2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Long Term Road Test - Miscellaneous

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Long Term Road Test

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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: 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: 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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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Pikes Peak Results

August 14, 2012


Remember when I told you that Mitsubishi was running two types of i MiEV in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and you all LOL'd.

Well, the Mitsubishi i MiEV Evolution finished in 2nd place in the electric category. The course was 12.42 miles long with 156 corners. Driver Hiroshi Masuoka finished with a lap time of 10 minutes, 30.850 seconds which put him 8th overall out of the 170 vehicles participating.

The regular production i MiEV finished 6th in the electric vehicle category as driven by off-road racer Beccy Gordon. Here's what she had to say:

"The Mitsubishi i MiEV was awesome. It produced a lot more power – especially torque – than I had expected. The handling was also very good because so much of the car's weight – the electric motor and lithium-ion batteries – sit so low in the chassis. This allowed me to carry much more speed into the corners than I expected, and the torque from the electric motor helps to propel the car out of the corners. The car is really peppy. Considering my car was 100% stock, I can definitely see all-electric cars succeeding in motorsports."

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Ready for Pikes Peak Hill Cimb

August 07, 2012


Not our long-termer, of course. Wouldn't that be a hoot. But there will be two i-MiEVs making the climb.

A Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution prototype was built specifically for the Pikes Peak race course, which is more than 12 miles long and features 156 corners.

The i-MiEV Evo has the same electric motor and batteries as the production model i-MiEV but according to Mitsubishi features a "radically sculpted carbon-fiber body, a tube-frame chassis, a unique tri-motor configuration and an advanced form of Mitsubishi All-Wheel Control (AWC) all-wheel drive."

The i-MiEV Evo will be driven by Japanese rally racer Hiroshi Masuoka.

A regular production model i-MiEV, just like ours but modified for racing and safety, will also make the run. It has a few aerodynamic adjustments and a roll cage, but it rides on the same tires as the regular i-MiEV. It will be piloted by off-road racer Beccy Gordon.

Here are some pictures:

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Semi-Evil Twin?

July 26, 2012

mitsu i turbo.JPG

The Mitsubishi i is what as known as a "Kei" car in Japan. That basically means a tiny car with a tiny engine (which can't exceed 660cc in displacement). Available in other parts of the world since its introduction some six years ago with a 660cc turbocharged engine, the micro Mitsu in that form would seem to be a hoot. At least that's what this British auto journo thought back when it debuted. You know, the whole driving a slow car fast being more fun than the inverse deal.

A much lower price tag, a perky (around town, anyway) turbocharged gas engine and none of that annoying range anxiety might be enough to change all the negative opinions of the Mitsu i. Then again, even "murdered out", it would still look like a clown car...

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 1,604 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Too Little Too Late

July 23, 2012

Mitsu EV.jpg 

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

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: A New Place to Get Charged

July 19, 2012

mitsubishi i-miev cs2.jpg
The Whole Foods down the street from the Edmunds hive recently unveiled a couple of spanking-new Blink charging stations. Now the i MiEV can get a fill-up while I peruse overpriced organic produce and gluten-free desserts.

The only surprising thing about all this is that it took Whole Foods this long to offer this amenity. This is Santa Monica, after all -- a city in which green isn't a color, it's a way of life.

Have there been any new charging stations launched in your neck of the woods?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: About That Remote

July 11, 2012


Yesterday's 16.5-hour charging vigil (my 15-hour estimate was way off) was aided somewhat by the remote control that came with our 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. With it I was able to check the charging status from inside the house.

As Mark Takahashi said some miles ago it does more than that. I could have programmed a time-delay to wait for cheaper overnight rates. I could have fired up the A/C from inside the house to pre-cool the interior. And if I had a faster 240V charge station at home I might have actually done those things. 

For me that little plug icon was the key feature. As long as it was visible I knew the battery wasn't full. You'd think the battery icon below would do the job, too, but it maxes out at something like 80% full. Last time I checked 80% wasn't equal to 100%, and as if to hammer that point home the i MiEV spent another 5 hours on the charger after that third bar came on. Useless; this isn't a camera.

And so the disappearance of the plug icon was the only sure sign that the battery was absolutely full, that charging was well and truly finished. An actual percent-full readout would have been significantly more useful.

And yeah, that is a rubber band. Mike Schmidt pulled this contraption out of circulation weeks ago after the snap-together plastic case cracked at the seam. How about some screws? Metal would be nice. We've barely driven the i MiEV and we've already proven that there's no way the remote could survive 4 years of swinging around at the end of a keychain, getting lighty tossed onto a nightstand or banging around inside a purse.

