May and June Fuel Economy Update - 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Long-Term Road Test

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Long Term Road Test

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: May and June Fuel Economy Update

July 03, 2012

2012_mitsubishi_i-miev_1600_f34_cord_RM.jpg  

A funny thing happened when I was researching my story on the 2013 Honda Fit EV: I discovered that our 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV also uses Toshiba's advanced SCiB Lithium-Ion battery cells, the ones with the Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) anodes that charge and discharge more quickly.

In the Fit EV the LTO batteries are part of the recipe that allows the use of 6.6 kilowatt charging circuitry that can draw 240V power at 32 amps and charge its 20 kWh battery in about three hours. The Leaf takes over twice as long because its charger only operates a 3.3 kilowatts.

But despite its trick LTO batteries, our i MiEV somehow manages to charge at a lower rate than even the Leaf. I have not yet confirmed why, but the 7-hour charge time suggests that Mitsubishi makes do with a 3.3 kilowatt on-board charging circuit, maybe less.

July 5 UPDATE: I have confirmed that the i MiEV does use a 3.3 kilowatt charger. I have also confirmend that the i MiEV does have Toshiba LTO batteries -- in Japan. Mitsubishi USA thinks the US model might NOT have the Toshiba batteries, though. Instead the US model may use the older Yuasa non-LTO Lithium-Ion batteries, but they are confirming this with Japan.

Mitsubishi seems to have put all their eggs into the 480V quick-charge basket, which can restore the battery to 80% in just 30 minutes using a commercial grade Level 3 charger--if you can find one.

The Fit EV doesn't suppoert Level 3 charging, but until those become commonplace I like Honda's approach because 240V Level 2 chargers are what EV users will install at home.

Vehicle

Battery

(kWh)

Time

(240/120V)

Range

(miles)

Consumption(kWh/100)

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

16

7 / 22.5

62

30

2011 Nissan Leaf

24

7 / 21

73

34

2013 Honda Fit EV

20

3 / 15

82

29

And though it's true the i MiEV consumes far less electricity over a given distance than the Leaf, it manages to trail behind the Fit EV in this regard even though it weighs 673 pounds less than the Honda.

In addition to any battery differences that may exist, this may ironically boil down to the Fit EV's substantially more powerful electric motor, which at 92 kW is almost twice as stout as the 49 kW unit found in the i MiEV. This works to the Fit's advantage because EV's electric motor is also the generator that vacuums up kinetic energy during periods of downhill coasting and braking, and on that score the Fit EV is better equipped to recover and recycle braking energy while on the move than the i MiEV.

But this is supposed to be about consumption. How did our i MiEV do over the last 8 weeks?

 

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Best

Worst

Average

EPA

Electricity (kWh/100 mi)

22.0

36.5

29.2

30

     Observed Range (miles)

49.8

 

 

62

2011 Nissan Leaf

Best

Worst

Average

EPA

Electricity (kWh/100 mi)

22.0

53.8

33.7

34

     Observed Range (miles)

76.7

 

 

73

 

With 1271 miles of data, our average consumption has improved from 29.2 kW/100 miles to 27.8. That's a great improvement, but it's also distorted somewhat by the reluctant attitude certain long-distance editors have towards driving the Mitsubishi home.

Short range combined with slow 120V charging times (nobody has cracked open their wallet a sprung for a 240V home charger just yet) make it hard for half the staff to even consider it. It's not too hard to deal with one characteristic or the other, but both in the same car is a real challenge.

I'm sure I could make it home, for example, but with a 22.5-hour 120V recharge time I'd have to know I wasn't going in to the office the next day (and didn't have any errands to run, either) in order to make sure I'd have a full charge for the next morning's commute. A dedicated 240V charger at home would do the job easily overnight, but I don't have one.

And so our MiEV is being driven primarily by staffers that live really close, hence the low total mileage accumulation, very good city-dominated consumption and mediocre "best" range.

You can bet I'll make arrangements to get in and drive it home before too long. It's still early days. And I'll coax some others with longer drives to give it a whirl, too.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,271 miles 

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