Mitsubishi Motors have delivered its first four “i” electric cars. Three individuals in California,Oregon, and Washington respectively have taken delivery. The fourth i went to the government fleet in the city of Normal, where Mitsubishi has a plant. Honda recently provided its first Fit EV to Torrance, California, home to its North American headquarters in this tradition.
The i’s Smooth Start Control electronically regulates torque from a stop to eliminate jolting starts, making the car feel more polished than some EVs. Mitsubishi put the popular i on a sumo’s diet to beef it up for theU.S.market and to meet North American crash regulations.
Adding 4.3 inches through the longitudinal center, the i pushes the width to 62.4 inches. It’s still about two inches narrower than a Fiat 500, but the gains in width translate into much more elbow room than the Japanese version has.
The additional front and rear crash structure adds about nine inches of overall length but no additional interior room. The North American i weighs in at a feathery 2500 pounds despite carrying 88 steel-encased lithium-ion batteries under the floor.
At $21,625 (after the federal tax credit), the i is the least expensive electric car on the market. It has a claimed 80-mile range and an EPA rating equivalent to 112 mpg. Mitsubishi says the car can be recharged fully in 7 hours on a 240-volt, level 2 charger.
With a price that undercuts the Nissan Leaf by more than $5000 and superior efficiency, Mitsubishi’s North American version of the i-EV may attract a broader audience than simply urban-dwelling environmentalists who view personal transportation as a necessary evil.
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