While most companies are frantically trying to adapt their technology to meet the demand for electric vehicles, EV, Mitsubishi is one of the early adopters and has already a good lead. The company is ready to test out its iMIEV EV in France and Europe by November 2009. To our knowledge, this makes it the first mainstream auto maker to roll out a working EV for testing.
The gist, already covered here, the iMIEV is a small EV mostly intended for city and mild suburban drive. According to Reuters, it should hit the road in Europe by November in order to: “beat rivals to the uncharted market and promote itself as the pioneer of the zero-emission vehicles.” Which is a good thing, we need competition in this market.
Much as we have said earlier, even though GM and the Renault-Nissan alliance are grabbing public spotlights by claiming to be the first mass producers of EVs, Mitsubishi Motors has the advantage of being the only mass-production car maker with a working model tested on the road today with its 4 seater i-MiEV hatchback. Wait a second, what about the Subaru and the R1e? The R1e did hit the streets of NY earlier this Spring and in Japan. Unfortunately, it won’t be available until 2010. Maybe we will see the two companies duke it out as they have with epic proportions in rally racing, this time with small EVs. We can only hope but in the meantime, 40 iMIEV are currently being tested as a fleet in Japan, and California should happen later this year.
How serious is it? Plenty! According to Mitsubishi, they want to be first to the market and understand the need for infrastructure and standards.
The numbers, with about 441lbs of lithium-ion batteries distributed under the floor for added stability, the acceleration is superior to an internal combustion engine thanks to a high-performance motor that generates high torque from a low speed. That’s the beauty of electric cars. Until you drive one, you won’t know what you are missing and how bad we have it with our clumsy and non-efficient gas engines.
At $28,350 after government-backed incentives in Japan, the iMIEV is more about the environment than then profits, for now.