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Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:42 pm

Our thoughts, after two months and slightly over two thousand miles…

The iMiEV has more than met our expectations (and I have no vested interest in Mitsubishi) …


We already have long-term electric-vehicle experience: a couple of Corbin Sparrows have been our daily drivers for the past few years …with a usable range of about 25 miles, they're just fine for going into town (5 miles), running around town, and then coming home. In addition, we have a small pickup EV conversion useful for hauling and moving bulky stuff around - its range of 11 miles means we barely get into town and back and back home, but it works for that also. My Eco-Scoot electric scooter is my Lithium-xx battery experimental vehicle and actually gets used weekly to haul our trash/recyle/brush cans to the main road a half-mile away. Finally, my recently-acquired 1965 Saab EV conversion is a work-in-progress (I also own three other old non-electric Saabs). For longer-distance trips, we have our Gen1 Honda Insights, with mine having a lifetime mileage that is now down to 77.5mpg for over 80K miles, and wife Kathy still has her 1983 Toyota wagon with 300K miles that she used primarily to carry her bicycle. With an oversized solar-electric system at home, electric vehicles for us are a no-brainer.

Purchase Decision

I've been waiting for production electric vehicles way too long. Although I've talked a couple of friends into buying the Leaf, for us it is too large and opulent a vehicle. I finally gave up waiting when I found out my primary candidate (Honda Fit EV) was only going to be leased and would only be available (maybe) in limited quantities… I want to BUY, not lease, and have never forgiven GM for that stance on the EV-1 in the mid-90s (just think, I could have been driving my aerodynamic EV-1 all these years)!

The iMiEV attracted us for a number of reasons (in no particular order) -

It is small on the outside, yet very roomy on the inside with the spacious storage area in back with the seats down essentially making it a station wagon.

It has superior control over regen than the Leaf.

It has good exterior visibility, especially when the unused headrests are removed.

It has a wonderfully-tight turning radius … large SUVs jockeying in parking lots make me want to scream…

Its handling is good and it has the latest safety, braking, and vehicle-stabilizing features.

It has good acceleration and highway-cruising abiity … highway merging is never an issue.

It is more efficient than anything else out there.

I ordered the iMiEV as a Christmas present for my wife. Although she enjoyed the attention, she never has been comfortable driving the Sparrow which has no creature-comforts other than rain protection. The bicycle fitting inside the iMiEV was a prerequisite, much to the amusement of the Mitsubishi salesperson when we brought one to try it.

I knew exactly what I was buying, and knew the car better than the salesman…

After Two Months and 2000 Miles

We both love it! It has become our primary daily driver, although I still drive the Sparrow when Kathy takes the iMiEV.

It's efficient, averaging over 4miles/kWhr (actual wall-to-wheels), and certainly better than the EPA rating. The iMiEV is very responsive to hypermiling, making it super-easy to extend one's range if needbe.

The iMiEV's range has simply never been an issue, as we know the limits. The 62-mile EPA rating is easily beatable, although we don't usually take highway trips which much exceed 50 miles without recharging as I simply don't want to overly exercise the batteries. We have had a number of 100+ mile days with opportunity charging. I had hoped for better 65+mph highway mileage, but there's no overcoming the aerodynamics.

The iMiEV gets up and goes - good acceleration for merging with Interstate traffic and can go over 80mph if one wants to.

It's interesting that, although I have a Level 2 EVSE, most of the time I use the wimpy Level 1 EVSE that came with the car for overnight charging. The Level 2 EVSE gets used during the day to bring her charge up quickly in case we need to make another trip somewhere.

The instrumentation is just fine, with the fuel gauge and Range Remaining displays perfectly adequate at providing the needed range information.

With the last two months still being winter (even California mornings are near-freezing), the remotely-controlled vehicle and seat pre-heating system is nice in the mornings. 8-)

I love being able to manually control regeneration, and end up using the brakes only to stop the car in the last few feet.

The only unexpected problem I had was the limited horizontal field of view of the driver's side mirror, which I solved by installing a small convex mirror inside the car.

