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Mitsubishi Motors Begins Production of i-MiEV; Targeting 1,400 Units in Fiscal 2009

5 June 2009

Imiev-A
The i-MiEV system configuration. Click to enlarge.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) unveiled the production version of the i-MiEV electric vehicle on World Environment Day in Tokyo. The company is presenting the production i-MiEV as the ultimate eco-car, a solution to the various challenges the automobile faces today including environmental pollution, global warming and the depletion of petroleum-based energy supplies.

Even when the CO2 emitted at power generating stations is taken into consideration, the i-MiEV generates approximately one-third of the CO2 produced by the gasoline “i” minicar, according to MMC. (Calculated in-house based on the average of electric energy frameworks in Japan).

IMIEV-B
The production i-MiEV. Click to enlarge.

Mitsubishi Motors expects to distribute, on a maintenance lease basis, some 1,400 i-MiEV units in fiscal 2009 principally to corporations and to local authorities. The company plans to start sales of i-MiEV to individuals in April 2010 and will start taking orders on the Mitsubishi Motors web site in late July of this year. MSRP is ¥4,599,000 (US$47,500), without factoring in subsidies.

The 1,100 kg (2,425 lb) rear-wheel drive i-MiEV makes maximum use of the long wheelbase that stems from its base model “i” minicar’s rear-midship layout to install a large capacity lithium-ion drive battery under the floor and the power unit under the luggage compartment. This supports a 160 km (99 mile) cruising range under the Japanese 10-15 mode urban driving cycle—adequate for everyday use without compromising the seating or luggage space of the “i”. (In-house research found via a nationwide survey in Japan that on average, 90% of car drivers cover less than 40 km/day (25 miles) on weekdays and that 80% cover less than 60 km/day (37 miles) at weekends and holidays.

Power consumption of the i-MiEV (10-15 mode driving pattern) is 125 Wh/km.

Mitsubishi Motors Group
Environmental Vision 2020 Roadmap
Mitsubishi Motors also announced the “Mitsubishi Motors Group Environmental Vision 2020” roadmap for its near-future environmental policy that maximizes the benefits offered by EVs, PHEVs and other electric-powered vehicles.
MMC is setting a target of 20% EVs in its production volume by 2020. In addition, it is targeting a cut in global lineup CO2 emissions by a weighted average of 50% over 2005.
In addition to promoting more widespread use of EVs, MMC is targeting a reduction in CO2 per vehicle in production by 20% over 2005 levels.
The company will work with its customers and society at large in creating an infrastructure that supports the use of EVs. It will also step up its contribution to protecting the global environment by promoting more eco-friendly driving habits and through environmental conservation activities with local communities.

The i-MiEV features the introduction of the MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System)—an advanced integrated vehicle management system developed by MMC for new-generation EVs. The MiEV OS gathers data and information from all the major EV components to provide integrated management of the i-MiEV’s performance.

The advanced management system constantly monitors battery status and the energy recovered from the regenerative brakes while regulating output to ensure smooth and powerful acceleration from a full stop. As a result the system optimizes and minimizes energy consumption while delivering road performance that is comfortable, safe and reassuring.

The i-MiEV uses a 3-way charging system that allows the drive battery to be charged at home or when out and about. For normal charging i-MiEV is connected to either a standard 100-volt or 200-volt domestic outlet using the charging cables supplied with the vehicle. The i-MiEV’s battery can also be “quick charged” at quick-charge stations which are currently being established throughout Japan. The normal charging gun and normal charging connector were jointly developed by Toyota Motor Corporation and Yazaki Corporation.

A 200 VAC, 15A full charge takes approximately 7 hours; a 100VAC, 15A full charge takes approximately 14 hours; and a quick 200V 3-phase (50 kW) charge with a quick-charger gun takes approximately 30 minutes for an 80% charge.

The main powertrain components include:

  • A 300V, 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack manufactured by Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Motors, GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi Corporation. (Earlier post.) The battery comprises 88 lithium-ion cells connected in series.

  • Motor. The i-MiEV uses a high-efficiency compact and lightweight permanent magnet synchronous electric motor specially developed for the vehicle. Maximum output is 47 kW at 3000-6000 rpm, with maximum torque of 180 N·m (133 lb-ft) from 0-2000 rpm. When the vehicle slows down the regenerative brake system causes the motor to operate as a generator. The electrical energy recovered is stored in the drive battery.

  • Transmission. The i-MiEV uses a lightweight and compact single-speed reduction gear transmission, exploiting the high low-end torque inherent to the electric motor and eliminating the need for complex gear shifting mechanisms as found in internal combustion engine powered vehicles.

