Will 2011 be the Year of the Electric Car? Mitsubishi just announced that they will sell an upgraded i-MiEV for less than $30,000 sans the $7,500 federal tax credit complete with improved standard features and better interior. Take that, Nissan Leaf. The tiny car – it looks like a Fiat Siecento – obviously is aimed at the Smart car set and folks who may not need to go far in their twee little car.
The i-MiEV tops out at about 80MPH (at least in the gas version) and has a range of 80 miles. It charges over 12-14 hours and can “fast charge” from zero to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Instead of having one electric motor, each wheel is independently powered somewhat like the Moon Rover of Apollo fame. This arrangement allows for four wheel drive without the need for a transmission, driveshafts or any other complex, and also heavy, components while also freeing up interior space.
No hard release date or price yet, but a sub-$30K price should make the sub-compact EV a bit more relevant in a a Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt world.