Mitsubishi announces two new versions of its i-MiEV electric vehicle

Mitsubishi announces two new versions of its i-MiEV electric vehicle

( -- In what appears to be an increasingly crowded market, Japanese car maker Mitsubishi Motors has added two new versions of its i-MiEV model all-electric vehicle. Both are pint-sized sub-compacts, as opposed to the competition, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy volt, both of which are significantly bigger compacts. The two new versions are the M and G; the former is meant to be a lower price version, while the latter offers a longer driving range.

To get the price down on the M, the company has reduced the amount of charge the battery can hold by 35%, though the company claims the real world reduction in driving range is actually just 25% due to the introduction of a charging mechanism that goes into effect whenever the brake is pressed; it’s range is now 120km down from 160, for the current model.

The G version on the other hand has an increased range; it’s now 180km, which is due to new improved batteries and also the introduction of the brake charging mechanism. It also comes with a remote control that allows the owner to pick a charging time for the vehicle to take advantage of off-hours electric rates, and to turn on the air-conditioning before the driver arrives, along with some other extras, such as heated seats, a leather-trim interior, LED headlights and a navigation system as standard options.

The M model will list at 1.88 million yen (about US$23,133), though with the Japanese government subsidy, the price drops to 2.98 million and will go on sale in Japan on July 25. The G model will list at 3.8 million yen with a subsidized price of 2.84 million and is expected to appear in showrooms sometime next month.

Mitsubishi announces two new versions of its i-MiEV electric vehicle
The i-MiEV electric vehicle

officials say the changes to the existing models are all based on customer input and in a nod to the ongoing electric grid issues in Japan as a result of the March 11 earthquake, the company is offering an AC adaptor with the cars that will be made available that can be used to run electric appliances.

The announcement of the two new versions of the i-MiEV, come on the heels of the announcement of the new EPA ratings for in the United States, where the i-MiEV received an impressive 112 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) which puts it ahead of both the Leaf and the Tesla Roadster.

It’s not yet been announced when either of the new versions of the “i” will be available outside of Japan.

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