What is it? Formerly known as the i-MIEV, the “i” is Mitsubishi’s electric car due out next year. It uses a 16 kwh lithium-ion battery. It takes six hours to charge on a 240-volt, Level 2 charger, or 22 hours on a standard 110-volt charger, and has a range of 80-85 miles, according to Mitsubishi. The motor puts out 66 hp.
At $27,990 before taxes, it will be the cheapest all-electric car on sale when it hits dealerships next year. Three trim levels will be available: The base ES; an SE for an extra $2,000 adds seat heaters, alloy wheels, and an upgraded stereo; the SE premium package adds a navigation system with a rearview camera and a charge port for a DC “fast” charger.
What’s new or notable? After years of falling sales, Mitsubishi has decided to convert to an electric car company. President Yoichi Yokozawa says the company will roll out five new electric or plug-in hybrid cars by 2015, two of which will come to the United States in the next two years.
CR’s take: Though the “i” will be the cheapest electric car when it debuts, you may get what you pay for. With its longer range, roomier interior, and more thoroughly evolved electronic interfaces, the Nissan Leaf may be worth a few thousand extra.
When will it be available? West Coast in January 2012; later in other regions.