Mitsubishi i MiEV Review
Mitsubishi i miev electric car
Mitsubishi i MiEV Review 2011 - The Mitsubishi electric car (a modified version of which is to be sold as the Mitsubishi i in North America) is a sub-compact city car with seating for four people and their everyday luggage. I used one as our main family car for the whole year in 2010.
In terms of overall size, the i MiEV is similar in size to a Fiat Panda, and slightly shorter and narrower than a Ford Fiesta. Interior space is impressive, however, with plenty of legroom and headroom for even the tallest passengers.
Americans will have to wait until the end of 2011 before they get their version of the car. For North America, Mitsubishi are widening and lengthening the car in order to make it more suitable for the American market.
Like the Nissan LEAF, the batteries sit under the floor of the car and this makes for a higher floor than you first expect when you get inside the car. Because the Mitsubishi i MiEV is a very tall car the result is that it makes the car very easy to get into and out of. Several older people who have difficulty with mobility have commented to me that the i MiEV is one of the easiest cars to get into and out of.
Build quality, ride and refinement are reasonable, comparing well against city cars from Citroen, Fiat, Renault or Ford. Handling is good at low speeds, but less so at higher speeds where the height of the car makes it feel less stable and more jittery over rough surfaces.
Mitsubishi i MiEV electric car interior
Compared to other city cars, the i MiEV feels a lot more powerful and the smoothness of the motor compared to small internal combustion engines in conventional cars makes for a much more enjoyable driving experience. Once you have driven an i MiEV, you are not going to want to switch back to driving a conventional city car again.
The i MiEV is at its best in city driving, where its light steering, incredibly tight turning circle, high seating position and excellent all-round visibility really play to the cars strengths. Like the Nissan LEAF, the car is exceptionally easy to drive and the performance and smoothness of the electric motor makes for rapid acceleration and relaxed driving.
Mitsubishi i MiEV electric car side view
On the open road the i MiEV can be a lot of fun to drive. This is because of its power delivery, which provides instant power every time you put your foot on the accelerator. The motor noise is also very appealing: whilst it is silent at low speeds, it has a high pitch whine at higher speeds that sounds like a jet fighter accelerating! It may not sound quite as good as a V8 engine, but it is certainly entertaining. The downside of this is range: fast driving badly affects the range. In fact, the range indicator drops quite alarmingly when constantly accelerating hard or when travelling at high speeds.
The official range of the car is 80 miles (130km). This can be achieved in inner-city driving, but is not so easily achieved in other conditions. In a series of driving tests, we recorded the following real world ranges:
|Inner city driving||81 miles|
|Urban/Extra Urban||77 miles|
|Cross country careful driving||74 miles|
|Cross country fast driving||46 miles|
|Reeeway/motorway - eco driving||62 miles|
|Freeway/motorway- normal driving||51 miles|
In very cold days in winter, these ranges drop by a further 30%, whilst running the heater on full blast can also reduce range by around 15%.
Mitsubishi i miev electric car
The i MiEV takes around 6 hours to charge up from a domestic power socket, or can be fast charged from a dedicated fast charge unit in around 30 minutes. Charging the car for two hours increases the range by around 30 miles (45km).
Few families would choose a Mitsubishi i MiEV as a main family car, simply because of its size. However, many families who have an i MiEV as a second car have found themselves using it as their main car for all journeys, unless range is an issue.
In the past, two-car families have chosen a larger 'main' car that is used for the main family transport and a smaller car that is just used by one parent for travelling to work. With the Mitsubishi i MiEV, the driving habits of the early owners suggests it is likely that many families would choose this to be the main car and the larger car would be used only when the i MiEV was not available or unsuitable because of the range.
If you want a competent small car that is fun to drive, and if most of your driving is in urban or city environments, you should take a Mitsubishi i MiEV for a test drive.
Return from Mitsubishi i MiEV Review to electric cars list page.
The 2011 Electric Car Guide
The book is available from Amazon and all main bookshops
For a taster, why not read the first chapter of the book.