Mitsubishi Motors Begins Production of i-MiEV; Targeting 1,400 Units in Fiscal 2009
5 June 2009
|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).
|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.
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