The Mitsubishi iMiev is likely to be the first electric car from a major automaker this century. The company is well along in its production plans, and showed off an initial prototype of what might be rolling off the factory line.
As it closes in on announced production dates, Mitsubishi is refining the iMiev electric car for different markets. The version shown at the 2009 Geneva auto show is a prototype that meets European vehicle legal requirements. Performance-wise, its range is about 80 miles, with a 20-minute recharge time from a special quick charging station.
This iMiev has been configured as a left-hand drive model, and the body has been adapted for the European market. For example, front and rear overhangs have been extended for pedestrian safety, although the basic platform of the car remains the same.
The infotainment system uses a graphic design unlike anything in current production cars, showing a globe and compass for navigation. However, the audio control dial below the screen looks more common to other production cars.
Mitsubishi also showed off a sport version of the iMiev, based on an earlier concept. The Sport Air uses a 60 kilowatt motor rather than the 47 kilowatt motor found in the standard iMiev. That gives the Sport Air a top speed of 124 mph--44 mph faster than the iMiev.