The first electric car that will go into mass-production is going to be sold later this year in UK by Mitsubishi. i-MiEV, based on the Mitsubishi’s i model, is larger than a Smart for Two but with similar design and has room for four adults.
i-MiEV, with 57 horsepowers and a top speed of 87mph, has a lithium-ion battery which gives it an autonomy of 100 miles. The battery can be charged up to 80% in only 20 minutes using Mitsubishi’s bespoke high-power charger. A normal electricity socket is able to charge the battery to 100% in six hours. Mitsubishi estimates that the car can travel 10,000 miles on £45 of electricity at current UK domestic prices.
Jim Tyrrell, managing director of Mitsubishi estimates that around 200 cars will be available in the UK at first. The final cost of the car is still under evaluation.
Kieren Puffett, editor of car website Parkers.co.uk, took i-MiEV for a test drive and affirmed that the car is suitable for urban driving. First impression was that the car was torquey, which is quite impressive for city driving. He also tested its autonomy range and found out that after 50 minutes driving, with 22 miles covered, with headlights on, heater and radio on, the battery was half way discharged. Probably Mitsubishi calculated the autonomy of the car without other consumers on.
Cenex, a government-backed agency that is leading the introduction of low-carbon road transport to the UK, welcomed the i-MiEV. The electric cars were identified in UK as a major feature of the future of personal transport and which could help to de-carbonize road transport in the next 25 years.
Starting with 1995 Mitsubishi has been developing electric motors and the most notable one was the in-wheel electric motor. This technology allows each well to be driven independently by their own motor but was not a cost effective application.
Lance Bradley, sales director at Mitsubishi declared that in February will be launched Colt ClearTec which uses a stop-start technology to reduce CO2 emissions. This technology will be implemented on all Mitsubishi cars in the next three years.
Tyrrell is hoping that government will support financial the clean initiative of car manufacturers in order to make electric cars more attractive to consumers. This would include perhaps free parking or exemption from certain taxes for electric car owners.