New York Auto Show 2008 – Mitsubishi “i”1
One of the coolest things about working on the VehicleVoice team is the differing taste the team has. Trucks, SUVs, muscle cars, small cars. Lunch can be interesting, to say the least. While I appreciate anything with wheels, I’m slowly becoming more and more interested in minicars. Maybe it’s Europe-envy, or an increased sense of green, but I‘ve always been attracted to minimalism. From architecture to coffee without the fancy names.
If you have ever parked a minicar in a spot that no other US car could fit in, you’ve had taste of just one of the benefits of these class of vehicles. The kei-class is a popular small vehicle segment in Japan that has dimensional and powertrain limits (660cc engines). Vehicle taxation in Japan is related to these elements and emissions, so minicars offer owners tax advantages. Mitsubishi is showing three “i” variants at the New York Auto Show, including the “i” (gasoline), the i MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle), and the i MiEV Sport concept. On sale in Japan since 2006, the “i” is powered by an aluminum three-cylinder, 660cc turbocharged, gasoline engine producing 64 hp. The rear midship layout locates the powertrain ahead of the rear axle.
i MiEV: Electric power
In its first US show appearance, the I MIEV uses an electric drivetrain to this “i” package. A 330-volt lithium-ion battery system is located under the floor deck to offer the same level of interior utility and space as the gasoline version while lowering vehicle’s the center of gravity. The 47 kW electric motor offers improved performance over the 64 hp gasoline version, , and gets up to 100 miles of driving on a single charge. With instantaneous electric power, the i MiEV offers quicker acceleration compared to the gasoline version. The i MiEV will launch in Japan next year (2009). In addition, US test cars arrive on our shores this Fall for evaluation.
i MiEV Sport: Sport
The Sport is a coupe variation on the i MiEV with a “fastback” roofline constructed using a rigid lightweight aluminum frame and uses two 20 kW electric motors, one built into each front wheel, working together with a single, 47 kW motor that drives the rear wheels. Power output, traction and braking at all four wheels are controlled by the S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control). LEDs are used throughout the vehicle including the rear lamps and interior lighting. A solar panel on the roof, wind turbines in the front grille and regenerative brakes capture power.