2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Long Term Road Test - New Updates

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Long Term Road Test

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Wrap-Up

October 19, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

We say farewell to the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV after six months in our fleet. It's one of the more affordable electric cars on the road, although I've never seen one in the wild.

Its first service interval is set for the one-year mark. Because we only kept it for six months we didn't need to service it nor did we have any problems with it.

You can read the full wrap-up of the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV on Edmunds.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Quick Charger

October 5, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

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 

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: August and September Electricty Use Update

October 3, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Our 2012 Mitsubishi i MiEV continues to be used by editors that live fairly close to the office and its 240V SAE charge station. The location of our charge equipment isn't all that unrealistic because most EV owners only have access to one 240V charger. Our commute is bass ackwards, is all, with the charging equipment on the work end instead of the home end.  

Here is how things stand with August and September added in.

2012 Mitsubishi i MiEV





Electricity (kWh/100 mi)





     Observed Range (miles)





Projected Range (miles)

(Observed range + DTE)




Because that's only 1,980 miles of driving. Clearly, no one is lining up to take this one home. 

The reluctance that certain editors have to driving this car boils down to a couple of issues: the utter bare bones-edness of the car itself and fear of its short range. 62 miles isn't exactly stellar and range anxiety kicks in big time as you approach 50 miles.

Sure, it can be topped up at home on 120V, but as I've said before the i MiEV is one slow charging EV. But that was speculative, based on manufacturer estimates. Since then I've timed it using the same 120V outlet at my house.

The new 2012 Honda Fit EV added 1.25 kWh to its battery for every hour it was plugged in. Factoring in its 29 kWh/100 EPA consumption rate we can say it charges at 4.3 miles per hour, as in miles of driving per hour of charging. Use our observed 24.8 kWh/100 consumption figure instead and the effective charge rate climbs to 5.0 miles per hour.

Similarly, the Focus Electric added 1.30 kWh to its battery during each hour on the plug. Its EPA rating of 32 kWh/100 miles translates that to 4.1 miles per hour of charging. In actuality it used only 28.4 kWh/100 miles during its time with us, so our actual 120V charge rate was 4.6 added battery miles per hour.

And the i MiEV? It can only add 0.75 kWh to its battery every hour it's plugged in. With an EPA consumption rating of 30 kWh/100 miles, the nominal charge rate is just 2.5 miles per hour. But as you see above we've averaged 28.1 kWh/100 miles, which bumps the observed charge rate to 2.7 miles per hour.

It all boils down to 5.0 and 4.6 compared to 2.7 battery miles per charging hour.

Meager range after you've filled at the preferred 240V charging station is one thing, but the fact that 120V top-ups take forever is something else entirely. I can't refill the battery overnight here at my place and still make it to back to the work charge station on time is another. Those that do their primary charging at home and top up with 120V at work or wherever they go during the day face the same issue in reverse. Slow top-up charging makes a small radius of operation that much smaller.

Even though it is not often discussed, charging speed, be it 240V primary charging or 120V top up charging, is an EV attribute that, to me, stands on equal footing with the range itself.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,980 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Shopping

September 27, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Have you ever gone to the market with a modest shopping list and come out with bags and bags of stuff? I do that all the time and usually don't think anything of it. Until I came out to the parking lot and remembered I was driving a tiny electric car.

But unlike the Mini E experiment, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV actually has quite a bit of cargo capacity. With the second row in place, there is room for four or five supermarket shopping bags. Drop the second row and you get more than 50 cubic feet.

I was too lazy to remove the headrests so that the second row would have room to lie flat. So I put my extra bags on the back seat. Worked perfectly.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Got a Secret

September 26, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

I like to use cupholders for storage for my phone, my access cards, some change, etc.

Our Mitsubishi i-MiEV has one cupholder at the back of the center console which I don't find very convenient. It also has some storage under the center stack which is out of reach while you are driving.

But then I noticed that on each side of the dash, there is a flip-down cupholder. It's squarish in shape and although I don't usually have a cup of anything, it held my garage door opener and assorted stuff.

It's not exactly a secret compartment but I admit I never noticed them before.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Gash

September 25, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

I found this gash on the back of our Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Who could be so cruel to a tiny electric car? It's like punching a teddy bear.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Thumbs Up?

September 25, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

When I left the office last Friday ready to start my staycation, I hopped on the semi-busy freeway. It was actually moving a little and a pickup truck with five guys in it pulled up next to me and honked until I looked over. Then they gave me a thumbs up for the car.

That only happens when we drive something exciting like the Nissan GT-R. I was a little surprised because despite the i-MiEV's peculiar looks, it usually doesn't get much attention from other commuters.

But then I went to dinner at a local restaurant where the people know where I work. They always come out in the parking lot to see what I am driving. One of the guys didn't like its looks or interior materials. But the restaurant owner who is a woman in her seventies thought it was cute and very practical for her errands around town.

As I drove around last week, keeping to my own neighborhood, I noticed seniors looking at the i-MiEV. Perhaps it has found its audience, although I haven't seen any on the road. Have you?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: National Plug In Day

September 23, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Today is National Plug In Day. Sponsored by Plug In America, Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association, there are more than 50 events happening around the U.S celebrating plug-in vehicles.

I'm celebrating by plugging in our Mitsubishi i-MiEV at home on a beautiful Sunday morning while I enjoy my coffee in the backyard.

I've been driving the i-MiEV all week on my staycation. It's been perfect for trips to the beach and local shops and restaurants. I love not going to a gas station to fill up.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Got It for a Week

September 14, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

I'll be on staycation next week and I'm taking the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV with me.

I like driving electric cars because of the feeling of instant torque. But we'll see if its limited range and slow at-home charging capability become a problem for me.

Let me know if there is anything specific you want me to test while I'm away.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: No Honor Among Green Thieves

August 30, 2012

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Sharp eyed commuters will immediately notice something missing here: the side carpool stickers. I took the little EV recently and jumped in assuming that it had carpool stickers. But once on the freeway, I had an uneasy feeling. As I was unplugging the charge cord, I hadn't taken time to verify that the stickers were in place. In stop and go traffic, I tried to see the reflection of the stickers in the shiny car next to me. No go. Instead, I slogged through traffic and waited until I got home to discover the horrible truth.

Apparently someone peeled off the two side stickers leaving only the one on the rear bumper.  So keep your eyes open for a Silverado in the carpool lanes with our stickers.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 1,770 miles

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