North American-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV revealed

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Mitsubishi, a brand best known for its rally car replicating EVO, will be one of the first to market an all-electric microcar here in North America. Microcar may not be the right term anymore though, as the i-MiEV just revealed in North American-specification is a relative limo compared to the Japanese domestic market (JDM) version.

Our i-MiEV has been stretched, widened and enhanced to appeal more to North American buyers, and while the right-hand drive JDM version is surprisingly roomy despite its abbreviated exterior dimensions, the slightly larger version will fit larger North American body-types more comfortably.

Set to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this week, the North American i-MiEV is 285 mm (11.2 inches) longer at 3,680 mm (144.9 inches), 110 mm (4.3 inches) wider at 1,585 mm (62.4 inches), and 5 mm (0.2 inches) taller at 1,615 mm (63.6 inches) than the JDM version, plus it has a 110-mm (4.3-inch) wider track at 1,420 mm (55.9 inches) and 1,380 mm (54.3 inches) front and rear, which, combined with new bumpers at each end, give it a more planted appearance and no doubt better road manners.

Handling and therefore safety will be enhanced further via standard Active Stability Control (ASC), while a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and airbags that detect passengers and control deployment force will add peace of mind.

The North American-spec i-MiEV appears nicer inside too, with better materials, an appealing two-tone colour scheme, and a redesigned centre stack featuring a new audio system and updated switchgear.

Target pricing is expected to sneak below the $30,000 threshold, which means the i-MiEV will be the least expensive electric being offered by a mainstream automaker.

So when's the due date? Mitsubishi is talking the end of 2011, so start making plans if your idea of performance is EV without the O.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, EV, Mitsubishi, 2011, i MiEV, i-MiEV, $40,000 - $49,999, Electric,

Organizations: Mitsubishi, North American

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