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Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has chosen today, World Environment Day, to unveil the production version of the i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicle (EV), describing it as “the pioneer that will open the door to the next 100 years of our automobile society.”

The i-MiEV will go on sale on the Japanese market in late July of this year, with a price tag that’s the equivalent of A$59,145, however buyers will be eligible for a government subsidy on that price equal to A$17,877.

The i-MiEV already has Australian Design Rule approval for sale in Australia and Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited spokesperson Lenore Fletcher told CarAdvice today; ” We are ready and raring to go as soon as we get approval from MMC in Japan.”

The vehicle will be sold to government bodies first, with individual sales to begin next year and Mitsubishi’s first year sales target for the vehicle is 1400 units, which is well ahead of any other full EV being offered for sale.

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Mitsubishi says the i-MiEV represents the crystallisation of some 40 years of electric vehicle development at Mitsubishi Motors.

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.

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The company will continue its extensive collaboration with both private and public sectors in Japan and overseas in developing infrastructure to promote ownership of EVs.

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Mitsubishi Motors said in a statement that it expects to distribute, on a maintenance lease basis, some 1400 i-MiEV models in 2009 principally to corporations and to local authorities.

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The company plans to start sales of i-MiEV to individuals in April 2010 and will start taking orders in late July of this year.

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The i-MiEV, a prototype version was driven by CarAdvice in Adelaide a few months ago and we were very impressed, makes maximum use of the long wheelbase that stems from its base model the “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.

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This provides a cruising range of up to 160 kilometres that is ample for everyday use without compromising the generous seating or luggage space of the “i.”

Mitsubishi makes the disclaimer that actual range will vary depending on weather conditions, road congestion and on how the driver operates his vehicle (use of accelerator, climate control system, etc.).

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The production version of the car introduces the MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System) – an advanced integrated vehicle management system into which the company has poured its wealth of know-how garnered from many years of EV research and development – has provided the kind of high performance and reliability that befits a new-generation EV.

The i-MiEV is a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV), which produces no CO2 emissions while being driven.

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

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Mitsubishi says the i-MiEV delivers the quiet and comfortable motoring experience only possible from an internal combustion engine-less EV, and having driven the car we can only agree.

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Maximising the excellent response and high low-end torque inherent to its electric motor i-MiEV enables a level of responsive and powerful performance that surpasses that of the petrol-powered turbo engine “i” minicar.

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The i-MiEV produces 47kW between 3000-6000rpm and torque of 180Nm from 0-2000rpm, yes that is from zero rpm.

A nationwide survey in Japan indicates that on average 90% of car drivers cover less than 40 km/day on weekdays and that 80% cover less than 60 km/day at weekends and holidays (in-house research).

The i-MiEV uses a three-way charging system that allows the drive battery to be charged at home or when out and about.

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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.

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The i-MiEV’s battery can also be “quick charged” at quick-charge stations, which are currently being established throughout Japan.






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