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Nuts & Bolts: 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Bottom line: The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV makes perfect sense as a local commuter. It, at least, ought to see more service in “green” municipal fleets. That also goes for models such as the Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius.

Ride, acceleration and handling: The i-MiEV gets good marks in all three. The ride can be electronically adjusted to extend driving range. Selecting “D” gives you more fun-to-drive. But it also consumes more battery power.

Head-turning quotient: The i-MiEV looks like something out of a cartoon comic book — a high-roof egg of a car evocative of giggles until you get to know it.

Body style/layout: The i-MiEV is a subcompact, rear-wheel-drive, all-electric car with four side doors and a rear hatch.

Power system: A 240-watt lithium-ion battery pack feeds an alternating-current, 49-kilowatt synchronous permanent magnetic motor to drive the rear wheels. Power is transmitted through a single-speed, fixed reduction gear. The electric motor’s maximum gasoline-power equivalent is 66 horsepower and 145 foot-pounds of torque.
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