Production Mitsubishi i-MiEV unveiled, sales begin in April 2010

In a very lengthy press release on World Environment Day (which we talked about yesterday), Mitsubishi finally unveiled the production version of its four-seater i MiEV electric-vehicle. The i MiEV will go on sale in Japan in late July of 2009 with a monthly lease process much like the Mini E Cooper. Starting April 2010, Mitsubishi will begin the official sales process to individuals and will start take orders in July.

So let’s get down the technical part of the i MiEV. The new mass-produced Mitsubishi electric-car is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, which is comprised of 88 lithium-ion cells that are installed under the floor in the center of the vehicle. That in turn powers an electric-motor that allows for 67-hp with a peak torque of 133 lb-ft.

How long does it take charge? Mitsubishi says that the i MiEV uses a 3-way charging system, which allows the battery to be charged at home or when out on the road. For normal charging the i MiEV can be charged from a standard 100-volt outlet which takes about 14-hours to reach full charge; a 200-volt outlet will take approximately 7-hours to reach full charge. The i MiEV can also be charged at quick-charging stations that are currently being established in Japan. At the quick-charge stations, the i MiEV can reach 80 percent full charge in 30 minutes. Once completely charged, Mitsubishi says that the i MiEV will provide a traveling range of 99 miles.

Mitsubishi said that it hopes to sell 1,400 units of the i MiEV in Japan in fiscal year 2009. Pricing starts ¥ 4,380,000 – or $44,714 (with Japanese tax credits). We’ll get more details on the sale of the i MiEV in other regions shortly after its Japanese launch

Click through for more info the press release and the high-res image gallery.

Mitsubishi i MiEV:

 

 

Press Release:

Mitsubishi Motors to bring new-generation EV i-MiEV to market

– Delivery to corporate, governmental and local authority users starts late July.
– Sales to individuals to start April 2010.

Tokyo, June 5, 2009 – Mitsubishi Motors Corporation today, on World Environment Day, unveiled the production version of the i-MiEV *1 *2 new-generation electric vehicle (EV), describing it as “the pioneer that will open the door to the next 100 years of our automobile society.” The i-MiEV will go on sale on the Japanese market in late July of this year.

The i-MiEV represents the crystallization of some 40 years of electric vehicle development at Mitsubishi Motors. The company is presenting the production i-MiEV as the ultimate eco-car, a solution to the various challenges the automobile faces today including environmental pollution, global warming and the depletion of petroleum-based energy supplies. The company will continue its extensive collaboration with both private and public sectors in Japan and overseas in developing infrastructure to promote ownership of EVs.

Mitsubishi Motors expects to distribute, on a maintenance lease*3 basis, some 1,400 i-MiEV models in fiscal 2009 principally to corporations and to local authorities. The company plans to start sales of i-MiEV to individuals in April 2010 and will start taking orders in late July of this year.

i-MiEV : Overview

The i-MiEV makes maximum use of the long wheelbase that stems from its base model the “i” minicar’s rear-midship layout to install a large capacity lithium-ion drive battery under the floor and the power unit under the luggage compartment. This provides a cruising range that is ample for everyday use without compromising the generous seating or luggage space of the “i.”

The introduction of the MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System)*4 – an advanced integrated vehicle management system into which the company has poured its wealth of know-how garnered from many years of EV research and development – has provided the kind of high performance and reliability that befits a new-generation EV.

1. Principal product features

(1) Zero drive-time CO2 emissions
The i-MiEV is a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) which produces no CO2 emissions while being driven. Even when the CO2 gas emitted at power generating stations is taken into consideration, the i-MiEV generates approximately one-third of the CO2 produced by the gasoline “i” minicar (Calculated in-house based on the average of electric energy frameworks in Japan).

(2) Driven 100% by electrical power
The i-MiEV is very economical because it only uses electrical energy as its power source. Also, depending on electric power company rate fees, the running cost can be reduced further by charging the battery when off-peak (late night) rates apply.

(3) Quiet, agile, comfortable performance
The i-MiEV delivers the quiet and comfortable motoring experience only possible from an internal combustion engine-less EV. Maximizing the excellent response and high low-end torque inherent to its electric motor i-MiEV enables a level of responsive and powerful performance that surpasses that of the gasoline-powered turbo engine “i” minicar.

(4) Ample range for everyday minicar use
The i-MiEV has a single-charge range of 160 km*6 in the Japanese 10-15 mode urban driving pattern. This gives it a range that is ample*7 for everyday minicar use.

(5) 3 ways to charge the battery
The i-MiEV uses a 3-way charging system that allows the drive battery to be charged at home or when out and about. For normal charging i-MiEV is connected to either a standard 100-volt or 200-volt domestic outlet using the charging cables supplied with the vehicle. The i-MiEV’s battery can also be “quick charged” at quick-charge stations which are currently being established throughout Japan.