  • DC/DC converter. The DC/DC converter is used to charge the 12-volt auxiliary battery and power electrical equipment. It is integrated with the on-board charger in a single unit to reduce size and weight

  • Inverter. The i-MiEV’s motor is driven by an alternating current. The inverter converts high-voltage direct current from the drive battery to alternating current and supplies motor with the power required to drive the vehicle.

The combination meter instrument cluster comprises a power meter that presents a visual display of power consumption and energy recovery status; a drive battery residual charge indicator that indicates how much remaining power there is left in the drive battery; and an available range indicator that displays an estimate of how far the vehicle can be driven on the basis of average power consumption over the last few kilometers.

The shift selector provides the three positions that allow the driver to choose between maximum fun, maximum economy or maximum regenerative brake bias:

  • D-position : Generates gutsy torque in direct response to accelerator input and allows the driver to enjoy i-MiEV’s performance potential to the maximum.
  • Eco-position: Reduces power output and consumption to deliver maximum economy.
  • B-position: Increases the regenerative brake bias. Power output is the same as for D.

The i-MiEV’s climate control system features air conditioning with an electrically powered compressor and a heating system which circulates warm water heated by an electric heater. The control dial provides six-step manual adjustment of both cooling and heating temperatures. The system reduces power consumption by minimizing occasions when both cooling unit and the heater operate together.

June 5, 2009 in Electric (Battery) | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack (0)

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I wonder. When sales start in July, would that count as a defining moment in modern car history? The first time that an established car manufacturer sells a fully electric, fully functional passenger car to private persons?

I mean, we have had the EV-1, but you could only lease it. And we have had the conversions and delivery vans and city cars and specialist EV brands like Tesla. But a passenger car that exits the factory of a well-known brand as an EV?

(I am aware of the history of electric cars before the advent of ICE's, but this was too long ago to be relevant now)

I'm confused, they say they can get 8 km per kWh, which is 5 miles per kWh on the Japanese cycle, and that should allow a range of 80 miles from the 16 kWh battery, but they say it can go 100 miles on the same test cycle?

Congratulations! But surprisingly week fast charging - only 50 kW. I expected to be charging station capacity at least 150 kW and voltage level at least on the battery level.

I can’t help to be very disappointed about its high price. 47,000 USD for a car that you could get for 15000 USD as a regular car that would have full vehicle range is simply not competitive not even with gasoline at 6 USD per gallon. The price indicates a battery price of minimum 20,000 USD for a 16kWh battery that probably needs to be replaced for every 8 years. This does not make sense.

I am looking forward to here the price of BYD’s E6 wagon coming to the market by the end of the year. That EV will have (BYD’s claim) a vehicle range of 250 miles and the ability to charge 125 miles in 10 minutes which makes it useful for far more applications than the iMiEV.

It costs almost as much as the Tesla "S" and is twice as expensive as the promised prices: Nissan, Detroit Electric and Miles are publishing for their EV's.

99 mile range with a 50K price tag. No thanks.

Got to do better than this if you expect to sell more than a few vehicles.

"$47,500 for a small car with 100 mile range that has to be plugged in?"

That may be the reaction of most American's. If the car is smaller with less utility, they usually expect a lower price. Even with $7500 subsidy, they are paying $40,000 for this versus a new Lexus or BMW.

I believe this will be the reaction in general. If you could convert previously owned cars and sell them for $27,500 minus the $7500, you might find more buyers.

These guys have taken a PT Cruiser and made it an EV. Sacramento is using it for cabs instead of diesel buses.

http://www.hybridtechnologies.com/products/cars/surge

The price is $55k, but imagine converting used PT Cruisers that cost $5k. Bring them the right price point and they will come.

They are charging a high cost in the beginning to help recoup the development costs. Chances are the price will be reduced once production is underway. Also, some BEV builders are considering pricing the battery pack separately which will reduce the initial cost of the chassis. For example, Nissan/Renault and "Better Place(BP)" are planning to do this. Renault will build the chassis and sell it to the user; Nissan will build the battery pack and sell it to BP and BP will rent the battery to the user.

Obviously, they're charging this much because they can. It's a novelty car. When the volumes are increased, the price will be lowered. The volumes will increase when the cost of the batteries demonstrably pays for the factory that built them. The batteries must also be proven reliable, which is not a certainty. Patents must be respected via payments. Mitsubishi's auto production timetable is completely realistic at 20% electric by the year 2020. That's 2-3 generations away from the i-MiEV.

MSRP is ¥4,599,000 (US$47,500), without factoring in subsidies.

This once again shows that the manufacturers jack up the price when subsidies are available. I but the price would have been lower if the subsidies weren't available.

