2012 Mitsubishi i Electric Car Owners Speak Up: Pros And Cons

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Pre-production, US spec.

Pre-production, US spec.

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There might not be many on U.S. roads--less than a thousand in total--but Mitsubishi's 'i' electric car is one of the few all-electric cars on sale at the moment, and has a small, dedicated band of owners only too happy to sing its praises.

Someone has to, that's for sure, as reviews for the little electric bubble haven't been overly positive.

But what do owners actually think of the car they use day-to-day? What would they keep, and what would they change?

We've scoured the owner forums to find a selection of the most common pros and cons for drivers of the 'i'.

The range doesn't seem to matter

One of the heaviest criticisms of the 'i' has been its low range. Some reviews have baulked at figures of under 60 miles in certain driving conditions.

While that's no doubt off-putting for some electric car fans and might be hindering sales, the inevitable truth is that if you can live with this sort of range, then it really isn't a problem. Wherever owners are charging, they're clearly finding the car's range suitable to meet their needs.

Sure, it's not the only car for many owners, but it covers their most frequent journeys just fine. And some owners are still getting over 70 miles just fine.

Positive vibes?

Some people might be a little self-conscious about driving the car about, but many owners seem to find that reactions vary between the positive and the indifferent--rarely anything truly negative.

That applies to both the looks and the electric propulsion. The looks do a good job of drawing people in, at which point they find out it's electric, and the questions start. Some are shocked by the limited range, others impressed by just how cheap it is to "fill" the car with electricity...

It's pretty energy-efficient...

The Mitsubishi 'i' may not have the greatest range of any EV currently on sale, but it still sits up at the top of the EPA's "fuel" efficiency list, on 112 miles per gallon equivalent. That's indicative of how little energy it takes to move a small, relatively lightweight car on narrow tires.

Some owners have even quantified this by measuring power draw and regeneration. In one thread on the MyiMiEV.com forum, users have measured the current at different points on the energy meter. One user, JoeS, took readings of 45A at the first third, 95A at the second, and 154A at the maximum.

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Comments (24)
  1. As a onetime inferential statistician, as well as an observer of human behavior, I can say that when a new technology has arrived, be it PC computers, cellphones, whatever, the opinions of enthusiastic early adopters must be taken with a grain of salt : they are less likely to voice complaints than those who follow later on. Part of it is because people often don't like to admit that they had overrated the product, and part of it is to not appear to have been taken, since the first new technology products are usually pricey. What's needed for product research (companies want to know the truth so they can avoid spending a lot of money pushing a product that will flop) are test subjects with no opinion of the product, good or bad.

  2. Interesting.

  3. I'm aware of these factors Kent, though it's worth asking the question of whether owners of the 'i' are *likely* to find much to complain about in a car they do relatively short distances in.

    There were occasional things that 'i' owners didn't seem to like, but never in great enough quantities to assume that all owners felt the same way. In contrast, the selection of points raised above seemed to be generally consensual.

  4. Interesting and realistic take you have. Wonder how well it applies to LEAFers now, given the battery issues and Nissan's stonewalling.

  5. There are more comments in this thread
  6. Antony (no "h"),
    Thanks for putting this great article together. You don't hear much about the "i". It is nice to know what is going on with it.
    John C. Briggs

  7. Thanks John. Ideally, I'd like to hear from 'i' owners directly rather than plunder their collected thoughts from a forum, but they're harder to track down than Leaf, Volt or Tesla owners!

  8. Here's one owner... Have had the Miev for about three months now. When comparing the electrics "back then", I liked the roominess and versitility of the inside. It's range is perfect for our needs around town. It's a pleasant little car to drive - peppy and quiet.

    Another big consideration was the future. The Miev has the backing of Mitusbishi -a huge company with lots of resources. They are strong in automotives, electrical equipment, and own their battery company. They have recently reiterated their comittment to electrics and hybrid technology. They will be around in 10 years - how about the other electric makers?

    In summary, I love the car and look forward to many "free years" of driving. (We have our own solar)

    No regrets !

  9. Nice! I hope to be in your shoes someday.

  10. Thanks for your comments John - interesting to read.

  11. Good luck to you John but you may be wrong about Mitsu. Their automotive division has been in shambles for years and their switch to EVs and some hybrids is their last hope to stay around past this decade. Mitsu will have to do better with the IMiev or other new EVs soon or be road kill as the big guys get their EV groove on later this decade.

