2012 Mitsubishi i
If you’re not quite ready to jump on the electric car bandwagon just yet, there is a new option coming to market that just might persuade you, it’s the 2012 Mitsubishi i.
The i is a U.S.-spec version of the Japanese market iMIEV and comes with a host of updates to make this egg-shaped EV better suited for American tastes. Chief among those is an increase in size. The U.S.-spec i is over 4-inches wider, which not only allows for more interior room and the addition of side airbags, but gives it more stability, especially on interstates.
Although many will see the i as strictly a commuter or city car. Regardless our first drive found it to be responsive, with a top speed of 80, agile, and naturally, extremely quiet. And while it may be a little more mainstream looking than the previous Japanese market iMIEV, its quirky design still sticks out like a green thumb.
A more powerful 49-kilowatt electric motor provides the equivalent of 66-horsepower and gets energy from a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Charging can take as much as 22-hours on household 120-volt current, costing around 3-dollars; or as little as 30-minutes for an 80-percent charge from a public quick-charge station. We expect its real world range to be a bit less than the Nissan Leaf, at around 60 to 70 miles, more in perfect conditions.
But, probably the most important numbers for the i are its pricing numbers. Starting at just over $29,000 the i will be $6,000 cheaper than the Nissan Leaf EV, and that’s before a $7,500 Federal Tax Credit. The Mitsubishi i will hit select markets this winter, and will be available nationwide by the end of 2012.
Engine: 49-kilowatt electric motor
Price: Starting just over $29,000