L.A. Auto Show: Mitsubishi reveals 'i' electric vehicle for North America
A few changes: It's now referred to as the "i." It has bumpers strong enough to satisfy U.S. regulators, as well as advanced airbags and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Also, it's bigger -- 4 inches wider and 11 inches longer.
Otherwise, the new 2012 version is similar to the Asian model, which we drove around the L.A. Convention Center on Wednesday. About 4,500 of the vehicles are currently on the road in Japan.
The four-door North American vehicle will have no tailpipe emissions and will run on a lithium-ion battery system and an all-electric motor. The 16-kilowatt-hour battery pack will rest beneath the floor, with the motor, inverter and battery charger behind and below the rear passenger area. The i will run using Mistubishi's MiEV technology.
It will retail around $30,000, but the cost will likely fall to roughly $20,000 after government incentives. Connected to a 220-volt charger, the i will take six to eight hours to charge. A quick charger unit with higher voltage will juice up the car in half an hour.
The vehicle will reach California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii next year in November, expanding into the Northeast in March 2012 and spreading nationwide by the end of 2012.
Deliveries for the European version of the i-MiEV will start later this year, Mitsubishi said.
-- Tiffany Hsu
Photo: Mitsubishi Motors