Nearly identical to the Mitsubishi iMiEV Concept introduced in 2007 at the Tokyo Auto Show, the production iMiEV has been spotted road testing in Japan and is rumored to be prepping for a U.S. introduction in 2009. Ambitiously, Mitsubishi publicly expects the iMiEV Micro-Electric car to average 124 miles off a single charge, and feature a top speed of 112 mph. Although that seems almost impossibly ambitious [especially in light of the slightly disappointing production Chevy Volt reveal], thanks to their partnership with battery manufacturer GS Yuasa Corporation, Mitsubishi is confident their technology is ready for mass production.
So what does the iMiEV have that the Volt doesn’t? Primarily: little to no press time. With no pressure and subject to only minimal public scrutiny, Mitsubishi has been slowly and steadily developing it’s technology over the course of several years. With the benefit of time on their side, they haven’t been forced to rush ahead of schedule and, despite what skeptics might say, could very well be responsible for engineering the stronger, faster, lithium ion battery every one has been waiting for.
According to the technical specifications outlined by Mitsubishi engineers, the iMiEV is powered by three permanent magnetic synchronous motors; two of which are placed in each front wheel, with the third motor delivering power to the rear wheels. The lithium-ion battery is placed at the lowest area underneath the floor, which provides for better stability and a more spacious interior. A photovoltaic generator is housed on the roof, and the air conditioning system is aided dually by a power-generating fan inside the front grill and heat-absorbing windows. Additionally, the iMiEV’s interior is constructed mostly of Mitsubishi’s plant-base resin material, Green Plastic. No word yet on official pricing, though hopefully the Mitsubishi iMiEV doesn’t run into the same cost-of-production/retail price problems the Chevy Volt has.