Ofcourse - if they are going to be able to produce limited number of cars - they will be charging the maximum they can and still sell the cars.

I'm sure they will charge much less when it comes to US - may be around $35K - considering the 7.5K subsidy ...

Right.
Price the car really high, so no one buys it;
and then when, sales takeoff, lower the price.

This might work if there really was one born every minute.

We lose on every unit, but we make it up in volume :)

EVs costing $47,000 probably will not sell no matter how fancy and luxurious. They can not be either, because they put most of their money into expensive batteries and the customer is suppose to spend much more for a car that does much less.


Sceptics to electric powered cars are a dime a dozen. Its takes more courage to genuinely solve problems of the planet's environment. Was there any opposition to ICE powered transport when they started to develop it knowing it would take billion dollar investments to develop mass industry to create the vast fuel reserves we have today? If you suggest that we hire the E.V. batteries that run these vehicles the idea is criticised for extending the expense of these cars. Do we pay for the structure of the fuel refinery when we buy a conventional car? No, it is all subsidised by highly profitable multi-nation billion dollar corporations that can manipulate public opinion at the turn of a fuel cap. I ask then why are electric vehicles expected to
· generate their own power, only assisted by home electricity
· and compete with a institution of transport culture that has been enforced over nearly 100 years,
· are expected to be a similar drive away price to conventional cars
· keep up with their long developed creature comforts and luxury.
If history was reversed and the tables turned , place a model T up against a Toyota Prius 2060 model how do you think the old ‘OILER’ would do?

When car companies that introduce E.V.’s attempt to recoup their losses they are criticized, while environmental law in countries in like Japan are hugely restrictive and make a $48,000 Electric car a good long term buy. Septics are too quick to debase electric car technology when many of its facets are still in development; fuels cell and capacitor advancements, hydrogen cell development, and alternative fuel advancements. These environmental cars need a level playing field and not a boxing ring with both hands tied up


Sceptics to electric powered cars are a dime a dozen. Its takes more courage to genuinely solve problems of the planet's environment. Was there any opposition to ICE powered transport when they started to develop it knowing it would take billion dollar investments to develop mass industry to create the vast fuel reserves we have today? If you suggest that we hire the E.V. batteries that run these vehicles the idea is criticised for extending the expense of these cars. Do we pay for the structure of the fuel refinery when we buy a conventional car? No, it is all subsidised by highly profitable multi-nation billion dollar corporations that can manipulate public opinion at the turn of a fuel cap. I ask then why are electric vehicles expected to
· generate their own power, only assisted by home electricity
· and compete with a institution of transport culture that has been enforced over nearly 100 years,
· are expected to be a similar drive away price to conventional cars
· keep up with their long developed creature comforts and luxury.
If history was reversed and the tables turned , place a model T up against a Toyota Prius 2060 model how do you think the old ‘OILER’ would do?

When car companies that introduce E.V.’s attempt to recoup their losses they are criticized, while environmental law in countries in like Japan are hugely restrictive and make a $48,000 Electric car a good long term buy. Septics are too quick to debase electric car technology when many of its facets are still in development; fuels cell and capacitor advancements, hydrogen cell development, and alternative fuel advancements. These environmental cars need a level playing field and not a boxing ring with both hands tied up


Sceptics to electric powered cars are a dime a dozen. Its takes more courage to genuinely solve problems of the planet's environment. Was there any opposition to ICE powered transport when they started to develop it knowing it would take billion dollar investments to develop mass industry to create the vast fuel reserves we have today? If you suggest that we hire the E.V. batteries that run these vehicles the idea is criticised for extending the expense of these cars. Do we pay for the structure of the fuel refinery when we buy a conventional car? No, it is all subsidised by highly profitable multi-nation billion dollar corporations that can manipulate public opinion at the turn of a fuel cap. I ask then why are electric vehicles expected to
· generate their own power, only assisted by home electricity
· and compete with a institution of transport culture that has been enforced over nearly 100 years,
· are expected to be a similar drive away price to conventional cars
· keep up with their long developed creature comforts and luxury.
If history was reversed and the tables turned , place a model T up against a Toyota Prius 2060 model how do you think the old ‘OILER’ would do?

