Over the summer I reported on Mitsubishi working on an all electric mini car that would be competing in the Asian market. The i-MiEV was going to be a zero emissions, 100 mpg, electric car. These have been around for decades and they are more commonly known as golf carts. But I digress.
Mitsubishi has now announced that they are attempting to bring the i-MiEV to the US market, a full 18 months ahead of schedule. However, they do not intend for it to be competing on the same block that it is currently in the Asian market, meaning this little sled will be gas powered. Sorry 15 mile commuters, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, if it makes it to the US early, will only be an electric hybrid and not a full electric car.
The implications of releasing the Mitsubishi i-MiEV gas vehicle in the US early is that it may be successful. If it does become popular you can probably kiss the all electric version good bye, unless you are doing your own car importing.
Even by luxury golf cart standards the current offering of the i-MiEV in Japan is expensive, expect MSRP to be around $16,000.
Mitsubishi is working on entering the plug-in electric hybrid car market with a big (or little) bang. The Mitsubishi i MiEV is the latest creation in smart car technology that is promising the sky in terms of gas mileage at a whopping 100 mpg. But let’s look at what it means to get this kind of eco friendly transportation.
First of all, getting 100 mpg is just an arbitrary number. You may remember me reporting back a few days ago about a Raser Hummer that was created to get 100 mpg. Essentially these smart plug-in style hybrids are technically getting infinity miles per gallon, if you stay within the battery’s charge range. However, the efficiency of the tiny motors become more realistic after the charge has worn out. The idea however, with the i MiEV is that most consumers don’t drive over 40 miles per day, so the battery limitation is no problem.
Another kind of half truth is that the Mitsubishi iMiEV emits zero emissions, which is true, again if you stay within the cars battery charge radius. Once the Mitsubishi battery is used up, the tiny motor is used to push it down the road and then the emissions start up just like any other internal combustion motorized vehicle.
Lastly, the price tag for this car or oversized bicycle is a whopping $45,000. Depending on which side of the green fence you are on, this may or may not be worth the investment. How long and how many miles would it take before this car starts paying for itself? Well, if you only drive less than 40 miles per day, as the target market should, then you are looking at a looonnnggg time.
It’s fine if you want to buy green vehicles and especially brawny golf carts, just make sure you buy them for the right reason. I can just see the complaints and lawsuits rolling in once people realize it’s not exactly as advertised.
Video of the Mitsubishi i MiEV Hybrid in action. Short clip from the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show and driving on a test track.