The 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show played host to the introduction of Mitsubishi's i electric car for the U.S. market. Up until this introduction, Mitsubishi had used the Japanese market version to introduce the car to the press, but the U.S. version shows substantial changes. It seems to have dropped the Miev from its name, simply becoming the i.
Most importantly, the steering wheel moves from right to left. Also significant is the fact that the car has grown in size for the U.S. market, allowing for a wider cabin and U.S. safety equipment. With its U.S. specification bumpers front and rear, it gains almost a foot in length, while the width is increased by a little over 4 inches. Weight increases by about 160 pounds.
The i's power train is made up of an electric motor powering the rear wheels and a 16kWh lithium ion battery pack, which should give the car a range of 80 to 100 miles. The motor and batteries are packaged under the rear seat and in front of the rear axle.
The i has two charging ports, one for standard 110- or 220-volt outlets, which charge the battery up to full in 16 and 8 hours, respectively. A second, quick-charge port can connect to three phase 220-volt outlets, and charge the battery up to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes.
The 2012 Mitsubishi i electric vehicle goes on sale in the Western United States in November of 2011, at a price Mitsubishi expects to be about $30,000. The car will be sold in the Northeast in March 2012, then roll out to dealerships in the rest of the country by the end of the year.