When car companies that introduce E.V.’s attempt to recoup their losses they are criticized, while environmental law in countries in like Japan are hugely restrictive and make a $48,000 Electric car a good long term buy. Septics are too quick to debase electric car technology when many of its facets are still in development; fuels cell and capacitor advancements, hydrogen cell development, and alternative fuel advancements. These environmental cars need a level playing field and not a boxing ring with both hands tied up


Sceptics to electric powered cars are a dime a dozen. Its takes more courage to genuinely solve problems of the planet's environment. Was there any opposition to ICE powered transport when they started to develop it knowing it would take billion dollar investments to develop mass industry to create the vast fuel reserves we have today? If you suggest that we hire the E.V. batteries that run these vehicles the idea is criticised for extending the expense of these cars. Do we pay for the structure of the fuel refinery when we buy a conventional car? No, it is all subsidised by highly profitable multi-nation billion dollar corporations that can manipulate public opinion at the turn of a fuel cap. I ask then why are electric vehicles expected to
· generate their own power, only assisted by home electricity
· and compete with a institution of transport culture that has been enforced over nearly 100 years,
· are expected to be a similar drive away price to conventional cars
· keep up with their long developed creature comforts and luxury.
If history was reversed and the tables turned , place a model T up against a Toyota Prius 2060 model how do you think the old ‘OILER’ would do?

When car companies that introduce E.V.’s attempt to recoup their losses they are criticized, while environmental law in countries in like Japan are hugely restrictive and make a $48,000 Electric car a good long term buy. Septics are too quick to debase electric car technology when many of its facets are still in development; fuels cell and capacitor advancements, hydrogen cell development, and alternative fuel advancements. These environmental cars need a level playing field and not a boxing ring with both hands tied up

ESabre:

It costs almost as much as the Tesla "S" and is twice as expensive as the promised prices: Nissan, Detroit Electric and Miles are publishing for their EV's.

Don't forget that the Tesla S will only be available 2 years from now. The Miev is available this year. Timing is everything. Tesla is betting on the price of Li-ion batteries to come down. (And if that doesn't happen, they're in trouble). Mitsubishi can not do that, because they'll have to deliver NOW.

SJC:

EVs costing $47,000 probably will not sell no matter how fancy and luxurious. They can not be either, because they put most of their money into expensive batteries and the customer is suppose to spend much more for a car that does much less.

The Tesla Roadster outperforms cars twice as expensive. It may not have the build quality or pedigree of a Lamborghini or Aston Martin, but if you are after raw performance and 'fun to drive', it is certainly a car to consider.

I am not referring to performance, but utility. If you sell 100,000 cars like this, then it can do some good lowering oil imports. If you sell 1000 performance cars, not so much. It is my contention that you need an acceptable price point to sell lots of cars. If you want to repay the development costs over a longer period and/or license the technology to recoup costs, that is fine. But if you have to spend $20,000 for batteries in a $40,000 car, where the batteries may not last 10 years with extreme discharge and recharge profiles, then that may affect the buyers purchasing decisions. It is enough that they have to pay more for a vehicle that gets less range.

SJC:

Of course, price/performance is always important.

I was mostly reacting to your broad sweeping statement: "EVs costing $47,000 probably will not sell no matter how fancy and luxurious."

I thought 'performance' falls in the 'fancy' category.

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of a small car with limited range that costs a lot of money. What I think many people are not considering, however, is that many (most?) people don't choose cars _just_ on a rational economic Total Cost of Ownership basis. To one extent or another, we pick cars that make us feel good.

If some dude feels good when driving a Hummer, sure I'll sneer at him, but I don't expect him to have chosen the Hummer as the most economically prudent choice. Myself, I feel good driving a car that gets great mileage (indeed, I feel virtuous for it... you can take any swipe at that you like). Someone else presumably feels good when driving a Ferrari, and someone else feels really good about driving a 1970 VW Beetle. In three of those four examples (probably not the Bug), people paid more than they had to pay to get a vehicle that they feel good about driving.

Because of my sensibilities, I would feel even better if I drove an EV (for the vast majority of trips that 100 miles range would handle). Sure TCO may be higher than buying a 2nd hand Civic, but I would feel GOOD knowing that I paid more to be an early adopter, to promote a technology that I really believe in. If the program got canceled I would be pissed (even then my car would be more of a limited production collectible). If the next generation was better, faster, cheaper, and more popular I would feel good about it, feeling that I had contributed to a cause I believe in.

Sure, I'm on the outside of the curve as far as EVs are concerned, but I don't think that the number of people who would be willing to live with a higher TCO in order to stick it to Exxon, Saudi Arabia, or AGW is as small as some people fear.

And the number of people who would feel good about driving an EV is even bigger.

Anne,

When I said fancy, I was thinking along the lines of a Corolla with leather :) Some EVs may come with navigation for an extra $5000. I don't think that will do it any more than moonroofs or leather seating and other creature comfort status symbols. My point is, the core functionality has to be there and then they can add on the other stuff.

So far, EVs with 100 mile range 8 hour charging at $47.500 are probably not going to have waiting lists to take delivery of 10s of thousands of units every month. I may miss my guess, but I am willing to be way wrong on this one.

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