    Ford, Nissan, and Toyota aren't going anywhere regardless of how their current EVs do on the market. Perhaps you are referring to Telsa or Coda. Coda will for sure be code blue within a few years but Telsa will likely survive and thrive in one way or another for many years, decades to come.

  12. I purchased my i about a month ago after test driving the Volt. I previously owned a smart car. I love the i for its open cabin and simplicity. Its range remaining algorithm is spot on and I routinely have a range in the mid eighties. Like the smart car I wish they hadn't used narrower front tires which does affect the cornering and stability but that is really my only negative. I highly recommend this car.

  13. Thanks for the feedback Dan, nice to see some 'i' owners coming out of the woodwork!

    As with the smart, the narrow front tires do have a noble cause, as tall-ish, narrow vehicles like the 'i' and fortwo aren't the most likely to keep four wheels on the asphalt in hard avoidance maneuvers. The makers have wisely decided that a bit of push at the front is better than potentially rolling!

  14. Dan clearly the i is geared towards effeciency rather then sport however Car and Driver experimented with different tires on the Leaf and found that by switch the tires you could make the Leaf a lot more fun to drive. Have any i owners done similar experimenting?

  15. Like the car. It all about price.

  16. You must be logged in to post your comment.yes i own one. i drive it 60 miles each day. fantastic car.

  17. I think it is important to note that the battery in the "i" is lithium titanate, and therefore has extreme life cycles and fast charge capability. This can be fast charged as often as you like without worry of battery degradation.

  18. I don't own a MIEV, but I am interested in it.

    I have 2 questions and 2 comments.

    1. How does the car handle on the hwy with a lot of wind and high speed cornering? I am curious since the the Miev looks fairly tall and narrow.

    2. Has anyone from AZ check the battery life issue? MIEV is using a fan cooled battery pack. Under high AZ heat and faster charging, will the heat cause any permanent damage like the Leaf?


    I checked the price of the standard EVSE. The dealer wants $1,380. That is EXPENSIVE in comparing with Volt, Leaf and Focus EV's stand EVSE.

    I check the performance number of the MIEV. It feels a bit "under powered" to me especially under a full load.

  19. Hi - There is a great deal of baloney rewritten in the press lately about charging EVs. Everyone seems to be saying you must have an EVSE (Electric Vehicle Service Equipment - i.e. a dedicated mains connection point) for your EV. This is nonsense. EVRERY production EV thus far can be charged from an ordinary domestic socket - but - be prepared for a wait if you do so. A full charge of the iMiev at 110V would take about 10 hours. But if you only do the 35-odd miles a day that the average driver does this would fall to only 4 hours or so. Treat it like your mobile phone and plug it in when you gat home and you just don't have to worry about it. It'll be fully charged and ready to go again in the morning.

  20. Antony, Thank you for the well researched (with links) article. It makes a change. MW.

  21. I'm not an owner just yet, but should be in a few weeks - per my dealer (who finally got the VIN), the car's built and ready for transfer to port, should leave Japan by the end of the month. So I've been one of those waiting on an order, but the local dealer doesn't have them on the lot. I don't understand why Mitsu shipped unsold cars to sit as white elephants at dealerships in California or Oregon before fulfilling all their preorders (my order was placed 4 months ago), thereby annoying both customers and dealers.

  22. Compared to the LEAF, I really liked the i-MiEV's simplicity, utility, and value. I've only seen a few reviews that mirrored my initial reaction on sitting in the car - this is the EV equivalent of the original VW Beetle or Citroen 2CV, which is exactly what I wanted. What pushed me across the finish line was Mitsu's decision to offer the L3 charge port on the base model for $700; it strikes me as an important option to leave open for the future, and Nissan only offers it in a car that costs nearly $7500 more. Yes, the LEAF's a spiffier package, but for that kind of money, just how much entertainment or luxury do I really need for a short commute or a shopping run?

  23. On the utility side, I'd note the i-MiEV sits four adults in reasonable comfort (the back seat has real space, though it's a pretty thin seat cushion), and a "magic" 13+ cu.ft. trunk (cuz from the interior and the outside it's hard to see where that much space could be hiding - 30% more than a Volt!). Fold those seats down (which a Volt can't) for a small-SUV's worth of cargo capacity - over 50 cu.ft. w/a full-width level floor (unlike the LEAF or Focus-E). I expect this to be our main weekend car as well as my commuter, good for any shopping or entertainment, since we live in a town with a small footprint. To leave town, we have a 2005 Prius, which is about to get a lot less use.

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