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Canada: Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV sure to make waves


Considering the push for more electric cars, drivers would be wise to consider the affordable i-MiEV. Bob McHugh/For The Province
Photograph by: Rick Radell

Electric vehicles have been in the news lately, as a result of auto shows and government announcements, and coincidentally I had the Mitsubishi i-MiEV for a few days last week, my first take-home test drive of this little all-electric vehicle.

The pickup location of the i-MiEV was in downtown Vancouver and it showed an estimated driving range of 105 kilometres on an in-dash trip computer.

My trip home wasn’t a direct one and included a couple of stops — in total it was 35 kilometres.

The range estimate had dipped below 90 km by the time I got on the freeway, but then gradually increased back above 90 km as I cruised along just over 100 km/h, and was back down to 81 km at my destination.

Although I had driven 35 km, the loss in driving range was only 24 km, which means the i-MiEV’s on-board regeneration features had recovered 11 kilometres of range during the trip.

It was a sunny spring day and that certainly helped in terms of energy conservation.

Had I needed to use the heater, wipers or air-conditioning, the numbers would have been different, as I discovered when I turned on the heater and wipers during my return trip.

While an EV can work for some people as their main mode of transportation, the driving range issue generally deems it a second car for most families.

So far, only 431 people have taken advantage of the up to $5,000 point-of-sale grant offered to EV buyers in B.C., through a Clean Energy Vehicle Program, which, in case you haven’t heard, has been extended for another year.

What has been growing at an unexpectedly fast rate is the number of EV charging stations. More than 500 Level 2 (240-volt) publicly available charging stations are expected to be in operation this spring.

And an additional 13 direct current (DC) fast-charging stations are planned for the Highway 1 corridor.

Across the border, Washington State already has fast-charge stations in place. It’s also one of a growing number of states aligning their emission regulations with California.

This ambitious plan requires one in seven new cars sold by 2025 to be an EV, or some other type of zero-emission vehicle.

It also requires a 75 per cent reduction in smog-forming pollutants by 2025 and a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which effectively is a 50 per cent cut in fuel consumption.

Great strides have already been made in auto electrification, especially in new battery technology, brake regeneration and charging systems.

The 2013 version of i-MiEV features an improved 120-volt, two-mode cable that can reduce charging time from 22 to 14 hours (from zero).

In reality, when an owner plugs in, some charge will already be in the battery pack and the battery pack recovers faster in the first few hours of charging.

A new remote control also came with the charger.
More theprovince.com

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