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USA: Getting a charge out of city driving

PORTLAND, Ore. – Boasting a raft of environmentally friendly features and an extremely distinctive appearance, Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV subcompact is bound to make an impression in a lot of different ways.

By the way, the pronunciation of the name is “eye-meeve”, and the word is an acronym for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV), with the actual car model being the “i.”

The i-MiEV is a plug-in, all-electric vehicle (and not the first of its kind from Mitsubishi, which has a history of EVs going back to the ’70s) that employs an electric motor and rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack as its sole means of propulsion. Recharged by plugging it into a variety of power sources, and its own regenerative capture ability, the car is capable (under ideal conditions) of 155 km on a single charge.

View another article related to a Mitsubishi model.

Portland is perhaps the best city in the US for a vehicle of this type (the city boasts a genuine commitment to green power, and has enough of an electric-car infrastructure that owners have a number of options for places to plug in), and the i-MiEV is definitely a city vehicle, making the best use of its regenerative abilities when there is a lot of braking and downhill coasting.

Putting around town in stop-and-go traffic, and moving the transmission mode selector between the normal drive mode and the higher-efficiency Eco and Brake settings, the small hatchback does everything a straight-up gasoline powered car can do. Better, maybe, as the i-MiEV has the benefit of being able to output its maximum torque (145 lb.-ft.) from the moment the throttle is pressed, making it very quick off the line.

The weight distribution within the car keeps the center of gravity low and the ride tight and responsive, with the lithium-ion battery pack installed under the floor and the motor over the rear wheels. It’s a rear-wheel drive vehicle, which makes for a very small turning circle, and the overall small size results in a highly manoeuvrable car.
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