Previewed as concept carat the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show, then launched in Japan in January 2006, recipient of many an award and well received by media and customers alike, the innovative A-Segment “i” has been selected as the platform for MMC’s next generation electric vehicle project: the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, whose Euro-spec. version (left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive is officially unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show).
Making the best use of the mid-ship architecture of this new urban vehicle, the electric “i” or “i MiEV” then was announced in October 2006 as a research vehicle powered by a compact and lightweight motor and high-energy density lithium-ion batteries.
Less than 3 years later, once a thorough development process was completed accumulating over 500,000 km of testing, the car was launched in Japan as “i-MiEV” in July 2009 first with fleet customers. Books were then opened for private customers as well, the first deliveries to this second wave of Japanese clients taking place from April 2010.
The next commercial step starts today in Paris, prior to a start of production at MMC’s Mizushima plant in October. Deliveries to European customers will then start in 14 selected markets from December 2010, depending country by country.
When announced as an EV research vehicle back in October 2006, the then non-hyphened “i MiEV” was the outcome of forty years of research and development at Mitsubishi in the area of electric powertrain.
With the intention of moving the then “i MiEV” into commercial production Mitsubishi Motors carried out a number of in-house testing programs where the car sailed through, including extensive poor surface track, durability and reliability and crashworthiness.
In parallel, Mitsubishi i-MiEV went through a process of acquiring data through extensive fleet testing under a variety of climatic and real driving conditions. As an example, in Japan, a year-long joint proving program with 7 Japanese power companies using 37 development cars was carried out, covering a total of 300,000 km of testing and everyday commercial use.
As a reminder, Mitsubishi i-MiEV is based on the “i” minicar platform where the rear-midship petrol engine and floor-mounted central fuel tank are replaced with a lithium-ion traction battery pack, the motor, the inverter and other EV components with only a modicum of modifications required to turn the petrol “i” into Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
EV traction batteries must have high energy density. For that purpose, Mitsubishi i-MiEV utilizes LEJ’s specifically developed high density lithium-ion battery pack, where each high capacity battery module can fit under the floor.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV uses a high-efficiency compact and lightweight permanent magnet synchronous electric motor specially developed for the vehicle.
This unit generates maximum torque from low engine speeds (180 Nm – 0 to 2,000 rpm) to deliver powerful response (66.6ps/49 kW) and a seamless driving experience. When the vehicle slows down the regenerative braking system causes the motor to operate as a generator, the energy recovered being stored in the drive battery.
Translating the EV experience in financial terms, Mitsubishi i-MiEV’s energy costs are minimal. In Europe and taking France as an example, a complete charge costs about € 2,00: just as low as the overall running costs of the vehicle, EVs being freed from the maintenance constrains of internal combustion engines and their transmission system.
Furthermore, Mitsubishi Motors plans to set the price (car + traction batteries) of the European-spec i-MiEV to around €33,000 – €35,000 (or equivalent) so that the final cost to the customer after government incentives (where applicable) remains under €30,000 (or equivalent) in a majority of the countries it is to be sold in.
Last but not least, MMC will offer a specific 5 year – 100,000 km warranty on all EV components.
Source - Mitsubishi Press
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