TreeHugger has been keeping an eye on the Mitsubishi i MiEV since 2005. Christine first wrote about the concept CT-MiEV and its drivetrain. Collin then had a look at the Mitsubishi "i" concept, then Jacob covered the first i MiEV prototypes, and later Justin wrote about another concept, the i MiEV Sport. Now's the time for another look since the most recent version shows a 23% increase in range among other improvements. Lets have a look.
The first prototype we looked at had these specs:
The i-MiEV is powered by a compact 47 kW motor that develops 180 Nm (133 lb-ft) of torque and a 330V, 16 kWh or 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Top speed is 130 kph (81 mph), with a range of up to 130 km (81 miles) for the 16 kWh pack or 160 km (99 miles) for the 20 kWh pack. The motor is coupled to a reduction gear and differential to drive both rear wheels.
The latest version has a new lithium-ion battery, a more efficient electric motor (10% lighter), a new inverter (30% smaller) and tires that rotate with less resistance.
The range has been boosted to 160 km (99 miles) with the 16 kWh battery, which is 23% better than before. This means that the car can either be sold for less with the smaller battery, or with an even longer range and the bigger one. No word on top speed, but we can probably assume it's still close to 130 kph (81 mph).
But don't hold your breath. Mitsubishi and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) have been test-driving prototypes and the testing phase won't be over until March 2009. With some luck, this electric car or another one based on this drivetrain will be available in 2010.
Before you ask: "Mitsubishi plans to sell the commercial version in 2010 for less than ¥2 million (US$17,000)."