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It’s the SIM-LEI EV, built by the SIM Company, founded in 2009 at Japan’s Keio University. What separates it from the other EVs on the block is SIM’spreference to use four electric motors, one per wheel, rather than a central motor under the hood. The car should have debuted in March, 2011 but couldn’t meet that date after the earthquake devastation of last year.
Range is the biggest selling point. The SIM-LEI is said to last up to 206 miles in city traffic, thanks in part to the car having a minimal 0.19 coefficient of drag, which bests cars like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i which ballpark around 100 miles.
Most people interested in buying an EV will probably agree that range is important and having double the capacity of the competition is pretty sweet, but there’s something else that makes the SIM-LEI even more interesting. It scoots from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. For some perspective, a 2010 Mustang GT does it in 4.9.
Sure, the 93 mph top speed isn’t going to do much to your heart rate, but having motors distributed to all four corners mean this car will feel like it’s got suction cups for wheels around tight corners. Say what you will, but that’s a lot of fun.
[Source: Left Lane News]
10. 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE: 43/39 MPG
The Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient cars have been named for 2012 by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA (those guys that come up with the official ratings for cars) has compiled the list, which is dominated by Japanese automakers. Those remaining two are domestic vehicles, although with one being a commercial van, it almost should count. On the list are electric and hybrid vehicles only, with no diesels or pure gasoline engines.
In 10th spot is the first of three Toyota models and the first of four if you count the larger Toyota company and Lexus. The Toyota Camry Hybrid LE is officially rated at 43 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. With a combined rating of 41-mpg, it’s the only true mid-size sedan to achieve an average of 40-mpg or better. And these numbers don’t come at the expense of performance either, with 200-hp on tap. Of note, XLE models, which have more content and are heavier, are rated at 40 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.
Behold, the new bar for fuel economy: 126 highway miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). Which car is championing these figures? The Mitsubishi i electric vehicle.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Fuel Economy Guide ranked the Mitsubishi i electric vehicle at the top for fuel consumption. The competing Nissan Leaf stacks up 13 MPGe lower at a still impressive 99 MPGe. The Mitsubishi i beats the Leaf in city and highway fuel economy, making it the most efficient car on the road.
Yoichi Yokozawa, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) said the company was pleased to be rated at the top of the EPA’s Fuel Economy guide.
“With 17,000 i-MiEV-based units produced for various international markets, we look forward to providing North American consumers with an exceptionally well-engineered electric vehicle that has proven itself to be reliable, safe, efficient and very affordable in overall price and cost of operation,” he said.
The Annual Fuel Guide, published in cooperation by the EPA and Department of Energy, offers consumers information far beyond what appears on a car’s window sticker. They also offer advice on how to improve fuel efficiency.
The Mitsubishi i isn’t available at the moment, but MMNA expects to start releasing them in North America late this month.
Mitsubishi has confirmed that two top executives at their American divison have left the company, and that Mitsubishi has no plans to replace them – a curious development for an automaker with mercurial fortunes.
Mitsubishi has struggled in recent years, but has enjoyed a sales surge in recent months, as well as the launch of their all-electric city car, dubbed the i. Gregory Adams, vice president of marketing and product strategy for Mitsubishi Motors North America, and Mike Krebs, vice president of corporate planning and incentives both left the company on October 31st, with Krebs having been at Mitsubishi for over a decade.
Adams position may have an impact on the launch of the i, which is relying on social media and other unorthodox marketing methods to make an impact on consumer perceptions. A Mitsubishi spokesman told Automotive News that day-to-day operations wouldn’t be impacted by the departures.
[Source: Automotive News]
Recognized each year at the LA Auto Show, the finalists for the 2012 Green Car of the Year award have been released, spanning the gamut of possible alternative fuel vehicles. The nominee include the Ford Focus Electric, the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas, the Mitsubishi i, the Toyota Prius v and the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI.
While fully electric models like the Fusion Electric and Mitsubishi i are obvious choices, the list goes on to include the Prius v hybrid, the Passat TDI diesel and even the natural gas powered Civic.
“This year’s Green Car of the Year finalists underscore that there is no single solution to our transportation challenges,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. “Here we have five exceptional answers to the question of how we’re going to increase efficiencies, reduce tailpipe and CO2 emissions, and decrease petroleum use. These nominees deserve to be recognized for their unique approaches in providing consumers diverse choices as cars intelligently evolve toward a more environmentally-compatible motoring future.”
Along with staff from the Green Car Journal, this year’s judging panel for the 2012 Green Car of the Year award includes Carl Pope, Sierra Club chairman; Frances Beinecke, Natural Resources Defense Council president; as well as Jay Leno and Carroll Shelby.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has a goal – it wants to sell 2,000 units of its new i electric car in North America by April. Mitsubishi’s goal is pretty ambitious, considering that the i arrives at North American retailers in November and it’s only pre-sold about 350 to date.
According to Yoshikazu Nakamura, senior executive officer of Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle business office, the company expects North American sales of the i (aka i-MiEV in Japan and Europe) to reach to 20,000 units by the end of Japan’s fiscal year in March 2016.
The goal is attainable, as the U.S. model of the i has a base price of about $28,000. That means it’s one of the least-expensive highway-capable EVs sold in the United States. It also means that it will be sold at a loss for the first few years.
