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First drive: Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car at Dubai Autodrome


Late last year, on the sidelines of the Mitsubishi ASX crossover launch event at the Dubai Autodrome, Mitsubishi had an egg on four wheels parked outside the halls, plugged into the wall like a blender. We quickly recognised that to be the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Japanese firm’s first commercially-available electric car.

The quirky-named Mitsubishi i started life as a petrol-powered “kei car” sold only in Japan, and later it formed the basis for this electric version, dubbed the i-MiEV. It uses a conventional array of batteries, motor and inverter to send power to the rear wheels. The production version debuted in 2009 with a single permanent-magnet synchronous motor mounted on the rear axle with a power output of 47 kW, or 63 hp and 180 Nm of torque. The vehicle uses a single-speed reduction gear transmission and has a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that consists of 88 cells.

The all-electric range is between 120 km and 160 km, with a top speed of 130 kph. Recharging is estimated to take 7 hours from a 220-volt power supply and as little as 30 minutes from a quick-charging station if available.

Mitsubishi had a couple of white Japanese-spec cars in the UAE for hot-weather testing. And Mitsubishi made them available for us to do a couple of laps in at the track.

In a hilarious bit, our photographer wanted to drive first and he ran straight for the left-hand-side door while I resigned myself to being a passenger and went to the right-side door. When we sat inside, the steering wheel was in front of me instead. Indeed, “Japanese-spec” meant right-hand-drive cars.
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