PV1
Site Moderator
Posts: 2921
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:22 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Contact: Website

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:30 am

I think a lot of "professional" reviewers instantly have this negative attitude towards the i-MiEV simply because it's a Mitsubishi. Exhibit A. Reading a review on the Honda Fit EV, they couldn't say enough good things about it, including the handy remote you get to set charging timers, activate pre-conditioning, and check the charge of the car. Except for a numeric SoC instead of 3 bars, the remote is IDENTICAL to the MiEV remote, which gets bashed left and right by nearly everybody.

There are almost an equal number of bad reviews on the Mirage, but yet I see those everywhere. Anymore, when I talk to people about the i-MiEV, I tell them to ignore the "professional" reviews and read customer reviews instead. They are more truthful.

The i-MiEV may not be whizbang with features, but it's truly innovative when used daily. My favorite, un-mentioned features are:

1. Auto Low beams - when turning on the headlights, regardless of their setting before, default to low-beams. I wish every car out there had this.
2. Speed sensitive variable speed wipers - the faster you go, the faster the wipers' delay setting without changing the setting.
3. 3-blink tap - just tapping the turn signal stalk into the left or right position will blink the signal 3 times.
4. Full manual control of the HVAC system - Unlike other vehicles, I can direct air wherever I want with or without the fan or AC on. the recirculator will function even with the system off.
5. ASC - Other than trying to play with tire sizes, works very well. It's quite difficult to spin out in the winter with ASC on.
"Bear" - 2012 Diamond White Pearl ES with QC - 2/21/2013
Solar-powered since 10/10/2013

"Koorz" - 2012 Cool Silver Metallic ES with QC - 1/5/2015

2017 Bolt EV LT in Orange with QC - 7/31/2017

Driving electric since 2-21-2013.

JoeS
Site Moderator
Posts: 3508
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:47 am
Location: Los Altos Hills, California

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:19 pm

Happened again! Talking with an interested bystander who had obviously been doing his homework - he brought up the Consumer Reports review! I am afraid that that single article did more damage to i-MiEV sales than all the other silly negative reviews combined! Pathetic, really.
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV

Vike
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 pm
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:28 pm

JoeS wrote:Happened again! Talking with an interested bystander who had obviously been doing his homework - he brought up the Consumer Reports review! I am afraid that that single article did more damage to i-MiEV sales than all the other silly negative reviews combined! Pathetic, really.
It was very destructive, especially because of network effects. CR's take was quoted and re-quoted, referenced in many survey articles listing EVs or (egads) Worst Cars. CR delivered the i-MiEV another kick in the crotch last December, bothering to include a car that barely exists (in part thanks to them) on their "Worst Cars of 2015" list. It really feels like a vendetta.

This matters because of the atmosphere that CR created and maintained around the i-MiEV. While the car's buyers understood its limitations and didn't care because of their use cases, many people regarding a 66hp micro-car with <80 mi. total range considered its presence in an American market dominated by <20mpg SUVs inexplicable. Surely this was a huge mistake, a vehicle for environmental extremists or lunatics? CR's ongoing hatchet job fed into this narrative, and unanswered by a MMNA that seemed embarrassed by the car, in many ways helped frame the conversation. I find it amazing that an organization founded on principles of clear-eyed frugality and value insisted on misunderstanding or ignoring the i-MiEV's obvious virtues, instead complaining that it didn't accelerate like a sports car or ride like a Lexus or have the range to make cross-country travel feasible, etc. Frankly, it's a story that makes the magazine and its reviewers look like simpletons; it's certainly devalued their opinion on almost everything in my eyes.

The i-MiEV is and always has been a unique proposition, never trying to deliver a car for 100% of the market, but focused on its mission of cost-effective electric transport. Even with today's technology, batteries are a huge cost, and the i-MiEV was designed to provide a comfortable and useful pure EV using a battery pack no larger than those in PHEVs. At $23k, it's extremely affordable for new car buyers, to the point that a case can be made in some households for adding it as a third car, especially given its tiny footprint. It is a capable vehicle for moderate commuting in mild climates, and superb at sustained service in short commutes and/or popping around town for local errands, service that would inflict premature wear and tear on most ICE drivetrains. It can transport four adults without punishing anyone in a market where many cars can't, and its tall hatchback form factor means it has significant trunk space even with that full complement of passengers (anything to say about that, Fiat or Mini?). With the seats down it's a capacious micro-van, a capability I've exploited more than a few times.