From now until 2016, we can expect to see three new Mitsubishi electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles (in addition to the i). Following in the footsteps of the i is the plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander crossover, which will be available in April 2013.
As part of a plan to establish itself as a global EV leader, Mitsubishi will launch eight electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles around the world by 2016. Of those, North America can expect to see four of these models. And the company isn’t starting from scratch – it plans to launch versions of existing gasoline-powered vehicles with all-electric or plug-in powertrains.
The president of Mitsubishi, Osamu Masuko, is “very interested” in producing electric Formula 1 cars, with an eye to mutually compatible technology with their road cars. The governing body of Formula 1, the Federation Internationale de lÀutomobile, announced this month that it is working with representatives of the European Commission to develop a racing series for electric vehicles.
Mitsubishi has a long motorsports heritage predominantly in rallying but it withdrew from its main focus, the Dakar Rally in 2009. ”I’m said to be unenthusiastic about motor sports,” Masuko added, “but with electric vehicles, I want to promote them.”
Mitsubishi introduced its i MiEV (Mitshubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle) in 2009 and will be sold in the United States. Masuko explained that “The development costs for electric vehicles seem much lower than for gasoline cars and it would also contribute to the technological development of cars that are already on the market.”
Mitsubishi is developing a post 2013 successor to its highly regarded Lancer Evolution, and is considering a high-performance plug in hybrid build on the next generation Lancer platform coming out in 2013. The new model would utilize technology previewed on Mitsubishi`s PX-MiEV concept from 2009.
[Source: Inside Line]
Mitsubishi is killing both its Endeavor crossover and Eclipse coupe and convertible due to slow sales, with both vehicles scheduled to die off in August.
The Endeavor never found much love amongst car buyers, but the Eclipse has a long history in the performance car segment, even if its moved further away from its original formula with each generation. Mitsubishi also announced the end of their famous Lancer Evolution sports car, and will eventually trim their model lineup to the Lancer, Outlander, Outlander Sport and Galant. Mitsubishi will also introduce the all electric i in limited numbers in late 2011.
The Mitsubishi i electric vehicle will start at $20,490 after a federal tax credit, coming in at nearly $5000 less than a Nissan Leaf. The $20,490 sticker price is for a base ES model, while the upgraded SE trim with an 8-speaker 360 watt stereo, leather wrapped steering wheel, 15″ alloys and fog lamps will cost $22,490.
Mitsubishi will also offer an option packing for $2,790 that features a DC quick charging port, allowing the car to recharge to 80 percent battery level in 30 minutes. Other features include a navigation system, backup camera, steering wheel audio controls and a FUSE hands-free system.
Customers will be able to order their i starting on April 22nd via Mitsubishi’s online ordering system. Potential buyers will then have to PayPal $299 for a refundable deposit, and $99.99 for a home inspection fee (waived for the first 2,000 customers) to make sure their home can handle EV charging equipment. Once this process is complete, customers will be able to take delivery of their car as soon as it reaches our shores in November, 2011.
Mitsubishi‘s diminutive i electric vehicle is undergoing some fairly substantial changes when it makes its debut on our shores, the most significant being a slight increase in length and a 5 inch bump in width, with the extra size added to help the car feel better during high speed highway driving.
While Japanese drivers experience mostly stop-and-go driving, Mitsubishi felt that the revamp was necessary to better adapt the vehicle to North American freeway travel. The car is set to launch in 8 months time, customers will be able to place orders for the $30,000 vehicle starting in the spring.
One sticking point for North Americans will be the extremely long charging times required with a 110 volt power source – as long as 22 hours. Mitsubishi representatives did not specify how long times will be with a 240 volt charger, only stating that it would be virtually necessary to install one.
[Source: Automotive News]
Mitsubishi recently reached a milestone with the completion of their 5000th i-MiEV electric car, which rolled off the line at its Mizushima plant this week.
After starting production in June of 2009, the i-MiEV has been a hit in Japan, and will make its debut in America in late 2011 after being unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. The i-MiEV will also hit Europe next year, in advance of the car’s North American launch.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Mitsubishi‘s lineup in the rest of the world is a pretty far cry from the Outlanders, Eclipses and Galants we’re used to in North America. In foreign markets, cars like the i, Colt and Delica can be had instead of the pulse-slowing fare sold here.
Mitsubishi apparently planned on bringing their Delica minivan to our shores, until a rocketing yen forced Mitsubishi to shelve those plans, as the vehicle became too expensive to sell in North America.
Road & Track magazine managed to get one of the evaluation vehicles, and their initial impressions were positive, although they felt that it was underpowered. With a 4000 lb curb weight and 170 horsepower, we can imagine that acceleration would be measured in geological ages, but it looks great. Mitsubishi is devoid of an entry in the minivan segment, and we would love to see this car on our continent. Unfortunately, it looks like we won’t drive one unless we rent one on vacation.
[Source: Road and Track]
Mitsubishi is looking to get into the electric car game with their ultra-compact iMiEV. Unfortunately, the iMiEV is down on power, interior space and range – between 50 and 60 miles – three qualities which likely won’t sit well with most Americans.
To make the iMiEV more attractive, Mitsubishi is hoping to sell the car for under $30,000 before a $7,500 tax credit. With the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt pursuing equally aggressive pricing strategies and offering far more practicality, it looks like the iMiEV will be a tough sell to all but the quirkiest of electric vehicle fans.