The 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the electric version of a micro car. Electric cars have become a topic of discussion with a long list of pros and cons for and against. Without a doubt, an electric car can be cheaper to operate, cleaner to run with little to no emissions, and overall much quieter to drive. On the other hand, as of the technology presented today electric cars are normally much more expensive than their gas powered counterparts, offer a limited range, and generally take a long time to charge.
The i-MiEV is a decent micro car for zipping around town and if the owner’s commute is only in town, or if the car is purchased to run errands throughout the week, it might be a great fit. As far as driving, the steering is responsive and quick, but the suspension is hard and all road imperfections are felt throughout the drive. In order to figure out how to save the charge in the battery for the drive each owner will have to figure out what combination of features should be running at any given time to allow for an extensive power savings.
The power for the i-MiEV comes from the electric motor situated behind the rear seat. This motor gives the driver 66 horsepower and 145 lb.-ft. of torque with a 62 mile range on a single charge. The transmission is a fixed reduction gear transmission and the car can reach a maximum speed of 80 mph in order to make short stints on the highway when called upon to do so. The battery takes as much as 22.5 hours to charge on a regular 120-volt outlet but can be reduced to seven hours by using a 240-volt outlet instead. Knowing this, the cost of installing a 240-volt outlet needs to be considered as part of the price of the vehicle, otherwise this car cannot be driven daily.
Inside the car looks much the same as any gas powered car. Instead of having a bunch of electronic displays and indicators the gauges are much the same as found in gas cars and the entire interior is fairly plain. Much of the lack of upgraded features is in place to help to keep the overall price of the car as low as possible but still offer the electric power technology.
On the outside the i-MiEV is a unique look, much like any micro car according to Mitsubishi Indianapolis. Offering a short front end, because the engine is in the back, large windows, and a sloping shape with a high roof line, the car resembles an oversized jelly bean. The size of the windows offer a massive amount of visibility all around to help the driver, which is always a welcome element.
A few nice features comes standard on this car for owners to enjoy including front seat heaters, a 50/50 split folding rear seat, a reclining rear seat, a four-speaker audio system with an auxiliary port, a battery warmer, fog lights, a leather wrapped steering wheel and shifting knob, power windows, power mirrors, and power locks. A quick charging port for use at public charging stations (called “Level 3” chargers) is also standard and can be useful for areas where these stations are found because this can offer an 80% charge in about half an hour.
Offering only a few options, there isn’t really room for a long list of options; the optional features include rear backup sensors, a USB adapter for iPod, interior lighting, body side moldings, and the 240-volt charging station which will greatly reduce the charging time for home charging.
With a starting price of $24,000 the i-MiEV is the most affordable electric car in this class. After the $7,500 tax credit the price comes in closer to $16,500 making this car the most affordable electric car around. As a comparison the Nissan Leaf starts at $29,650, and the Ford Focus Electric starts around $36,000; much more expensive in both cases than the i-MiEV.
The 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV may not attract all car shoppers, but those looking for a nice small car for zipping around town should consider the i-MiEV to perform those tasks. The fuel savings is 100% by only being powered by electricity, and adding a full reduction of exhaust emissions not only will the owner be helping their wallet, but also the environment.