JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – It’s been 10 years since Mitsubishi Motors launched its zero-emissions i-MiEV city car, the automotive foundation for what, the company says, ”paved the way for the automotive industry’s seismic shift towards mass-produced electric vehicles”.
During that decade the i-MiEV has gained a reputation for eco performance, silent running, driving performance and environmental economy. As Mitsubishi says: ”The i-MiEV has won a high profile not only for its environmental credentials but also for its visibility in government use in many countries.
”They are also used as taxis and in car-rental fleets and have proved important at times of disaster when petrol was unavailable.”
GLOBAL SALES HAVE TOPPED 31 000
The i-MiEV’s propulsion system has also be used in a commercial vehicle released in 2011 and badged Minicab MiEV. Still to be delivered are 1200 units for Japan Post in September 2019. ”Although small,” Mitsu says, ”the Minicab MiEV is spacious enough to be useful for urban deliveres.”
Combined i-MiEV and Minicab MiEV global sales have topped 31 000 units through the 10 years since the launch (as at end April 2019).
The i-MiEV also accelerated MMC’s research into and development of EV powertrains now used (since 2013) by the Outlander PHEV – a petrol/battery vehicle that’s been Europe’s best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle thruogh the past four years (2015-2018)*1.
The i-MiEV’s 16kW battery and compact, rear-mounted, electric motor gave the car a range of about 160km and ”excellent” performance. ”The car’s compact dimensions,” Mitsu says, ”are perfect for the city but clever packaging has created interior space for four people.”
ONE DAY, PERHAPS, SA WILL HAVE THEM
Amid rising demand for EVs, MMC is working on the commercialisation of V2H and V2G (vehicle-to-grid) to further develop and promote EVs and plug-in hybrids. The company says it sees this as another step towards pioneering a new age defined by an integrated relationship between automobiles and humans, society, and the environment.
Nic Campbell, general manager of Mitsubishi Motors SA, told The Corner in a media release: “We’re excited to celebrate 10 years of the i-MiEV and its battery technology. Although Mitsubishi SA doesn’t sell these vehicles we recognise the exponential growth in the uptake of electric vehicles globally.
”That will, surely, affect South Africa significantly.”