Knock-on-wood, absolutely nothing has gone wrong with our iMiEV.

Interestingly, the car does draw attention when on the road and when parked in town - the side-door power-cord graphics augmented by license-plate frames blaring out "100% Electric" tends to do that. We often get engaged in conversations and I'm finding that non-commuters in general are clueless as to the actual miles they drive in a day - so many people's perceived and misguided "range anxiety" is so ridiculously overblown! When i point out that opportunity charging is available everywhere (especially in their own garage) I get these puzzled looks and comments which make me think they hadn't thought it through… why do people think that you have to completely deplete the battery before recharging it or that you can't simply use an existing wall outlet in the garage to charge the car?

Best analogy I use is to tell the one about the cellphone; "Which would you rather have: take your cellphone once a week to a special station a few miles away which can charge it up in five minutes, or simply plug it in at home whenever you want and have it fully-charged every day?"

Most people who approach us simply are not aware that Mitsubishi makes a normal fully roadworthy electric car! In my opinion Mitsubishi is really missing the boat by not advertising the iMiEV around here - with fuel prices at $4.50/gallon and the iMiEV eligible for the white HOV single-driver exemption sticker, just identifying those two items in well-placed TV and newspaper commercials should make it very attractive to commuters.

Summarizing: as a "second car" which in reality has become our primary daily driver, the iMiEV simply fulfills its mission admirably.

Biggest problem we have is the gasoline getting stale in our remaining internal-combustion cars... :roll:
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

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Re: Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:52 pm

Joe- Great post. I agree with all you said.

I would add a few other things I like about the car:

1) It rides high, even for a small car. This was a major issue in me no buying the Mini Cooper;
2) Many places (including my work) offer free charging; and
2) The radio is quite good (though I wish the USB/iPod interface wasw much better).

I have no need in in the peninsula to use the car pool authorization, but that could be great for some.

I just wonder why it hasn't sold so well?

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Re: Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:43 pm

Go Joe! I'll second your post, with one small addendum; three months and 3700 miles ;)

Secondly, have you actually seen any problems with stale gas? When I worked in a wrecking yard during college I ran my beater pickup off of fuel drained from the hulks- now that was some stale gas! I just recommissioned a genset that had been sitting for years, and though I had to clean out the fuel tank due to a lot of water and sludge, the carb seems fine and the old genny is outputting more than it's original spec, continuously.
I'm suspecting that the stale gas issue has been exaggerated by makers of additives like Sta-bil.
2012 i-SE "MR BEAN" 110,300 miles
2016 KIA SOUL EV, 90 kW, 27 kWh, 34k miles
2000 Mazda Miata EV, 78 kW, 17 kWh
1983 Grumman Kurbwatt EV,170 kW, 32 kWh
1983 Mazda RX-7 EV 43 kW 10 kWh
1971 "Karmann Eclectric" EV 240 kW 19 kWh

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Re: Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:13 pm

*ahem* Three months and... 4,011 miles!

Not really trying to play a game of one-up-manship, though. I only want to second Joe's post: We've been using this as our primary vehicle (clearly rather a lot!) and we are just in love with it. It is a perfect daily duty car, getting our kids to school and errands run. We both actually enjoy driving it, and enjoy the way it handles and runs. We'd recommend it to anyone (and often do!)

As for why it's not selling (assuming it isn't... it is hard to know what Mit. expects and can fulfill...) one word: Advertising. Or rather, the lack of advertising. No one we talk to has even heard of this car!

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Re: Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:17 am

I'm curious what the USB support is like for the standard car stereo (not the HDD based FUSE system). Does it support only FAT formatted USB storage devices or do iOS devices work, too? Is there support for music players that use MTP such as the Galaxy Nexus Android phone?

I have a few old iPhones that can be pressed into service as music players but I'd much rather use my shiny new phone as an audio source in my i-MiEV when it arrives.

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Re: Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:44 am

Am jealous of you guys. I am tempted to pull the trigger on one...but I really don't need another car right now. My newest car is a gas guzzler... 2010 Prius.