Worst of all, CR utterly failed to convey the sheer pleasure of driving the i-MiEV around town. Throttle response in surface street traffic is extraordinary, and the stability of its bottom-heavy configuration combined with the high seating position and tight turning circle (it feels almost like spinning in place) allow it to navigate real-world driving with more confidence and fun than anything else with its level of utility, much less operating economy. The failure to recognize or report ANY of this is a huge black mark against CR's judgment, a level of incompetence by its reviewers that verges on malpractice. The reality is that I don't give two shakes how a car performs on a test track - I never drive there. The i-MiEV delivers in the real world, where it counts.

The biggest consequence of what CR did to the i-MiEV is that it's unlikely anyone will attempt to bring such a car to the U.S. market again for some time to come. Yes, GM's new Bolt looks mightily impressive and I'd agree gives the BEV its best shot yet at broad market acceptance. But there should also be a place for a BEV that meets the needs of a significant market segment for just over half the Bolt's post-rebate price (yes, think about it - knock $7500 off both and you're at $15.5k vs. $30k). But given the way CR hounded the i-MiEV off the market by being too dimwitted to understand its mission, they've virtually guaranteed that this market segment will now go unserved.

Shame on them.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

wmcbrine
Posts: 350
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:26 am
Location: Laurel, MD
Contact: Website

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:50 pm

There's a bit about the i-MiEV in the current CR (April, the "2016 Annual Auto Issue"). It's not all negative -- it's number two on the overall "Best Mileage" chart (behind only the BMW i3), and it didn't actually make any "worst" lists. ;) In the individual listings, they admit that it's "one of the cheapest all-electric cars available," before starting with the complaints. And although the "overall score" of 45 is pretty low, it's far from the lowest -- e.g., the Mitsubishi Mirage gets a 34.

Vike
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 pm
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:57 pm

wmcbrine wrote:There's a bit about the i-MiEV in the current CR (April, the "2016 Annual Auto Issue"). It's not all negative -- it's number two on the overall "Best Mileage" chart (behind only the BMW i3), and it didn't actually make any "worst" lists. ;) In the individual listings, they admit that it's "one of the cheapest all-electric cars available," before starting with the complaints. And although the "overall score" of 45 is pretty low, it's far from the lowest -- e.g., the Mitsubishi Mirage gets a 34.
Your point being?

On what conceivable basis would you say the i-MiEV "didn't actually make any 'worst' lists"? I cited a specific example of exactly that -- did you think I made that up? For the record, here's the URL for CR's "Worst Cars of 2015" list:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cars/worst-cars-of-2015-in-consumer-reports-tests/

The i-MiEV sits unhappily in position #3.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

wmcbrine
Posts: 350
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:26 am
Location: Laurel, MD
Contact: Website

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:43 am

Vike wrote:Your point being?

I'm just trying to find a silver lining. :) I wasn't arguing with you. (Indeed, I wasn't addressing you at all. It was just "Hey, here's what they're saying now.")

On what conceivable basis would you say the i-MiEV "didn't actually make any 'worst' lists"?

I was referring specifically to the current issue.

Benjamin Nead
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:21 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact: Website

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:30 pm

The Consumer Reports review was most unfortunate and it essentially killed off wider enthusiasm that the i-MiEV could have enjoyed these past few years. It also set the pace and i-MiEV-bashing via boutique and bourgeois car reviewers became some sort of curious contact sport ever since. But you have to wonder why anyone from Mitsubishi North America didn’t take the time to read these articles and respond with any sort of meaningful counterpoint. That has largely been left to actual vehicle owners.

