2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Review
We spend a week with an electric car, experience range anxietyNo Comments
On-road performance wasn't the only issue we had with the i.
Automakers are working hard to get customers past the perception that electric cars are just glorified golf carts. The Tesla Model S, the Nissan Leaf, and the Ford Focus Electric all look like 'normal' cars that happen to have an electric motor. Not so with the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
The i-MiEV, or 'i' for short, looks like something that's used in urban parking enforcement. It stands out on the road, almost fitting negative (such as the glorified golf cart perception) electric-car stereotypes to a T.
It's one thing to look at it. What's it like to live with the thing for a week?
We understand that most i buyers won't be concerned with performance, but even at sedate speeds the car's performance is disappointing. Its ride is a bit choppy, and the short wheelbase and tall roof makes that choppiness felt.
On-road performance wasn't the only issue we had with the i. At one point we parked it at a quick-charge station during our lunch hour only to find that the battery hadn't charged at all. It might've been user error, but it still meant that we were bound to experience range anxiety.
Speaking of range, the promised maximum of 98 miles city and 62 highway isn't a lot, at least not compared to the 100 miles promised by the Leaf. We also noticed that projected range indicated in the instrument cluster vanished quickly and dramatically after dipping into the throttle for freeway passing. We never felt secure on our 20-mile commute to the office, and we didn't like planning ahead for our trips. The i is fine for short city trips, but it won't work well for those who have long commutes.
Fuel economy doesn't really apply to an all-electric car, but as noted above, city range is 98 miles and combined city/highway range is 62 miles, while combined MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) is 112, with a breakdown of 126 MPGe city and 99 MPGe highway. Charge time is about seven hours on a 240-volt charger.
For city drivers who rarely travel long distances or people who would use the little Mitsu as a second car, the i might be fine (hey, it's easy to park). But for those who want to truly commit to electric cars, there are better choices out there.
Transmission: One-speed automatic
Drive Wheels: Front
Base Price: $29,125
As-tested Price: $34,765 (includes $850 destination fee)
Available Features: Navigation, rearview camera, satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB port, heated sideview mirrors, quick-charge port, battery warming system.