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Mitsubishi and TEPCO Testing Latest Version of i MiEV Electric Car

The current i MiEV.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) have begun test-driving the latest version of the i MiEV electric car. Mitsubishi delivered its first prototype to TEPCO in March 2007. (Earlier post.) The two have been collaborating on the electric vehicle since 2005. (Earlier post.)

The latest prototype has a newly developed lithium-ion battery, a more efficient motor that is also 10% lighter, an inverter that is 30% smaller, and tires that rotate with less resistance.

The expected range on the new version is now 160 km (100 miles) with the 16 kWh battery pack—a 23% increase (30 km) over the first prototype. The earlier version required the use of a 20 kWh pack to achieve the 160km distance.

Total distance accumulated during the first phase of testing was about 4,500 km (2,796 miles)—sufficient, according to the partners for an initial check on the fast charging and the integrity and suitability of vehicle operations (range, power performance, ease of use, etc.)

Mitsubishi Motors has supplied 10 of these new models to Tepco. This phase of the testing will run through March 2009, during which Tepco will collect data for Mitsubishi’s evaluation, and evaluate charging and driving performance.



Another year of testing and this product may actually get
to market by 2010. The overall efficiency increases may
continue on through different configurations of battery and
motor synergy. Expecting a 16 KWH battery to top out at 100 mi. range,
is just this years threshold. Another few reconfigurations
of these systems will yeild a 20KWH battery and motor assembly
capable of going 200mi. Then you will see these as real transportation,
and not just some "future car".

John Taylor

ok so in a few years the technology will improve.

Thing is, this is good enough to make and sell.
So go for it.

The sooner we get a viable electric car to mass market, the sooner people will be keen to switch and the sooner we will begin to reduce the infestation of pollution-mobiles on our planet.


March 2009 ?! When will this car be released? This is a great car!


2010, just like the Phoenix SUV, 90 mpg Prius, the Volt, the hydraulic hybrid F150, Tesla motorcar......

Unless they decide to push them back again. Since they were all originally supposed to be here this year.

And how come Prius is not in my MS word spellcheck?


A few suggestions:

1. Have the radiator mounted on the underside of the vehicle and have it be an extruded fin design (kinda like what they use on the underside of LN2 trucks). This should allow them to improve the aerodynamics slightly. No fan should be necessary as there is no "idle" as in a traditional ICE and thermal output is commensurate with load and therefore speed.
2. More aerodynamic wheels (solid exterior) with the rears being partially shrouded like in the Honda Insight.
3. Perhaps a rear spoiler and/or diffuser? I'm sure if this was viable, Mistubishi would've implemented it. They're not idiots.


I agree with the underside radiator. Making the nose completely smooth should help at higher speeds.




I think this is one of the best-looking small vehicles I've seen, either in kei car or EV form. Give me a 150+ mile range and quick-charge nanobatteries, and we're set.


Mitsubishi: Halve the size of the battery pack and put in a 500cc engine and a generator, and a 50 litre fuel tank, and tell me how much and where I can get it.

(Anyone have an idea what KW you can get out of a 500cc engine?)


500cc? You could probably get 20kw out of it. It depends on how you run the engine.

Tom Street

A 100 mile range would be more than adequate for 98% of my driving. If I really need a longer drive, I'll use my Prius.

Of course,this article says nothing about price, so I would only purchase this if they could bring it below $25,000.

This thing supposedly gets 6.25 miles per kwh. That's less than 1.5 cents per mile where I live. The co2 emissions for the U.S. average power plant is 612.34 grams per kwh. That's 97.9 grams per mile compared to a Prius of 210 grams per mile.

We have had a similar discussion before, so we would still need to know the grams per mile on a well to wheel basis to make a more realistic comparison.



Good analysis. Those are the kind of numbers that help me understand EV and HEV CO2. Higher capacity and lower cost batteries would help, but it seems to me that they will cost a lot and I do not see the prices coming down dramatically anytime soon.

I could be wrong, but I think that range will be one of those issues that will not go away. If a family has one vehicle for all of their needs, it will have to have range. Maybe some people could buy a new EV for around town, but most need a car that will do everything that they need to do to justify the expense.

John Taylor

Sure, I'd prefer a cheaper price, and longer range but lets not ask the people at Mitsubishi to do a rethink, what they have is viable as is.

Now all we need is to see it in production, and get "pay-for plugs" installed in every major shopping plaza parking lot.

Improvements will come after the market is opened.


Yes I think 100 mile range is good for almost all of my driving needs along with most americans. People are going to have to start changing some of their driving habits or else get left behind. With oil perhaps at or nearing its peak production getting anything to the market now in mass production would be a great head start for any auto maker. Sure EV dont have a long term high profit margin but this is something the industry along with everyone else will just have to slowly adjust to. Plugin hybrds will be the transition cars for the near term perhaps over the next 10 to 15 years during that time EV's will continue to become more available and cheaper. I think hydrogen is good but not going to happen for another 50 years at best. The electric economy is the future of the world unless there are some big breakthroughs in hydrogen and ofcourse when hydrogen is ready for the market the electric economy will be here and there will be no need to change. I see oil still playing a role in air travel for sometime to come until hydrogen is commerically ready to use. Bio fuels are a waste of time for now until some breakthroughs happen, all we are doing now is making food more expensive. Anyways thats how I see things.


