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The Mercury Cars Guide : April 10th 2010
12--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, April 10, 2010 Mitsubishi plugs its electric car ELECTRIFYING: You can expect to hear a lot about Mitsubishi's iMiEV this year. Motoring in 2010 is bound to be electrifying'' and Mistubish will lead the way. Mark Hinchliffe reports GET ready to hear a lot more about EVs and the ''eye-meev''. EV stands for electric vehicles, such as Mitsubishi's i-MiEV (pronounced ''eye-meev''), which the company is taking around Australia on a roadshow to promote awareness. Mitsubishi Motors Australia cor- porate affairs vice-president Paul Stevenson says the i-MiEV is an electric version of an ''i'' car available in petrol mode in Japan. ''We're not saying this is the sort of thing you can jump into and drive to Sydney,'' Stevenson says. ''It's just a small four-seater commuter.'' It was the first full-production EV available in the Japanese market last year and is now being introduced in the UK and Europe with the US targeted later this year. The car will probably be available in Australia next year, although Stevenson says the timetable for its showroom debut is yet to be decided. Mitsubishi is taking several ve- hicles around the country, starting in Queensland, briefing key govern- ment, media, fleet and other stake- holders in each state and allowing them short 20-minute CBD test drives. ''The Queensland Office of Clean Energy was one of the first to contact us as they were concerned about EVs causing an energy grid drain,'' he says. The next stage of the planned introduction of the i-MiEV will be longer test drives for stakeholders from June. ''There are a number of electric vehicles out now that are retro fit, but this has been tested and totally produced from scratch,'' he says. ''It is a fully developed EV. ''A lot rides on this car and our brand so we have to get it right.'' The i-MIEV is a rear-wheel-drive car with the electric AC motor in the back and a small luggage space above it.The batteries are under the floor and there is also a cooler for the motor and batteries and a control unit. Mitsubishi claims it has 47kW of power, 180Nm of torque, is limited to 130km/h and has a 160km range on a full charge. It doesn't have a conventional transmission, but a reduction gearbox and has maximum torque from the start to pull the car off the mark. The car can be charged off any 15-amp power outlet from 100-260V, making it truly global. It takes seven hours to charge from empty and because there is no mem- ory in the battery it can be topped up at any time and doesn't need to be discharge first. When it is running out of power, there are the usual ''fuel'' alerts with instruments displaying a turtle. It goes into an energy-saving ''limp- home'' mode when energy is critically low. It comes with a mains plug-in cable and there are mains and fast-charge outlets on either side of the car. A fast charge station can charge the battery to 80 per cent of capacity in 30 minutes, but there are no such facilities yet available in Australia. There are failsafe measures em- ployed to stop motorists driving away while it is still plugged in. Research and development project engineer Ashley Sanders says the company has been producing EVs since 1971. In the 1970s and '80s, Mitsubishi produced the Minica, Minicab, Delica and Minica Econo with lead acid batteries, mainly in response to air pollution concerns. Since then, battery technology has moved through nickel-hydride to lithium-ion. Mitsubishi has produced the Libero, FTO, Eclipse and Colt electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries mainly in response to global warming and oil dependency issues. Mitsubishi began developing the i-MiEV in 2006 and brought a car to Australia last year for certification tests. Stevenson says it was subject to the same test regime as normal cars. He says lithium-ion battery tech- nology has created the biggest leap forward in EV development, making the i-MiEV possible. ''Thirty years years ago 50 per cent of an EV was the lead-acid battery,'' he says. ''Now with lithium-ion we have got to 20 per cent of the car's weight.'' Battery life expectancy is 10 years or 150,000km when the battery will be at about 80 per cent efficiency so it will still operate. ''We haven't got into issues of warranty yet,'' he says. on the road DRIVING an electric vehicle is very similar to driving a conven- tional automatic. I have driven several electric vehicles around the world and while some may appear futuristic on the outside, none has looked dramatically different on the in- side. There is still a steering wheel, the usual controls for wipers and indicators and two pedals on the floor to make it go and stop. Mitsubishi Motors Australia corporate affairs vice-president Paul Stevenson says it is import- ant that EVs appear conventional. We want people to not feel like they're getting into something from the Jetsons,'' he says. Switch on the i-MiEV and there is no engine noise, just lights in the instrument vehicle that ac- knowledge the car is ready to go. Push the throttle pedal and the vehicle takes off. Its throttle is well attenuated for smooth take-offs. In D'' for drive mode, it accel- erates about as fast as any hot hatch around up to about 60km/ h.You can shift to ECO'' for economy mode or B'' for brak- ing mode on the fly. As expected, the small cabin is a tight fit for four adult males, but the seats are big enough and comfortable. It is evident the i-MiEV is perfectly satisfactory as a city car at city speeds. O T - O All prices include GST. Vehicles for illustration purposes only. Ask for full warranty conditions. rice does not include State Government Stamp uty and $ . transfer of re istration applies. o fee is char ed for delivery. HOBART n B u s & H n n s 11 Getz perfect, roomy 4 door auto hatch - Auto, p/steer, airbags, CD, imob/alarm Fact warr to late 2012 or up to 130,000 km Nov 05 Toyota Hi-Ace Hi-Top Fully equipped campervan, 5 spd man, airbags, air cond, p/steer, central lock, incl. flat screen TV + fridge, microwave, gas cook-top + grille, solar panel + much more. Warr. 1992 Ford Econovan Diesel Pop-Top Affordable campervan holidays, 5 speed man with all your kitchen needs - sink, microwave, fridge, plenty of storage - grab your food and gear and take off! Warr. Tiida Fabulous 1.8L Auto cruise ctrl, 4 air bags, pwr windows, air cond, immob/alarm + balance of Fac Warr Sonata 2.4L 4 cyl auto with tiptronic trans -- perfect touring car, ABS, air cond, 6 airbags, all electrics, immob/alarm Fact warr to late 2012 or up to 130,000 km 2007 Nissan Tiida Hatch -- 1.8L 6 spd man with Higher seating position for ease of getting in and out. Air cond, immob/alarm CD, balance off Fac warr. X-trail -- Perfect high ride, spacious cabin with loads of features inclu -- HUGE sunroof + alloys. Warr Grand Carnival -- Smooth 3.8L auto, spacious 8 seater with loads of boot space. Dual air cond, all electrics, reliable family motoring. Accent Fantatic 4 door sedan, auto, p/steer, airbags, CD, immob/alarm, Balance of fact Warr to late 2012 or up to 130,000 km Elantra 2.0 L auto, very spacious cabin, all electrics, ABS, immob/alarm, Fact warr to late 07 or up to 130,000 km 2007 Holden VE Omega Sedan 3.6i, auto, ABS, Electronic stability ctrl, airbags, cruise crtl, CD, alarm/immob, 4 wheel disc brakes, air cond. Balance of Fact Warr. PRICE 5 door From $11990 3 door From $10790 PRICE Just $35990 PRICE From $15490 PRICE From $14990 PRICE From $12590 PRICE From $21890 PRICE From $23690 PRICE From $12490 PRICE Just $14990 PRICE From $14490 PRICE From $18990 2007 Hyundai Getz Hatch and Accent Sedans 2007 Nissan Tiida ST-L Hatch and Hyundai Elantra Sedan Family 4WD and 8 Seater Grand Carnival Wagon A Better Way To Buy A Car We Have a Car For Everyone! 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