The same thing happened in the closing days of 2015, when an online interview with Mitsubishi’s CEO, Osamu Masuko, regarding the company’s North American electric vehicle strategy that was published on November 30th on the Automotive News web site . . .

http://www.autonews.com/article/20151130/OEM02/311309981/mitsubishi--ceo-promises--an-electrified-u.s.-rebound

It’s clearly stated there that “no dedicated electric vehicle to replace the subcompact i-MiEV” was forthcoming. Within days, though, some clueless “journalist” took those words and completely twisted them around, stating erroneously that the i-MiEV was to be dropped from the North American lineup. What followed over the next month was a succession of “me too” online articles, spreading this false news wide and far. Worse was the sheer vitriol expressed in some of these stories, exclaiming a sort of perverse glee that we would be rid of this car forever. It was a tipping point for me.

Since I had access to Mitsubishi North America via their web site as an i-MiEV owner (the contact form requires entering a VIN when submitting an inquiry,) I simply asked there if the car really was slated to be discontinued and if the litany of recent online stories had any credence. The response I received late December was as follows . . .

"Thank you for emailing Mitsubishi Motors North America. Mitsubishi Motors has no plans to discontinue the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. At this time, there is no information about the 2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV.”

So, I did respond to a couple these online articles. First came Steve Hanley’s at GAS2, which adds insult to injury in showing a photo of the much smaller Japanese/European variant when attempting to discuss the fate of the North American model (you can spot an i-MiEV greenhorn right away if they get this wrong) . . .

http://gas2.org/2015/12/07/mitsubishi-i-miev-dropped-from-us-line-up/

My more pointed and longer first comment actually tripped the site’s censor software and it perpetually hung in “awaiting moderation” mode. So, I typed up a quicker one that finally stuck. As for Steve, a quick review of the bio displayed on his blog shows him to be essentially a nostalgic 20th century gasoline-powered performance car guy who is trying to write about 21st century electric commuter cars. I doubt if he has even driven an i-MiEV.

And then there was the exchange I had with Brad Berman at the Plug-In-Cars blog a couple weeks later. Brad, who is generally a bit more enlightened than many, was a big enough guy to admit that he got the story wrong. Still, he seemed to also imply that he was basically capable of predicting the future (ie: the i-MiEV was going to get cancelled one day anyway, so why is it such a big deal to say so in advance?) At that point, I had no qualms in regards to reply again, with a more pointed accusation of poorly researched journalism . . .

http://www.plugincars.com/mitsubishi-kills-imiev-prepares-plug-suvs-131233.html

But, here again, why is this corrective and punitive task with the online EV pseudo-cognoscenti being left up to someone like me - the owner of a used i-MiEV - and not anyone from Mitsubishi North American? You’d think that somebody there is actually reading this stuff and wanting to set the record straight.
Benjamin Nead / Tucson, Arizona, USA
Secretary: Tucson Electric Vehicle Association (EAA chapter)

North American 2012 i-MiEV SE / Pearl White /CHAdeMO
Aka: "The Vanilla Jellybean"
Purchased used in Nov. 2015 @ ~18,000 miles

Vike
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 pm
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:27 pm

wmcbrine wrote:
Vike wrote:Your point being?

I'm just trying to find a silver lining. :) I wasn't arguing with you. (Indeed, I wasn't addressing you at all. It was just "Hey, here's what they're saying now.")

On what conceivable basis would you say the i-MiEV "didn't actually make any 'worst' lists"?

I was referring specifically to the current issue.

Yeah, that's my bad. As for what "worst" list(s) you were talking about, your wording wasn't specific and the winking emoji might be taken to imply snark, so I interpreted it as taking exception to my argument that "CR's got it in for the i-MiEV and that's something they have to answer for."

Hot button issue for me - sorry for the friendly fire.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

Vike
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 pm
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:12 pm

Benjamin Nead wrote:The same thing happened in the closing days of 2015, when an online interview with Mitsubishi’s CEO, Osamu Masuko, regarding the company’s North American electric vehicle strategy that was published on November 30th on the Automotive News web site . . .

http://www.autonews.com/article/20151130/OEM02/311309981/mitsubishi--ceo-promises--an-electrified-u.s.-rebound

It’s clearly stated there that “no dedicated electric vehicle to replace the subcompact i-MiEV” was forthcoming. Within days, though, some clueless “journalist” took those words and completely twisted them around, stating erroneously that the i-MiEV was to be dropped from the North American lineup. What followed over the next month was a succession of “me too” online articles, spreading this false news wide and far.

