Mitsubishi will bring its first all-electric vehicle to market in the United States with its fall 2011 launch of the 2012 i MiEV in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. By March 2012, the vehicle should be released in the Northeast and a full nationwide rollout is expected by December 2012.

Touted by Mitsubishi as the most affordable electric vehicle to hit the mass market, the basic ES model starts at $27,990 with the fully loaded SE model running at $29,990. With the $7,500 federal tax credit for which the vehicle is eligible, the ES cost will be $20,490 and the SE will be $22,490.

In Hawaii, one of the first states to get the vehicle, consumers are also eligible for an additional $4,500 clean energy rebate, which reduces the out-of-pocket costs to less than $16,000 after rebates and credits.

“We thank Mitsubishi Motors for choosing Hawaii as one of the first states to receive the new ‘I’ electric car,” said Estrella Seese, acting energy program administrator for the Hawaii State Energy Office. “Electric vehicles use a fraction of the fuel needed by traditional cars, so each EV on the road means we’re reducing our dependence on imported oil and increasing our ability to reach Hawaii’s goal of 70 percent clean energy within a generation.”

The Mitsubishi i MiEV

The Mitsubishi i MiEV will launch in Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington in November 2011 before becoming available nationwide in late 2012. Credit: Mitsubishi

The i MiEV has an expected driving range of 85 miles and a top speed of approximately 80 mph. The 88-cell, 330-volt, lithium-ion battery pack can hold 16 kilowatt hours (kWh) at peak storage and can be recharged using three different methods. At level 1, an optional DC charging port is available to plug into standard 120-volt wall outlets with a charge time of approximately 22.5 hours. At level 2, a 240-volt/15A home EVSE Eaton charging system can be used to restore full charge within about six hours. At level 3, a CHAdeMO public quick charging station can charge a battery from very low to 80 percent full in only 30 minutes. The battery comes with an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

The vehicle is also equipped with a shift selector that allows the driver to choose between three different drive settings in order to optimize their experience. In the “D” position, the driver can experience maximum performance with 100 percent torque in direct response to accelerator input. In the “Eco” position, the rate of battery consumption is reduced to conserve energy. In the “B” position, regenerative braking is increased to augment energy recycling.

Beginning on Earth Day, April 22, customers have been able to log on to Mitsubishi’s website where they can reserve their i MiEV for a refundable deposit. Two thousand early customers will have the benefit of having a home electrical inspection fee waived. The inspection must be done on each purchaser’s home to ensure the electrical system can efficiently sustain charging.

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