Agreed, it may not be perfect, but just get it out there ASAP and improvements will come afterwards. What we need is to show the population what current, even 15 year old, technology can do and the light bulb will light up and the rest will be unstoppable history.


There were some recharging stations for EVs in the early 90s when L.A. was doing its ZEV push. I think it is better to use and adapt what we have than to hope for an overall radical transformation.

To think that everyone will give up their cars and ride bikes is a bit much. To hope that we will put in charging stations and hydrogen stations is a stretch. Companies will put in charging stations if it makes them money. Cities and states are so cash strapped as it is, I doubt that they will pay for all of that when it would be used by only a few people.

I believe that we will get to where we need to go one step at a time, or not at all. Some want a "moon shot" program, only because we have put it off for so long as it is. The sooner we start the sooner we can get there and the less wasteful scrambling will be needed when it does becomes so necessary that we can not put it off any longer.


I don't see recharging stations/areas as a big problem. You already have all the power lines up, hell you can have them at gas stations even, were not talking millions and millions of stations/areas up all at once. They will grow as the demand grows. Now what about cost well like I said all the major power lines are up so all you need to do is install small outlets will credit card access on them. To make places like gas stations and companies to put them in just make it tax deductible this will make the tax payers pay for it over a longer time period. This will also create new jobs across the country, this will be a slow and some times painful process but as far as I can see it the best thing we can do right now. As for hydrogen like I said this is still some time of in the future and at best only a small part of the next revolution of mankind which is techno revolution.


Rural charging stations? I'm always seeing U.S. Interstate exits advertising RV camping with full hookups. If you pulled in the the middle of the day when they had vacancies and offered to pay to plug in for a few minutes they'd be delighted with the new source of income. I only mention this because the infrastructure is already in place.


Quick charging may not be an option. To recharge 10 kwh after 40 miles of driving in only a few minutes would take a lot of power. It could also shorten the life of the batteries and be a huge load to the grid. That is the idea of hydrogen, you can fill the tanks in a few minutes much like filling your gasoline tank with fuel.

I think that most of the charging stations that were in use years ago were installed in parking lots, where the drivers would spend quite a bit of time. A computer store in Sunnyvale, California put some in to try to get people to spend more time in the store. So it sounds like parking lots and garages would be good candidates for charging stations.


I think initially long battery range isn't needed. There are plenty of two car families with off street parking who would like a Fiesta sized second car (in Europe - maybe a bit bigger in the US) for school runs and shopping trips. A 20 miles range would often be good enough.


1) If you keep batteries or capacitors at "gas" stations they can be fed with normal power lines but produce bursts of power to quick-charge EVs.

2) Quick-charging EV will not hurt their batteries. They will be designed for this.

3) Stop thinking corn or arable land produced products for biofuel. Think waste and algae. Algae can be grown in the desert, grows with dirty or salt water and feeds on the exhaust from power plants. They are building large-scale pilot plants now.

4) Write to your political leaders to tell them energy is the biggest problem and you will vote for the person that has the best plan. Period. Enough with the two-step shuffle.


I think that a shorter EV range with hybrid capability might work. If they exceed the range on electric, the engine comes on. They would probably need more than 30 mph top speed in EV mode though.

The quick charge idea is a probability distribution. If you have 1/2 the cars out there running around as EV with no hybrid, what happens when 1000 of them would like to quick charge using 440v at 400 amps each all across a city? Just one car quick charging could be equal to 100 home central air conditioners coming on at the same time. Now multiply that by 1000.

I know people say that they would have caps or batteries, but those cost a lot and there are limits to that. Would I be able to quick charge 2 vehicles at my station but 4 at the same time can not be done? After I charge those 2 vehicles how long do they have to wait before I can charge two more? These are details that either make or break an idea. If the idea is to charge at home over night, then people need to know that, because it limits the utility of the vehicle.


Why is that 400v line going to need a 400amps breaker ? each 110 line would only need 20amps so at most you would need 100amp breaker, so were are you pulling 400amps ? Also one car quick charging would be equal to 100 homes ac turning on, seeing how most ac are 220v your looking at 40 amps at most, so 100 home ac turning on would be equal to 4000 amps. If Im wrong here someone please correct me thanks.


You want to charge 10 khw in a few minutes. 440v at 100 amps for one hour is about 40 kwh, but you can not wait an hour, you want to quick charge. So, that 10 kwh will take you 15 minutes. But you can not wait 15 minutes. You want to charge in 5 minutes, so it takes 300 amps. But it only takes you 3 minutes to fill a gasoline tank so....and so it goes.

The turn on of a home AC may be 220v at 30 amps single phase, but running them after start up takes less current. Since we are quick charging now for 3-5 minutes you would take the average power consumption over that interval. It might not be equivalent to 100 central air conditioners running for 5 minutes, but you can see the problem before it arises.


IMO, the 4-passenger iMiEV is the most practical example of a close-to-production (and hopefully close-to-sales-in-North-America) vehicle. Can it be improved? Certainly - for example, instead of aluminum, use carbon fiber (using Fiberforge techniques) as a unibody material. But it is a heck of a start. I will buy one as soon as it is available in the US.

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