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USA: Test driving the Mitsubishi i electric car

On Monday I was handed the keys to a Mitsubishi i electric vehicle to try out for the day. This four-passenger vehicle is not a plug-in hybrid, but a true electric car. The price is very attractive: it starts at $21,625 after a federal tax credit of $7,500.

I drove the Mitsubishi i in the hills, in city streets, and on the freeway. It had no problem accelerating up to 70 miles an hour (it has a rated top speed of 80 miles an hour, but I didn’t want to get a speeding ticket). I tried it out in the three driving modes it offers: standard, economy, and regenerative braking mode. Standard, as you might expect, is the zippiest. Economy mode is slightly anemic, but not as sluggish as I thought it might be. I did not like the regenerative braking mode, because as soon as I lifted my foot from the pedal, the brakes would kick in and the car would slow down in a way that would certainly end up making me and my passengers feel sick after a while. (The regenerative braking happens in the other 2 modes as well, but the effect is more subtle.)


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