2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Quick Charger
October 5, 2012
The guys at Mitsubishi were telling us that they had set up a station to recharge i MiEVs, so we rushed right down there.
Actually "rushed" might not be the right term, since we drove down to Mitsubishi HQ at 60 mph, which Mitsubishi product engineer Dave Wong tells us is the sweet spot for freeway cruising -- a speed that gets you there, yet doesn't suck more juice out of your battery than you expect.
Life is surprisingly different over there in the slow lane. First of all, 60 mph is just fine, and you don't need to worry about getting run down from behind, even in Los Angeles. There are trucks, though not as many as you'd think. There are interesting cars of the past, though not as many as you might think. And the standard of driving and the relative level of civility might be a little higher than in the left lanes (turn signals are occasionally used while maneuvering, for example). Of course, the wobblers in the right lane are indeed frequently terrifying.
This Level 3 Eaton DC quick-charger is rated at 50 kW, so you get a significantly faster charging experience than you do with the 3.3 kW charger than an EV like the Mitsubishi i MiEV or Nissan Leaf carries on board. (6.6 kW chargers are just entering the EV market with cars like the Ford Focus EV.) Indeed it turns out that the charger itself is the real limiting factor in the speed of recharging process, not the capacity of the EV battery.
In any case, we showed up at Mitsubishi with about a 50 percent charge of the iMiEV's battery after the 37 mile trip from Santa Monica. We plugged into the Eaton DC and then left for lunch, and I'll bet the charging was completed before we ever got to that Peruvian place in nearby Buena Park.
L3 DCQCs like this one will start showing up in public places as EVs become more common. As they do, it'll be possible to extend the useful driving range of an EV, since you'll be able to power up on the go. Maybe you'll even start lunching at Peruvian restaurants.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com