Last weekend, I took a test drive in the all-new Mitsubishi i electric vehicle. According to the company, the Mitsubishi i is the most affordable electric vehicle in the United States (I didn’t do a price comparison). You can get the Mitsubishi i for as low as $21,625 (after you factor in a $7500 federal tax credit). That’s certainly affordable for many people. In fact, it’s just a little more than how much we bought our mini-van for. Bottom line: this was the first electric car I’ve driven. I was expecting it to be a little sluggish, but it drives just like a regular car — except it’s much more eco-friendly than a gasoline powered car. The Mitsubishi i will be available by the end of the year on the west coast. It won’t hit the east coast until early 2012.
Here are some things I found interesting about the Mitsubishi i electric car.
- The car features regenerative brakes that automatically converts the energy from deceleration to charge the battery.
- The car has its own operating system, Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV), that maintains smooth and constant acceleration, distributes incoming energy from the regenerative brakes, and continually regulates the output from the battery.
- It’s 100% electric so you don’t need gas, which means you can save over $1400 annually (based on 15,000 miles per year).
- The Mitsubishi i costs about $3.60 in electricity for 100 miles (you can save even more by taking advantage of free charging stations), while a 50mpg-rated hybrid costs about $8 for 100 miles (more than double compared to the Mitsubishi i).
- The car produces zero on-road emissions. It doesn’t have a gas tank, emits CO2, or releases exhaust fumes.
- A gas-powered car has hundreds of parts that are not required on the 100% electric Mitsubishi i (such as engine oil, oil filter, fuel filter, engine air filter, fuel-injection components, spark plugs, muffler, exhaust system, smog-control system, transmission, transmission fluid, and fan belt).
- The Mitsubishi i is ranked first in efficiency with its 112 MPGe rating (126 city, 99 highway). The Nissan Leaf is ranked second at 99 MPGe.
- The car is small, but it meets all of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), includes six airbags, and features a unique RISE impact-smart design that offers additional protection.
- A single charge will get you around 62 miles, which is fine for in the city driving.
- It takes about 22.5 hours to fully charge the battery on a standard 120V household outlet. It only takes 6.5 hours with the optional 240V wall-mounted quick-charger. And with the optional public quick-charger port, the battery can be charged to 80% in as little as 30 minutes.
- It includes a 8-year / 100,000-mile limited battery warranty.
The Mitsubishi i is a nice electric car, but it does have some drawbacks. First, it can only fit four people (big people probably won’t be comfortable in the back seat). I have four children so I won’t be trading in our mini-can for the Mitsubishi i any time soon. However, the Mitsubishi i would be an excellent second vehicle for us.
Another disadvantage of the Mitsubishi i is that you can’t take it on a road trip. It only covers 62 miles on a single charge so you won’t be able to go very far until there is a public charging infrastructure in place to support longer trips.
[Disclosure: I will receive some goodies for taking the Mitsubishi i on a test drive and writing about it on Geek Dad Blog. As always, the opinions expressed are mine and I am not obligated to write a positive review.]