A smartphone app would have been far better on so many levels. 

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,446 miles  

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Crash Test Results Not As Good As Leaf and Volt

June 27, 2012


Crash test results are in for the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. According to safercar.gov, the consumer website of the NHTSA, the i MiEV earned an overall safety rating of 4 out of 5 stars. The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt has earned 5 out of 5 stars.

In frontal crash tests, the i MiEV earned 4 of 5 stars. In side crash tests, it earned 3 of 5 and in rollover test 4 of 5.

During the side barrier tests of the Mitsu, an interior door panel struck the torso of the rear passenger dummy, earning the rear seating area only 2 of 5 stars.

Here's a chart to compare the cars:


Mitsubishi i MiEV

Nissan Leaf

Chevrolet Volt

Overall Rating

4 of 5 stars

5 of 5 stars

5 of 5 stars

Frontal Crash

4 of 5 stars

4 of 5 stars

4 of 5 stars

Side Crash

3 of 5 stars

5 of 5 stars

5 of 5 stars


4 of 5 stars

4 of 5 stars

5 of 5 stars

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Geographic Desirability

June 14, 2012


I've lived in the city in an apartment for years. Save for frequent visits to friends, who are widely scattered around greater Los Angeles, an electric vehicle could totally work for me -- at least for 4-5 days out of the week.

And apart from its awkward seating position, I enjoy driving our long-term Mitsubishi i MiEV more than the Mini E and Nissan Leaf. The Mitsu's a lot lighter (2,400-2,500 pounds) and that makes it fun around corners. You can call it a glorified golf cart, but that's not an accurate description. It's a real car and the gasoline version has been on sale in Japan for years. It was among the first of the fuel-miser kei cars that offered halfway decent ride and handling. If the Smart ForTwo offered this kind of packaging, with four usable seats, it would have been a lot bigger success in the U.S. up until now.

But back to EVs. I live in the city. An EV should be right up my alley. But I live in an old apartment building (late 1940s) and have no place to plug one in -- yeah, I can charge at work or at various spots around Santa Monica, but when you get home late at night, all you want is the convenience of knowing your car will be ready to go in the morning.

And for that reason, my impending move 30 miles away to a single-family home with a real garage could actually make the i MiEV a more realistic proposition -- only because I'll now have an outlet to plug the car in once I return home.

I suppose you could argue that right now single-family homeowners (and home renters) are the true target audience of EVs, whereas city people in apartments are supposed to use public transportation. But this is Southern California, and there's a strong, strong pull to have your own space, your own set of wheels. EV proponents should be looking for ways to work with landlords and tenants living in older apartment/housing stock -- if you could upgrade the wiring and install more external outlets in these communities (and somehow do it affordably), cars like the i MiEV could be more viable.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 1,188 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Hey! I'm Driving Here!

June 01, 2012

mitsubishiimiev 007.jpg
Since electric cars are oh-so stealthy, I found that it's important to have an authoritative horn in order to let unsuspecting pedestrians and distracted drivers know you're there when they clearly don't see/hear you. This is especially true while in our 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, whose miniature dimensions seem to render it invisible to L.A. drivers. Just coming in to the office today, I've had three separate incidents of people switching over into my lane while I'm still in it.

The drivers' reactions to the Mitsu's horn usually unfold in the following ways:
1) "Who's honking?"
2) Check their mirror.
3) Straddle the line to see if I'm serious.
4) Return to their lane reluctantly.

In addition to having a serious horn, I also have to give the MiEV props for its responsive brakes. Pfew!

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Windows Down

May 31, 2012

mitsubishi i-miev win.jpg

Today the temperature in Los Angeles reached 84 degrees. Not sweltering, but hot enough so that things would probably get a bit sticky if you were driving with the windows up and no AC.

I ran an errand in the i MiEV today. Around town, it was fine to keep the windows rolled down, but the errand also involved some freeway travel, and the wind noise can make open windows a pain in this situation. Still, I kept the windows down, since using the AC has a huge impact on the Mitsu's range.

Any electric-car owners out there? How hot does it have to get for you to bite the bullet and clobber your range by using the AC?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 1,125 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: New Local Dealer

May 29, 2012

mitsu_i_banner.jpg What do you think? Should we take our i there for servrice?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Ready for What?