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Re: Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:04 pm

Update, after FOUR months and 4000 miles.

No issues, and we both love the car dearly! The iMiEV is proving to simply be a perfect fit for our lifestyle.
Doubt if I'll every buy an infernal-combustion-vehicle again in my lifetime.

All of my original comments (at the beginning of this thread) hold true, with high seating position, easy ingress/exit, tight turning radius, and very good all-round visibility being even-more appreciated attributes. We have the iMiEV configured as a station wagon and only raise the rear seats on those rare occasions when we have three or four people onboard. I fitted a rubber-backed carpet which covers the entire aft floor and folded-down seats and which protects the relatively-thin original upholstery.

Although I am no longer a commuter, the solo-driver HOV (carpool or diamond) lane ability has been very nice the few times I've needed it.

In another thread I discuss our energy consumption, which I keep updating:
Measured Wall-to-Wheels Consumption
With our oversized home PV solar array and 'free' public charging availability, our 'fuel' costs are virtually zero.

Yes, the iMiEV is indeed our primary transportation vehicle, and the gas is getting more and more stale in our other cars... :roll:

Summary: we are very happy we bought the iMiEV, as it meets our needs better than any other EV we can buy either presently or in the forseeable future. 8-)

Edit 6/17: One other thing I forgot to mention is how appreciative we are of the car's silence and lack of vibration. Now, getting into an ICE vehicle makes us cringe...
Last edited by JoeS on Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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

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Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:31 am

So, despite mixed reviews from critics with varying levels of knowledge, we see a consistent pattern of owners who actually live with these vehicles for months being very happy. After my test drives, I can see why.

Getting back to "why aren't they selling?", I guess I'd have to say you can't sell what you won't deliver. I placed a "pre-order" before the end of that program in April, but my car still shows as "being built" on the web page. It's a silver ES w/quick charge - any accessories/options beyond that can be installed by the dealer, so just how hard can it be to get this car? In light of stories of i-MiEVs sitting unsold on lots in SoCal and in the NE (those all-important high-priority first markets!), I'm having trouble understanding what Mitsubishi's priorities are. Why build cars on spec to dump at dealers when you've got orders in the hopper for confirmed sales? Why can't orders be fulfilled from inventory at other dealers? What are they DOING? :evil:
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

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Re: Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:01 am


I could not agree with you more. I pre-ordered my white ES with quick charge in January. The quick charge was important as there are several DC fast chargers already installed with more (73) planned in an area starting only 30 miles from where I live. Like yours, my status never changed from "being built".

It was the first, and as far as I know, only reservation/sale my dealer has had on the i to date. In March the dealer received two ES models. Colors; black and silver, neither with the quick charge option. In early May I received an update from the dealer, who had been excellent at keeping me informed on the cars status, that the i was expected to be delivered in mid June.

I was also informed at that time that even though other dealers were selling the i at discount, they would only sell the car at MSRP. Also, because I am 130 miles from the dealer (the only i certified dealer in the state), upon delivery it would be my responsibility to get the car home.

As much as the i met all my needs and was, and remains, my first choice for an electric vehicle, I made the decision to cancel my reservation. The next day I leased a Volt from a local dealer for $249 a month. I'll try again in 3 years to see what Mitsubishi has to offer.

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Re: Two Months and Two Thousand Miles

Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:00 pm

archie_b wrote:As much as the i met all my needs and was, and remains, my first choice for an electric vehicle, I made the decision to cancel my reservation. The next day I leased a Volt from a local dealer for $249 a month. I'll try again in 3 years to see what Mitsubishi has to offer.
Archie - None of my business, I know, but I'm really curious - You cancelled your order for your 'first choice' which 'met all your needs' . . . . and you tied yourself into a 3 year lease on a completely different kind of car?? Was this well thought out, or an impulsive decision?

What do you hope they'll have 3 years from now, considering that what they're offering right now meets your needs and is your favorite EV?

Just remind me it's none of my business if you like ;)

2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, Raspberry Metallic
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2017 Chevy Volt Premier
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon

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