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Review: The 2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is least-expensive all-electric car sold in America

The oddly named Mitsubishi i—also known as the i-MiEV—is probably unknown to most Americans. Even regular gas-engine models from this automaker aren’t given much promotion.

The i four-door hatchback was introduced as a 2012 model and was offered only in a few U.S. markets—Hawaii and on the West Coast. The U.S. version is wider to better suit American occupants, and is the lowest-cost all-electric car sold here.

The i has served tens of thousands of drivers throughout the world, including many motorists in Japan. Mitsubishi says it has had four decades of experience designing and developing 100 percent battery powered vehicles.

The 2013 i is a carryover model from 2012. I expected it to be essentially an in-town car with marginal highway performance, but that wasn’t the case. While lively in town, it easily cruised at 65 mph and had decent 65-75 passing times on freeways and highways.

There are three drive modes: Performance, Efficiency and Regenerative Braking. Top speed is 81 mph.

The small i uses a lithium-ion battery, guaranteed for eight years or 100,000 miles. The i has a rear-mounted motor and rear-drive, which accounts for its 45/55 front/rear weight distribution.



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