Mitsubishi i-MiEV: First Look

  • Competes with: 2011 Nissan Leaf 
  • Looks like: A Tata Nano  
  • Drivetrain: 63-hp, permanent magnet synchronous motor with a single-speed reduction gear transmission 
  • Hits dealerships: Fall 2011 

As Mitsubishi prepares for the launch of its electric i-MiEV in America, the automaker finally unveiled some photos of the U.S. version. The only major difference between the U.S. and Japanese electric vehicle is the added safety features.

The American i-MiEV features new front and rear bumpers that meet federal safety standards. Two front and four rear reflectors are also new.

Bolstered fender flares and new wheel designs give the i-MiEV a larger appearance to help persuade “bigger-is-better” American car buyers into the driver’s seat. Dual-stage air bags, which can control deployment force, a tire pressure monitoring system and electronic stability control also come standard to meet federal mandates.

Overall, the tacked-on features (larger wheels and bumpers) add 11 inches to the EV’s length and 4 inches in width and to the track. Overall, the four-door i-MiEV is about the same length and width as the two-door Mini Cooper, but the height of a Honda CR-V. None of these aesthetic updates will add any room to the interior, though we found the interior room on the Japanese model to be acceptable during our testing.

The i-MiEV features a 63-horsepower electric motor and a 330-volt lithium-ion battery system. The car has a mid-engine design, with the power driving the rear wheels. Overall, electric range should come in at 80 to 100 miles per charge. For additional information on the i-MiEV’s content and how it drives, check out our reviews and video below.

We’ll have more information, photos and first-hand impressions of the U.S.-spec i-MiEV when it’s unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 17. The model is expected to go on sale in fall 2011.

Bring It Home, Plug It In: Mitsubishi i MiEV
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Part I: Driving
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Part II: Coming Up Short Video: Mitsubishi i-MiEV

More From