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Mitsubishi will upgrade i-MiEV for U.S.

Automotive News reports on how the U.S. version of the Mitsubishi i-Miev electric vehicle will differ from the Japanese version.

Mitsubishi iMiev
Mitsubishi is even closer than Nissan in bringing an electric car to production. The iMiev goes on sale in the middle of this year. This electric car, based on Mitsubishi's i city car platform, also runs for about 100 miles with its lithium-ion battery pack. Like Nissan, Mitsubishi didn't have an official display at the Detroit show, but the iMiev was given space in an area devoted to electric cars.
Sarah Tew/CNET
Mitsubishi i-Miev
The U.S. version of the i-MiEV will be larger and better equipped than the Japanese model. Josh Miller/CNET

The U.S. version of Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric minicar will be bigger and include more features than its Japanese and European counterparts when it arrives here in late 2011.

Gregory Adams, Mitsubishi Motors North America's recently appointed head of marketing and product planning, says the U.S.-spec i-MiEV will be wider--both to meet U.S. crash standards and to cater to U.S. tastes.

It also will have an upgraded interior and feature more content than the Japanese version. A Japan-spec model tested by Automotive News this summer was equipped with basic air conditioning and heating, power windows and door locks, and an AM/FM CD audio system--but no cruise control or other features such as Bluetooth wireless connectivity, satellite radio, or a navigation system.

Adams declined to say what features will appear in the U.S. version.

The i-MiEV will be priced at less than $30,000 when it goes on sale, before a $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles.

Though bigger, the U.S. version will retain the i-MiEV's egg shape because, Adams said, a distinctive look is important to buyers of electric vehicles.

The Europe-spec i-MiEV, scheduled to debut at the Paris auto show this month, will be similar to the Japanese version.

(Source: Automotive News)