2012 Mitsubishi i Electric Car Owners Speak Up: Pros And Cons

Editor’s Note: EarthTechling is proud to repost this article courtesy of Green Car Reports. Author credit goes to Antony Ingram.

There might not be many on U.S. roads–less than a thousand in total–but Mitsubishi’s ‘i’ electric car is one of the few all-electric cars on sale at the moment, and has a small, dedicated band of owners only too happy to sing its praises.

Someone has to, that’s for sure, as reviews for the little electric bubble haven’t been overly positive.

But what do owners actually think of the car they use day-to-day? What would they keep, and what would they change?

We’ve scoured the owner forums to find a selection of the most common pros and cons for drivers of the ‘i’.

Mitsubishi i

Via Mitsubishi Motors

The range doesn’t seem to matter

One of the heaviest criticisms of the ‘i’ has been its low range. Some reviews have baulked at figures of under 60 miles in certain driving conditions.

While that’s no doubt off-putting for some electric car fans and might be hindering sales, the inevitable truth is that if you can live with this sort of range, then it really isn’t a problem. Wherever owners are charging, they’re clearly finding the car’s range suitable to meet their needs.

Sure, it’s not the only car for many owners, but it covers their most frequent journeys just fine. And some owners are still getting over 70 miles just fine.

Positive vibes?

Some people might be a little self-conscious about driving the car about, but many owners seem to find that reactions vary between the positive and the indifferent–rarely anything truly negative.

That applies to both the looks and the electric propulsion. The looks do a good job of drawing people in, at which point they find out it’s electric, and the questions start. Some are shocked by the limited range, others impressed by just how cheap it is to “fill” the car with electricity

It’s pretty energy-efficient…

The Mitsubishi ‘i’ may not have the greatest range of any EV currently on sale, but it still sits up at thetop of the EPA’s “fuel” efficiency list, on 112 miles per gallon equivalent. That’s indicative of how little energy it takes to move a small, relatively lightweight car on narrow tires.

Some owners have even quantified this by measuring power draw and regeneration. In one thread on the MyiMiEV.com forum, users have measured the current at different points on the energy meter. One user, JoeS, took readings of 45A at the first third, 95A at the second, and 154A at the maximum.

In regeneration, the maximum is 50A, but JoeS points out that in the extra-regeneration “B” mode on the gear selector, lifting off completely registered 104A–so the ‘i’s regeneration effect is quite strong, at two thirds of the power it can put out.

It also doesn’t use much energy when rolling–another user, Wee John, recorded only 70 amps of current at 77 mph. So as with any car, it’s the acceleration (and up-hill roads) that really uses the energy, while constant travel on flat ground can be quite efficient.

In fact, the car uses so little energy at around 20mph on flat ground, you could theoretically drive around 500 miles!

  • tina jaurez

    I call it “my EV” & have a great ad campaign ready for it, if Mitsu were ever interested..

  • There’s a key point about range anxiety here, put better and more simply than I’ve seen it elsewhere:  “if you can live with this sort of range, then it really isn’t a problem.”  That’s it exactly.  For those who find that a range of 50-60 mi./day (assuming no “opportunity charging”) more than meets their needs, the current crop of EVs works perfectly well.  If you have reliable access to a charger at work, EV commuting for even 30-40 miles is stress-free nearly anywhere, and that’s a whole lot of commuters.  Given that most of us still like to take the occasional road trip, EVs will work best for multi-car households, but again, that’s a pretty high percentage of the car-buying public.