May 28, 2012


This. This thing. This light. The one that says "ready" bugs me all the time I'm driving our 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Because electric cars don't have that same start-up and make noise thing that real cars do, the i-MiEV says "ready" once you've started it. Unfortunately, it doesn't turn on when you're driving. Not at 6 mph, not at 60mph. It just stays on saying "Ready" no matter what you're doing. The rest of the car knows we're ready; we're driving.

Would it have been that hard to turn it off once the vehicle was in motion?

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: I am Honored to Accept Your Waste

May 25, 2012


I wasn't quite sure what to make of this thing in the middle of the MiEV's back seat. The first thing to pop into my mind was, "Oh god, please tell me that isn't some weird Japanese toilet-related device." I can just see it, there's a strange electronic chime followed by a pleasant voice that says, "Ready to polish bottom for happy joyous time." Then gentle fountains of warm water appear as Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata begins to softly play.

Besides that disturbing scenario that ran through my twisted little brain, I was also a bit confused by the object itself. From one angle, it looks like a handle with an "i" embossed in it. From another, it looks like some freaky square-headed six-eyed creature smiling at you with an exclamation point in its mouth.

Well, everybody can just relax. It's just a handle to access the tire inflator. Whew.
Seriously, though, what a weird place to put it and even stranger way to access it. I fear that more oddities like this have yet to be discovered.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 1,085 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-Miev: Natural Habitat

May 25, 2012

pcf.jpg This is why, even though our Mustang GT was available -- and this from a guy whose personal car is a Mustang Cobra -- I took the electric Mitsu home last night. The reality is that this is what driving in L.A. is like pretty much five out of seven days, and 412 horsepower isn't going to get you home any quicker. Taking anywhere from 35-50" to go six miles (and that's by avoiding the 10 trapped-way) is annoying enough; sitting there wasting a finite resource and adding to the air pollution here just makes it worse.  

We've already bashed the i-Miev for its clown car looks and too-high price. But speaking in terms of just driving an electric car, it's fine. Step-off (acceleration from a stop) is smooth and makes more sense for driving in heavy traffic than say the neck-snapping (but admittedly fun) nature of the Mini E we had some time ago. Of course it's quiet, the ride over crappy city streets is decent and the seats are comfortable enough, even if they look like they came out of a Yugo. 

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 1,085 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: 1,000 Miles!

May 22, 2012

Milestone_02.jpg iMiev milestone 1.jpg
Yes, yes, this is a little early. Traditionally we do our Milestone posts on the Big Factors-of-5: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25,000 miles for our year-long, 20,000 mile tests. The thing is, we're not going to hit 20,000 miles in our 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. At the end of our six-month test with the 2011 Nissan Leaf our final odometer reading was just about 3,500. Our Mini E turns in just under 8,000 in a full year.

We've had our i-MiEV for nearly six weeks and we've just cracked the 1,000-mile mark. It took us about nine weeks to hit that in our Leaf and about 8 in the Mini E. Does that mean we like this one more or just that we're more familiar with the ins-and-outs of an EV this time around. Either way, the Mini E is the mileage benchmark to beat and so far, I think we've got it.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor Inside Line @ 1,000 Miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: We Should Have Held Out for the Evo

May 18, 2012


Mitsubishi released the first official photo of its i-MiEV Evolution electric racecar which will participate in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on July 8. A stock version of the i-MiEV will also be running.

The single-seat racer i-MiEV Evo has a closed cockpit, all-wheel drive and a tube-frame chassis with a carbon fiber cowl.

Our long-termer i-MiEV does not.

Engineers from Mitsubishi Motors will be analyzing data from the car to further develop technology for its future EVs.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Wipers in Action

May 18, 2012

imiev wipers.jpg

"greenpony says: Can I see a video of those wipers in action?"


The clunks you hear are, mostly, me putting the wipers into the various modes: fast, normal, intermittent.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line @ 985 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Um, It's Easy to Park

May 16, 2012


Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief


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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: A Look Underneath

May 14, 2012


Here's a look at the underbits of our long-term 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV courtesy of our 2-post Rotary Lift. That is all.

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2012 Mitsubishi i-Miev: Mini-Me?

May 12, 2012

imiev twin.jpg

The i-MiEV happens upon its kid playing in the street.  

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 925 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Laughed At

May 05, 2012

It happened just seconds before this shot.

Scott Jacobs was shooting the i MiEV for the Long Term Introduction and I was driving. I was waiting in a private lot when a Toyota Prius full of teen boys pulled up perpendicular to me not five feet from my windshield. All five of them looked. And then one pointed. And then he laughed. And then they all laughed.

