October 12, 2006 Mitsubishi will display a new research vehicle, the Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV) at the 22nd International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium & Expo (EVS-22) in Yokohama later this month. The next-generation "i MiEV" electric vehicle will be used for joint research programmes with power companies that will conduct field tests, gather data and evaluate the commercial viability of the vehicle. Based on MMC's "i" mini-car, it is powered by a compact and lightweight motor and high-energy density lithium-ion batteries which replace the i's rear-midship combustion engine and surprisingly few modifications were required in the conversion. Unlike previous Mitsubishi elevctric vehicles, the I MiEV uses a single 47 kW motor to drive both rear wheels instead of four in-wheel electric motors. The car has a top speed of 130 km/h
i MiEV is the third EV of MMC's MiEV series. Based on the i minicar platform, i MiEV replaces the conventional engine and fuel tank with a lithium-ion battery system, motor, inverter and other EV components in the rear-midship layout.
There are two main advantages of the rear-midship layout: increased cabin space and plenty of space for the EV power train. The layout enables the power-train to be placed in front of the rear axle line, which ensures ample cabin space for passengers (4-occupant capacity). It also provides ample space for battery storage, which could achieve the desired daily driving range of a number of customers. An on-board charger allows the vehicle to be changed ordinary electric outlets.
In addition to the high practical values, i MiEV displays higher performance levels than the base model in some categories. For example, i MiEV shows stronger torque, quieter noise and less vibration, which are natural advantages of EVs.
MMC will begin joint research with Tokyo Electric Power Company, and The Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc., in November 2006 and with Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd., in January 2007. MMC will provide each power company with i MiEVs. By testing i MiEV, the power companies will evaluate how the vehicle is applied to their business and how a fast-charge infrastructure may be developed for EVs.
In the autumn of 2007, MMC will begin fleet testing in order to verify the vehicle's technical capabilities in daily use and to evaluate the commercial acceptance in collaboration with the power companies above along with, the Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd., and Hokuriku Electric Power Company. MMC will provide the power companies with i MiEVs for the fleet tests. The data collected from the test of daily use shall be used to assess the commercial viability of EVs in the market place.