vehicle can be driven on the basis of average power consumption over the last few kilometers.
    (3) Shift selector
    The shift selector provides the three positions described below that allow the driver to choose between maximum fun, maximum economy or maximum regenerative brake bias.
  • D-position:
  • Generates gutsy torque in direct response to accelerator input and allows the driver to enjoy i-MiEV ‘s performance potential to the maximum.
  • Eco-position:
  • Reduces power output and consumption to deliver maximum economy.
  • B-position:
  • Increases the regenerative brake bias. Power output is the same as for D.
    (4) Climate control
    The i-MiEV ‘s climate control system features air conditioning with an electrically powered compressor and a heating system which circulates warm water heated by an electric heater. The control dial provides six-step manual adjustment of both cooling and heating temperatures. The system reduces power consumption by minimizing occasions when both cooling unit and the heater operate together.
    (5) Safety features
    a. Drive battery protected by sturdy frame
    The high-voltage system, battery pack included, is located inside the body frame and is further protected by a well-crib frame against damage from any direction of impact.
    b. Integrated vehicle management system: MiEV OS
    The MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System) gathers data and information from all the major EV components to provide integrated management of the i-MiEV ‘s performance. The advanced management system constantly monitors battery status and the energy recovered from the regenerative brakes while regulating output to ensure smooth and powerful acceleration from a full stop. As a result the system optimizes and minimizes energy consumption while delivering road performance that is comfortable, safe and reassuring.
    3. Other equipment and trim
    (1) Body colors
    The range of 8 body finishes includes monotones and two types of 2-tone color schemes.
    a. Monotones
    Three monotone colors are offered: White Solid, Cool Silver Metallic and Raspberry Red Pearl (factory option).
    b. 2-tone schemes (factory option):
  • Type A:
  • The two 2-tone color schemes that have been used to date to highlight the i-MiEV ‘s originality are available: Red Solid / White Solid and Cool Silver Metallic / White Solid.
  • Type B:
  • In addition two new 2-tone color schemes are available.
    - “Clean image:” White Pearl / Ocean Blue Metallic and White Pearl / Mint Green.
    - “Premium image:” Cool Silver Metallic / Black Mica.
    (2) LED headlamps and rear combination lamps
    The i-MiEV is the first minicar*10 and the first Mitsubishi Motors model to use LED headlamps, which throw a longer and wider low-beam pattern while also cutting power consumption. The rear combination lamps also use fast-illuminating LED emitters for the tail and stop lamps, making these lamps more instantly visible to following vehicles.
    *10 As of end May 2009, according to Mitsubishi Motors research.
    (3) PBS-bamboo fiber Green Plastic tailgate trim
    The i-MiEV uses PBS (polybutylene succinate)-bamboo fiber Green Plastic for the tailgate interior trim. The use of PBS-bamboo fiber cuts life-cycle emissions (from extraction of raw materials to final disposal of product) of CO2 by some 10 percent compared with polypropylene.
    (4) Mitsubishi Multi-Entertainment System (MMES)
    The i-MiEV is available with the Mitsubishi Multi-Entertainment System (with a 7-inch display and SSD navigation) that is built around solid state drive (SSD) technology to offer outstanding power saving and shock resistant properties. MMES is a factory-fitted option. The navigation database can be updated using SD flash cards and the company plans to use this feature to display the location of battery charging stations as they become available.
    4. i-MiEV specifications
    Drive System 2WD (rear-wheel drive)
    Vehicle Weight/Dimensions L x W x H 3395mm x 1475mm x 1600mm
    Wheel base 2550mm
    Vehicle weight (kg) 1100kg
    Occupants 4
    Performance Power Consumption
    (10-15 mode driving pattern)
    125Wh/km
    Cruising range/charge
    (10-15 mode driving pattern)
    160km
    Drive Battery Type Lithium-ion
    Rated voltage 330V
    Rated capacity 16 kWh
    Motor Type Permanent magnet synchronous
    Model Y4F1
    Max. output 47kW (64PS) / 3000 – 6000 rpm
    Max. torque 180 Nm (18.4 kgf-m) / 0 – 2000 rpm
    5. Sales information (for Japanese domestic market)
  • Sales target:
  • 1,400 units (fiscal 2009)
  • MSRP:
  • JPY 4,599,000 (consumption tax inclusive)*11
    JPY 4,380,000 (ex-tax) *12
    (Price does not include recycling fee, insurance, taxes other than consumption tax or registration costs.)
  • Sales contract type: Maintenance lease
  • *11 i-MiEV qualifies for “Subsidies for measures designed to promote introduction of clean energy vehicles,” currently implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. For fiscal 2009, intending owners are eligible to receive a maximum subsidy of JPY 1,390,000 on approval of an application submitted to the Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Center (The intending owner must apply for the subsidy and receive notification of its approval before the vehicle is registered).
    *12 Under current Japanese tax incentives to promote the ownership of eco-cars, the i-MiEV is exempt from the excise and weight taxes normally collectable on purchase of a new vehicle.