2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Too Little Too Late
July 23, 2012
Many editors are reluctant to take this little EV home because, with a range of about 63 miles, they can't make it there and back without charging. And charging at 110 volts, as Dan Edmunds documented in his post, takes way too long. Since I own a 2012 Nissan Leaf, I have 240 volt charging at my house, so that wasn't a problem for me. Unfortunately, with the charging port in the right rear, that means I have to back into my garage from a tight turn in the alley.
But that was the least of the problems.
Let me say right up front that I wanted to like this car because I believe that EVs will have an important place in our transportation landscape. But the i MiEV actually does electric cars a disservice. Anyone driving it will be turned off and believe all the bad things that The Man says about electric cars.
So much has been written about this car that I don't want to repeat it all. A few things that bothered me were the price ($31,125 before adding options) poor driving position, the barebones interface, the lack of a charging status light and the jumpy, short wheel base feel of the car. There is also surprisingly little rear storage space.
I did like the responsiveness of the electric power train with immediate torque at most speeds. It has a great turning radius and easily fits in tight parking spaces. The range might actually prove to be better than advertised since I drove 32 miles in eco mode and used only about 18 miles of range. And, finally, my wife thought it looked cute.
Sadly, the i MiEV, together with its awkward name, came too late to the party. And with the Nissan Leaf widely available, and Honda, Ford and Tesla releasing new EVs into the market place, the forecast is not good for this odd little vehicle.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @1,578 miles