I've got thick skin-- I do write on the internet for a living -- I can take it. But when teenagers in a Prius laugh at you, it stings just a little. At least I was being more energy efficient?

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line @ 200(ish) miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Prime Condition, a Real Bargain

May 04, 2012


We have brought balance to the Universe and it's been fun.

Turning our long-term i MiEV into an astromech droid is definitely my favorite chapter in this saga. And let's not forget the projected hologram of R2-Pac. This is the droid you've been looking for.

Mark Takahasith, Automotive Nerfherder @ 864 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Grace Jones

May 02, 2012

 Grace Jones iMiev.jpg

An excerpt from Roger Moore's autobiography "My Word is My Bond":

"Christopher Walken was cast as the villain Zorin; the first Oscar-winning actor to date to play in an 007 adventure. Chris had a bit of a reputation as being 'difficult.' I never found him so ... Then there was singer Grace Jones, who was cast as May-Day. I've always said if you've nothing nice to say about someone, then you should say nothing. So I'll say nothing."

As I was driving our Mitsubishi i MiEV home last night, I couldn't help but think of Grace Jones. I think I'll take a cue from Sir Roger ...

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 801 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: No Graphs, No Bushes

April 27, 2012

imiev gauges.jpg

I finally drove the Mitsubish i MiEV and wasn't sure what to expect as far as the gauges that show range and whether I'm driving efficiently or not . Would there be a bar graph? A pie chart? Perhaps a bush (like the Fusion hybrid) that grows leaves the more gingerly I tread on the gas...I mean electric pedal? 

To my relief this electric car didn't give me the old razzle dazzle -- I prefer my instruments easy to read at a glance and devoid of gimmickry. So the simple setup in the Mitsu suits me fine.

There's a needle whose movement indicates whether you're guzzling electricity, driving conservatively or sending  juice (via regenerative braking) back to the battery pack. As you've likely guessed, if you want to maximize your range you want to keep the needle in the green. "Fuel" level is shown on the left along with drive selection while the right hand gauge toggles between remaining range, trip mileage, total mileage, next service mileage and outside temperature. 

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 746 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Did I Hurt It?

April 25, 2012

Mitsubishiimiev 004.jpg
After driving our 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV a few times, I've come to the conclusion that it's not meant for city life but rather for putting around marble-smooth streets within the confines of an estate.

As it is, in the city, driving over road imperfections, the car shudders and rattles. Not to say it normally does that on perfect roads. But on well-traveled off-ramp I've driven on with many of our other long-termers, the i MiEV made it sound like I plowed its front wheel straight into a huge pothole. Frightened I broke our new car, I pulled over to inspect the tires and the front end to make sure there was no damage. I've actually ended up doing this a number of times since, after driving it carefully on roads with the same seemingly minor imperfections that previous cars have handled more quietly. But fortunately there was no damage. But what's its deal?

I can't wait for Dan Edmunds to do a suspension walkaround on this thing.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Competitive Parking

April 20, 2012


Going to the gorcery store can be a competitive sport here on the west side of Los Angeles. My secret weapon is the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Fortunately, it is compact in even the most compact of parking spaces.

Watch this viral video by FogandSmogFilms after the jump to catch a glimpse of the action. 

David Landsness, Video Director @ 671 miles

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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Pod

April 18, 2012



Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief


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2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: The Remote

April 13, 2012


Our new electric MiEV comes with a remote system that can monitor the charge of the battery, set charge times (to capitalize on off-peak rates) and pre-activate the climate control. I think it's a cool idea, but a remote?

That little remote looks like a tiny little cell phone from the late 1990s. Why the 90s? Because it has an antenna. But I digress.

If it were up to me (and really, I should be in charge of everything), I would have skipped the remote and developed a smartphone app instead. You know, like the one the Chevy Volt has. My reasoning is threefold: a) you don't have to carry around that remote, b) it can be updated easily and c) it can be graphically pleasing. Since I'm assuming that electric car owners are early adopters at this stage, there's a fair chance that they already own smartphones .

This all relates to one of my love of streamlining. There was a time when I was carrying a phone, Palm Pilot and iPod. I was thrilled when I combined the phone and Palm Pilot with a Treo. Imagine my joy when the iPhone came out. Perhaps this is why I am so averse to adding even one more gadget.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 644 miles

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Past Long-Term Road Tests