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) …Background
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.
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...