2. Advanced technology

(1) Main powertrain components

a. Drive battery
The i-MiEV is powered by a very high energy-density lithium-ion battery manufactured by Lithium Energy Japan*9. The large-capacity drive battery is comprised of 88 lithium-ion cells connected in series and is installed under the floor in the center of the vehicle. This configuration contributes to outstanding handling and stability due to the car’s low center of gravity.

b. Motor (power unit)
The i-MiEV uses a high-efficiency compact and lightweight permanent magnet synchronous electric motor specially developed for the vehicle. It generates maximum torque from low engine speeds to deliver powerful response and a comfortable ride experience. When the vehicle slows down the regenerative brake system causes the motor to operate as a generator. The electrical energy recovered is stored in the drive battery.

c. Transmission
The i-MiEV uses a lightweight and compact single-speed reduction gear transmission, exploiting the high low-end torque inherent to the electric motor and eliminating the need for complex gear shifting mechanisms as found in internal combustion engine powered vehicles.

d. On-board charger
The i-MiEV comes with a compact, lightweight on-board charger that allows the drive battery to be charged using a domestic 100V/200V AC line.

e. DC/DC converter
The DC/DC converter is used to charge the 12-volt auxiliary battery and power electrical equipment. It is integrated with the on-board charger in a single unit to reduce size and weight.

f. Inverter
The i-MiEV ‘s motor is driven by an alternating current. The inverter converts high-voltage direct current from the drive battery to alternating current and supplies motor with the power required to drive the vehicle.

(2) Combination meter display
The combination meter instrument cluster is comprised of a power meter that presents a visual display of power consumption and energy recovery status, a drive battery residual charge indicator that indicates how much remaining power there is left in the drive battery, and an available range indicator that displays an estimate of how far the vehicle can be driven on the basis of average power consumption over the last few kilometers.

(3) Shift selector
The shift selector provides the three positions described below that allow the driver to choose between maximum fun, maximum economy or maximum regenerative brake bias.
# D-position:
Generates gutsy torque in direct response to accelerator input and allows the driver to enjoy i-MiEV ‘s performance potential to the maximum.
# Eco-position:
Reduces power output and consumption to deliver maximum economy.
# B-position:
Increases the regenerative brake bias. Power output is the same as for D.

(4) Climate control
The i-MiEV ‘s climate control system features air conditioning with an electrically powered compressor and a heating system which circulates warm water heated by an electric heater. The control dial provides six-step manual adjustment of both cooling and heating temperatures. The system reduces power consumption by minimizing occasions when both cooling unit and the heater operate together.

(5) Safety features
a. Drive battery protected by sturdy frame
The high-voltage system, battery pack included, is located inside the body frame and is further protected by a well-crib frame against damage from any direction of impact.

b. Integrated vehicle management system: MiEV OS
The MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System) gathers data and information from all the major EV components to provide integrated management of the i-MiEV ‘s performance. The advanced management system constantly monitors battery status and the energy recovered from the regenerative brakes while regulating output to ensure smooth and powerful acceleration from a full stop. As a result the system optimizes and minimizes energy consumption while delivering road performance that is comfortable, safe and reassuring.

3. Other equipment and trim

(1) Body colors
The range of 8 body finishes includes monotones and two types of 2-tone color schemes.

a. Monotones
Three monotone colors are offered: White Solid, Cool Silver Metallic and Raspberry Red Pearl (factory option).

b. 2-tone schemes (factory option):

# Type A:
The two 2-tone color schemes that have been used to date to highlight the i-MiEV ‘s originality are available: Red Solid / White Solid and Cool Silver Metallic / White Solid.

# Type B:
In addition two new 2-tone color schemes are available.
– “Clean image:” White Pearl / Ocean Blue Metallic and White Pearl / Mint Green.
– “Premium image:” Cool Silver Metallic / Black Mica.

(2) LED headlamps and rear combination lamps
The i-MiEV is the first minicar*10 and the first Mitsubishi Motors model to use LED headlamps, which throw a longer and wider low-beam pattern while also cutting power consumption. The rear combination lamps also use fast-illuminating LED emitters for the tail and stop lamps, making these lamps more instantly visible to following vehicles.

(3) PBS-bamboo fiber Green Plastic tailgate trim
The i-MiEV uses PBS (polybutylene succinate)-bamboo fiber Green Plastic for the tailgate interior trim. The use of PBS-bamboo fiber cuts life-cycle emissions (from extraction of raw materials to final disposal of product) of CO2 by some 10 percent compared with polypropylene.

(4) Mitsubishi Multi-Entertainment System (MMES)
The i-MiEV is available with the Mitsubishi Multi-Entertainment System (with a 7-inch display and SSD navigation) that is built around solid state drive (SSD) technology to offer outstanding power saving and shock resistant properties. MMES is a factory-fitted option. The navigation database can be updated using SD flash cards and the company plans to use this feature to display the location of battery charging stations as they become available.

5. Sales information (for Japanese domestic market)
– Sales target: 1,400 units (fiscal 2009)

– MSRP: JPY 4,599,000 (consumption tax inclusive)*11
–           JPY 4,380,000 (ex-tax) *12

– By: Kap Shah