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In the markets between July 2009 and April 2010
New Mitsubishi i-MiEV urban electric car
4 occupants, 3 driving modes and a 160 km max. range

Mitsubishi i-MiEV, front view with electric charging station.

i-MiEV, MIEV for "Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle".

APN

11 June 2009.

The production version of the new-generation Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicle (EV) will go on sale in the Japanese market late next month, first for institutions.

While individuals can also order the urban electric car at the same time, Mitsubishi Motors said last Friday that these deliveries will start in April next year (prices and subsidies). A European i-MiEV version is also due for next year, but with significant modifications.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV testing its electric protection in flooded road conditions.

Testing electrical components' safety in flood conditions.

The i-MiEV is the result of some 40 years of electric vehicle development at Mitsubishi Motors, where MiEV is the acronym for "Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle" (the hyphen has been added to the name of the full production model, with the first i referring to the "i" minicar origin of the model).

What the production i-MiEV aims to address are the challenges of pollution, global warming and the depletion of petroleum-based energy supplies.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV, normal charging.

Plugging for a normal full charge (in 7 or 14 hours).

Mitsubishi i-MiEV quick charging.

Plugging for a quick charge (80% in 30 minutes).

Mitsubishi i-MiEV, 200 volt normal charging cable

200 volt cable for normal charging.

As it can be logically expected, the Japanese brand has been conducting an extensive collaboration with private and public sectors in Japan and overseas to develop the necessary infrastructures and promote ownership of electric vehicles (EVs).

  i-MiEV... ID

To be a practical car for daily use, the i-MiEV benefits from the relatively long wheelbase of its base model's ("i" minicar) rear-midship layout, to install under the floor, a large capacity lithium-ion drive battery, with the power unit (drive motor) placed under the luggage compartment (see i-MiEV system configuration graphic).

Mitsubishi says that this packaging allows a cruising range that is compatible with everyday use, without compromising the seating or luggage space of the "i." model.

The introduction of the MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System), an integrated vehicle management system generated from years of EV research and development, has provided the performance and reliability that can be expected from a new-generation EV.

  Features

The principal product features of the production i-MiEV cover ease of use, economy, quietness and environmental as well as driving performance.

As a Zero drive-time CO2 emissions vehicle, the i-MiEV is a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) while being driven. But even when the i-MiEV is being recharged, Mitsubishi  says that the corresponding CO2 gas emitted at power generating stations is about one-third of the CO2 produced by the gasoline "i" minicar (calculated by Mitsubishi on the basis of the average of electric energy frameworks in Japan).

i-MiEV specifications (Japan)

Occupants

Four

Category

Urban electric vehicle

Length

3395mm

Wheelbase

2550mm

Width

1475mm

Height

1600mm

Weight

1100kg

Drive System

Rear-wheel drive

Drive Battery Type

Lithium-ion

Rated voltage

330V

Rated capacity

16 kWh

Motor model

Y4F1

Motor type

Permanent magnet synchronous

Max. output

47kW / 64PS / 63bhp
At 3000 to 6000 rpm

Max. torque

180 Nm, 18.4 kgf-m, 132.8 lb-ft.
At 0 to 2000 rpm

Consumption / range (10-15 mode driving pattern)

Consumption

125Wh/km

Cruising range/charge

160km

Source: Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

The Japanese manufacturer adds that its i-MiEV is also economical (see prices and subsidies), since it only uses electrical energy as its power source. Depending on electric power rates, the running cost can be reduced further by charging the battery when off-peak (late night) rates apply (where available).

A quieter and more comfortable motoring experience comes also from the absence of any internal combustion engine. According to Mitsubishi, the high low-end torque inherent to electric motors enables the i-MiEV to provide a responsive and powerful performance that surpasses that of the gasoline-powered turbo engine "i" minicar.

As far as the driving range is concerned, Mitsubishi says that the i-MiEV has a single-charge range of 160 km in the Japanese 10-15 mode urban driving pattern. While the actual range depends on weather, road and driving conditions (use of accelerator, climate control system, etc.), it still represents a decent daily range for a minicar use.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV system configuration.

System configuration (press to open the larger graphic).

The Japanese carmaker estimates are based on an in-house survey indicating 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.

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 (full charge in approx. 14 hours) or 200-volt (full charge in approx. 7 hours) domestic outlet using the charging cables supplied with the vehicle.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV operating system.

i-MiEV operating system (press to open the larger graphic).

The i-MiEV's battery can also be "quick charged" at quick-charge stations which are currently being established throughout Japan (200V 3-phase, 50 kW, with 80% charge in approx. 30 minutes).

Mitsubishi points out to the fact that actual charging times may vary depending on air temperature, power source status and other factors. The normal charging gun and normal charging connector were jointly developed by Toyota Motor Corporation and Yazaki Corporation.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV battery module.

Battery module.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV battery pack.

Drive battery: 88 lithium-ion cells connected in series.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric drive motor.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric drive motor.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV transmission.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV transmission.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV on-board charger.

On-board charger with an integrated DC/DC converter.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV inverter.

The inverter converts the high-voltage direct current of the lithium-ion battery, to the alternating current required by the electric motor to drive the vehicle.

Technically, the main powertrain components include the drive battery, the electric motor, transmission, on-board charger, DC/DC converter and an inverter. Their roles in the i-MiEV are described by Mitsubishi as follows:

- The drive battery is a very high energy-density lithium-ion battery manufactured by Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture established in December 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.

