When Mitsubishi said it was planning on bringing its i-MiEV electric car to America, you were probably thinking what I was thinking — yeah, right. The tiny car, which has been available in Japan since last year, is slightly bigger than a fish tank and about as attractive as a walrus — not to mention its odd name.
But Mitsubishi is serious about selling the i-MiEV in North America. On Tuesday, the automaker released the first photos of a North American-spec version, ahead of its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.
As expected it’s bigger — in every direction. Visually, the North American i-MiEV has bigger bumpers in the front and back. It is 11 inches longer than the Japanese version, to bring it to roughly the length of a Mini. It’s also 4.3 inches wider, though only a tad taller (the Japanese i-MiEV has decent headroom to begin with). The i-MiEV seats four.
Last year, Shin Kurihara, president and chief executive of Mitsubishi’s North American operations, said at the New York Auto Show that the i-MiEV had a range of 75-100 miles. It is powered by a 16 kilowatt hour lithium ion battery, which takes 14 hours to fully charge through a 110-volt electrical outlet. With a 220-volt outlet, the charge time is cut in half. The electric motor makes the equivalent of 63 horsepower.