Mitsubishi i MiEV

Japanese firm charges into the city car sector with new battery-powered baby.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

There’s much to like about the i MiEV. It’s quick, quiet and fun to drive. What’s more, the electric motor is mounted under the boot floor, so there’s no compromise on space. The big downside is range. Even in Eco mode, it will cover only 100 miles before it needs a recharge, so it’s best-suited to urban motoring. However, it’s as close to a usable electric city car as we have come so far.

When it comes to city cars, the Splash is the future for Suzuki – but can the same be said of Mitsubishi’s new i? Powered solely by electricity, it doesn’t emit any CO2 on the move and sprints from 0-60mph five seconds quicker than the petrol version.

Called the i MiEV (which stands for Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle), the car goes on sale in Japan next year and could make it here after that. Auto Express took a drive to see if it really is a glimpse of tomorrow’s world 

Apart from the stickers and a plug-in socket, the exterior is identical to the regular i. Inside, the only changes are the addition of a battery meter, while the auto box is swapped for a selector with two modes – Drive and Eco.

Out goes the 660cc three-cylinder turbo petrol engine and in comes an electric motor running off lithium-ion batteries spread underneath the seats.

Power is identical to the petrol car, at 63bhp, but torque is up from 85Nm to 180Nm. Response is instantaneous, and the i races from 0-60mph in less than nine seconds in virtual silence.

Despite carrying an extra 180kg, it actually handles better than the petrol model, thanks to a lower centre of gravity, and it rides comfortably. Drive hard, though, and the batteries will run out within one hour – which is where Eco mode comes in.

This drops power to 42bhp, and Mitsubishi claims you can travel 100 miles before recharging. Choose the special quick-charge mode, and you can refill the batteries to 80 per cent capacity in half an hour. Or plug in at home, where it takes 14 hours.

Most Popular

New Range Rover Sport ride review
New Range Rover Sport - front tracking
Road tests

New Range Rover Sport ride review

We get taken for a blast around Goodwood motor circuit in the new Range Rover Sport
27 Jun 2022
New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots
MG roadster exclusive image - front
News

New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots

The all-electric two-seat MG sports car is poised to follow the likes of the MG TF and MGB, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
23 Jun 2022
Volkswagen Taigo vs Toyota C-HR: 2022 twin test review
Volkswagen Taigo vs Toyota C-HR - header
Car group tests

Volkswagen Taigo vs Toyota C-HR: 2022 twin test review

Small coupé-SUVs go head to head, as the new Volkswagen Taigo takes on the Toyota C-HR
25 Jun 2022