Made of 88 lithium-ion cells connected in series, the drive battery (opposite photo) is installed under the floor, in the centre of the vehicle. This configuration lowers the centre of gravity and enhances handling and stability.

- The power unit (motor, opposite photo) 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. With the regenerative brake system, the motor operates as a generator whenever the vehicle slows down (when the car is moving while the accelerator is not pressed). This recovered electrical energy is stored in the drive battery.

- The transmission (opposite photo) is a lightweight and compact single-speed reduction gear transmission, exploiting the high low-end torque inherent to electric motors and eliminating the need for complex gear shifting mechanisms as found in internal combustion engine powered vehicles.

- The on-board charger is light and compact, and allows the drive battery to be charged using a domestic 100V/200V AC line (opposite photo).

- The DC/DC converter is used to charge the 12-volt auxiliary battery and power the electrical equipment of the car (radio, wipers, lights...). It is integrated with the on-board charger (opposite photo) in a single unit to reduce size and weight.

- The inverter (opposite photo) converts the high-voltage direct current arriving from the lithium-ion drive battery, to the alternating current required by the electric motor to drive the vehicle.

  Meter display

The combination meter instrument cluster shows the most important data to the driver.

These data include a power meter that presents a visual display of power consumption and energy recovery status (see photo right below), a drive battery residual charge indicator that shows the remaining power in the lithium-ion drive battery, and an indicator displaying an estimate of how far the vehicle can be driven on the basis of average power consumption over the last few kilometres.

  Shift selector

Mitsubishi i-MiEV: combination meter instrument cluster.

Combination instrument cluster.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV: gearshift selector with the D, Eco and B positions.

Gearshift selector: D, Eco or B.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV dashboard.

Climate control includes air conditioning (RHD i-MiEV).

Mitsubishi i-MiEV LED headlight.

LED headlights: lower consumption and better performance.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV LED tail light.

LED tail lights.

The gear shift selector provides three driving styles: maximum performance (D), maximum economy (Eco) or maximum regenerative brake (B) bias.

- D position generates the best torque in direct response to accelerator input, allowing a more dynamic driving style (see opposite picture).

- 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.

  Climate control

The climate control functions of the i-MiEV include air conditioning with an electrically powered compressor and a heating system which circulates warm water heated by an electric heater.

The control dial (dashboard photo below, Japanese right-hand drive version) provides six-step manual adjustment of both cooling and heating temperatures. Mitsubishi says that the system reduces power consumption by minimizing occasions when both cooling unit and the heater operate together.

  Safety

The high-voltage system and its battery pack are located within the body frame and are further protected by a well-crib frame (see the Drive battery photo) against damage from any direction of impact.

Additionally, the MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System) gathers data and information from all the major EV components to provide integrated management of the car's performance. The advanced management system constantly monitors battery status and the energy recovered from the regenerative brakes while regulating output to smoothen and enhance acceleration from a full stop. Mitsubishi says that the system optimizes and minimizes energy consumption while delivering road performance that is comfortable, safe and reassuring.

  LED

The i-MiEV is the first minicar (as of end May 2009, according to Mitsubishi Motors research) and the first Mitsubishi Motors model to use LED headlamps, which shed 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 (opposite photo), making them more instantly visible to following vehicles' drivers.

  Body colours

A range of eight body finishes includes monotones and two types of two-tone colour schemes. The three monotone colours are White Solid, Cool Silver Metallic and Raspberry Red Pearl (factory option).

The two-tone schemes (factory option) propose:

- Type A: the two 2-tone colour schemes that have been used to date to highlight the i-MiEV 's originality are: Red Solid / White Solid and Cool Silver Metallic / White Solid.

- Type B: two new 2-tone colour schemes are available, the "Clean image" (White Pearl / Ocean Blue Metallic and White Pearl / Mint Green) and the "Premium image:" (Cool Silver Metallic / Black Mica).

  MMES

Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Mitsubishi Multi-Entertainment System (MMES).

Mitsubishi Multi-Entertainment System (MMES).

The i-MiEV is available with the (factory-fitted option) Mitsubishi Multi-Entertainment System (with a 7-inch display and SSD navigation) that is built around solid state drive (SSD) technology offering better power saving and shock resistant properties. 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.

Sales targets and prices

Mitsubishi i-MiEV: four seats, side view.

Four passengers on a 2.55 metre wheelbase.

As a start, Mitsubishi Motors expects to distribute, on a maintenance lease basis (monthly payments include some of the taxes, insurance and maintenance costs), about 1,400 i-MiEV models in fiscal 2009 (1st April 2009 to 31st March 2010) principally to corporations and to local authorities.

The manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) is JPY 4,599,000, equivalent to (as on 11 June 2009) about 47 thousand US$, or 33,373 euros (consumption tax inclusive), or JPY 4,380,000, equivalent to about 44,748 US$, or 31,781 euros (ex-tax). The price does not include recycling fee, insurance, taxes other than consumption tax or registration costs. For the most up-to-date information, visit: www.mitsubishi-motors.com/special/ev/index.html

On the other hand, the i-MiEV qualifies for "Subsidies for measures designed to promote introduction of clean energy vehicles," currently implemented by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

For fiscal 2009, intending owners are eligible to receive a maximum subsidy of JPY 1,390,000, equivalent to about 14,201 US$, or 10,085 euros,  on approval of an application submitted to the Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Centre (The intending owner must apply for the subsidy and receive notification of its approval before the vehicle is registered).

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 the purchase of a new vehicle.

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