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Sydney show: Mitsubishi injects Sport into i-MiEV

Not just a pretty face: Mitsubishi's i-MiEV Sport is claimed to offer a zero-emissions battery range of up to 200km.

Mitsubishi powers up its pioneering electric car with the i-MiEV Sport concept

Mitsubishi logo15 Oct 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

MITSUBISHI used this morning’s Sydney motor show opening to underline the recent release of Australia’s first factory electric vehicle, the i-MiEV, by staging the local debut of a higher-performance coupe version dubbed the i-MiEV Sport.

The pioneering battery-powered five-door micro-hatch was launched in Australia in August, and more than 100 examples will have been leased to a range of corporate, academic and government ‘foundation’ customers by the end of this year.

Mitsubishi said the three-door i-MiEV Sport ‘coupe’ concept – first seen at the 2007 Tokyo motor show – provides a glimpse into its electric vehicle future, by employing a more powerful electric drive system to power all four wheels underneath its lighter, sleeker and more sporting two-door body.

While the 970kg Sport concept retains the 1080kg i-MiEV hatch’s mid-mounted 47kW/180Nm electric motor to drive its rear wheels, it adds a 20kW/250Nm permanent magnetic synchronous motor in each front wheel to deliver a total torque output of 680Nm.

21 center imageFrom top: Mitsubishi Outlander 2WD, Mitsubishi Triton Club Cab, Mitsubishi Pajero Platinum.

No acceleration figures are quoted, but the i-MiEV Sport is claimed to have a top speed of 180km/h – well up on the i-MiEV’s electronically limited maximum of 130km/h.

It offers zero-emissions driving of up to 200km (up from 160km) with a fully charged lithium-ion battery pack, which is augmented by roof-mounted photovoltaic solar cells and a power-generating fan in the grille Riding on futuristic 17-inch alloy wheels, the i-MiEV has an aluminium spaceframe and measures 3450mm long, 1600mm wide and only 1400mm high.

Mitsubishi says the cab-forward i-MiEV fastback “promises genuine sporting capabilities” while “maximising the sporty possibilities of the zero-emissions electric vehicle” to deliver high levels of both environmental and running performance.

“The focus for our display here at the show is on innovation and technology, and the i-MiEV Sport shows that, at Mitsubishi, electric vehicles have taken the next step forward,” said Mitsubishi Motors Australia president and CEO Masahiko Takahashi. “They have the performance possibilities to make them a whole lot of fun.” While the 2+2-seat i-MiEV Sport has not been confirmed for production, Mitsubishi has ruled out the release of its small i-MiEV Cargo delivery van in Australia in the near term.

As part of a commitment to fit its entire SUV range with plug-in hybrid power, and in line with its forecast that 20 per cent of all Mitsubishis sold will be hybrid or all-electric, the next-generation Outlander is expected to emerge in 2013 as Mitsubishi’s first plug-in hybrid model, based on the PX-MiEV compact SUV concept.

For the record, the i-MiEV Sport also features power-saving LED lighting, regenerative braking, heat-absorbing window glass and unique plant-based Green Plastic resin technologies, as well as an ‘S-AWC’ (Super All Wheel Control) vehicle dynamics system comprising ‘E-4WD’ to electronically optimise the output of all three motors and a new E-AYC (Electric Active Yaw Control) system to directly regulate torque at the left and right rear wheels, plus electronic stability control and ABS brakes.

Mitsubishi’s Australian International Motor Show exhibit also played host to three new recent commercial vehicle releases – a more flexible Triton Club Cab variant, an added-value Pajero Platinum Edition and a sub-$30,000 Outlander 2WD (see separate stories).

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