-- snip --

. . . . why is this corrective and punitive task with the online EV pseudo-cognoscenti being left up to someone like me - the owner of a used i-MiEV - and not anyone from Mitsubishi North American? You’d think that somebody there is actually reading this stuff and wanting to set the record straight.
Thanks for the links, Ben - fun to read, and kudos for a spirited defense of our favorite rolling egg. Good to read you again!

I won't go over it all again, but the U.S.-spec i-MiEV is far and away the most mysterious EV on the planet. Mitsubishi's behavior with respect to their clever little bugger of an EV has gone from one inexplicable choice to the next, from its inception to its current "is this for sale or not?" status. Near as I can figure, the project was greenlighted in Japan without consulting the American "car guys" at MMNA, and when they finally saw it, they thought like Steve Hanley that the i-MiEV "fit the needs of so few American drivers, it was largely irrelevant - as almost any Kai [sic] car would be. Great car for Catalina Island, though." And with that attitude, they predictably starved it of any and all marketing effort or advertising support, for the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy. Everyone I've met who knows about the i-MiEV either works for my Mitsubishi dealer or heard it from me.

As to the validity of the Hanley assessment, I can only say, "Catalina Island my ass." The i-MiEV isn't some golf cart, it's a highway-legal NHTSA-conformant AUTOMOBILE, which is exactly the point. Right now, for what some Sun City and Villages residents pay to drive what are in fact dolled up golf carts, you can buy an actual brand-new fully street-legal ELECTRIC CAR, with room for four and a trunk and A/C and power windows, etc. - you know, ACTUAL CAR stuff. When nearly 70% of daily commutes are under 30 miles round trip, what exactly is "irrelevant" about an electric vehicle with over 60 miles of range? MMNA has only itself to blame for the i-MiEV's poor sales - customers won't buy what you don't sell.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

Benjamin Nead
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:21 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact: Website

Re: Consumer Reports Got It So Wrong!

Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:24 pm

Good to talk to you again as well, Vike. I think we last ran into each other last year, when there was a particularly (rare) well-written appraisal of the i-MiEV over on Green Car Reports. Glad to hear you're still driving your "Jellybean," as I seem to remember then that your considering moving on to something else. As you can see, I finally stopped dreaming/wishing and I'm now driving one of my own.

True to form with what we're talking about here, though, I was staring out the window this morning and noticed the neighbor's cat walking up to my car and . . . ah um . . . marking his territory on the front bumper! Now, my two felines are far too polite and cultured to do anything like that. But it just goes to show you that the i-MiEV continues to be the Rodney Dangerfield of electric cars, even in the world of house pets: no respect. :cry:

Quick change of topics: If anyone here wants to read some interesting i-MiEV history, it should be mentioned that there is a chapter devoted to Mitsubishi's development of the car and other Japanese EV developments in the volume The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future by Levi Tillemann . . .

http://www.amazon.com/The-Great-Race-Global-Future/dp/1476773491

One of the things I discovered from reading the i-MiEV history presented there was that the car's debut coincided with the Fukashima disaster of early 2011 and, because of the close association between Mitsubishi and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO,) much of what would have been a grander public rollout was subdued and muddled. This could go a long way in explaining the rather lopsided US debut.

The other piece of historical trivia I wasn't previously aware of but learned from the book was that Subaru was developing a small EV of its own, the R1e . . .

Image

. . . at the same time as the i-MiEV (2009 time frame.) What happened with this one was interesting. Subaru was getting their lithium batteries from NEC and, when the much larger Nissan Corporation suddenly came up with the Leaf and went full on with that, NEC could no longer guarantee a reliable supply of batteries to the much smaller Subaru. Hence, the R1e never got much further than the concept car stage. The i-MiEV's saving grace is that it had its batteries come from GS Yuasa.
Benjamin Nead / Tucson, Arizona, USA
Secretary: Tucson Electric Vehicle Association (EAA chapter)

North American 2012 i-MiEV SE / Pearl White /CHAdeMO
Aka: "The Vanilla Jellybean"
Purchased used in Nov. 2015 @ ~18,000 miles

Return to “iMiev Reviews”