Skip advert
Advertisement

Mitsubishi i-MiEV: first report

What’s it like to live with an electric car? We’re about to find out, with the latest addition to our fleet...

  • The narrow body and tall stance may look ungainly, but in the i-MiEV you can see over other cars and fit through small gaps. There’s one slip road on my route home which is always jammed, and I’ve found I can filter up the side in the slim i-MiEV. That’s probably not making me very popular with other motorists though! Add the instant power delivery and there’s nothing else on four wheels that’s as good for scything through traffic.
  • The cream leather dash was a mistake. It reflects so badly in the windscreen that, in bright sunlight, the only way you can see out is to cover it with something dark – such as the car’s floor mats. Why did I have it fitted? And why did Mitsubishi not stop me? Also, the finish of the dash trim feels a bit ‘aftermarket’, and the Kenwood stereo is a little fiddly to use compared to some manufacturer-fitted items on other vehicles.
Find your Mitsubishi I-MiEV
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Hassle-free way to a brand new car
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

Is an electric motor really a viable alternative to the good old internal-combustion engine? To find out, I’ve grabbed the keys to the latest addition to the Auto Express long-term fleet – a Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Over the next three months I’ll be running the battery-powered machine as my only car to see what living with an electric vehicle is really like.

Advertisement - Article continues below

And when I say ‘only’ car, I mean exactly that. Obviously, working at Auto Express I’d normally have a lot of different vehicles at my disposal. But in the name of science, I’m going to be banned from driving any of them for 12 whole weeks. Any trip I undertake that isn’t for a specific review, I will use the i-MiEV.

If for some reason it’s not up to a particular task, whether due to the limited range, small size or because I forgot to charge it, my only alternative will be public transport or a vehicle rental.

I’ll be keeping a log of any such costs to calculate whether electric cars really do save you money in the long term. Thankfully, things have got off to a fine start. The i-MiEV’s eco-friendly credentials mean it’s exempt from central London’s Congestion Charge – although I did have to pay £10 to register it. However, I haven’t spent a single penny on fuel yet, as my local underground car park has free-to-use charge points. There’s even a discount on the parking itself, as an annual season ticket for an electric car costs £1,600 instead of £3,500.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

In terms of the drive, the i-MiEV is proving to be the perfect town car. The instant response from the motor allows you to zip ahead of traffic, while the narrow body means you can squeeze through gaps which are normally reserved for motorbikes.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Mitsubishi has also been getting a lot of attention, but that is mainly due to the matt black wrap I’ve had applied to the body. I thought the menacing finish would be a nice juxtaposition to the car’s goody-two-shoes image.

It’s part of a personalisation package offered on the i-MiEV, although I admit I got carried away when ticking the box for the £3,200 cream leather interior. While it looks good on the seats, and certainly brightens up the i-MiEV’s otherwise drab cabin, the light-coloured dash has already proven a massive mistake. It reflects so badly in the windscreen that when I collected the car from Mitsubishi Putney I had to cover the dash with the dark floor mats in order to see where I was going.

Over the next 12 weeks I will let you know how I deal with this, and what it’s like living with an electric car.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

“This isn’t a car for shy and retiring types. During a drive around London, the matt black machine attracted more attention than a supercar. However, the smooth and silent power delivery make it the perfect urban companion, while the tall cabin is surprisingly spacious. I’m not sure about the cream leather trim, though....”

Owen Mildenhall, senior road tester

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed
Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 - EQS badge
News

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed

Mercedes will roll back EQ branding for its electric cars as the first generation of EV models reaches the end of its lifecycle.
15 May 2024
Ooh la la: new DS flagship to get inspiration from world’s coolest car
DS flagship - exclusive image
News

Ooh la la: new DS flagship to get inspiration from world’s coolest car

The iconic Citroen DS was voted the world’s coolest car by our readers and now DS is aiming for the same success with its new premium flagship
15 May 2024
Ultra-exclusive Morgan Midsummer speedster is a hot ticket for the hot weather
Morgan Midsummer - front
News

Ultra-exclusive Morgan Midsummer speedster is a hot ticket for the hot weather

Morgan has teamed up with Pininfarina to create the Midsummer, just 50 examples of which will be built – and they’re all sold
16 May 2024