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’.
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.
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!
Many are buying off the lot, for a discount
It’s not the same for all owners, but there seems to be a theme that ‘i’ buyers are ordering cars, getting bored of waiting for delivery, and then buying cars off the dealer lot.
In many cases, this isn’t much of a problem anyway, as slow sales means some dealers are struggling to shift the cars–and plenty of buyers are getting hold of the car for $1,000 (or more) under MSRP.
Few call it the ‘i’!
We all know it, even if few of us admit it: ‘i’ is a stupid name for a car. It gets lost in lines of text, it sends computer grammar-checkers crazy, and it even sounds odd when dropped into a spoken sentence.
‘i-MiEV’ (pronounced eye-meev) isn’t much better, but it’s easier to say, more distinctive when written and above all, it’s what many of the owners seem to call it–regardless of their locale.
It’s difficult getting cars…
For those near a dealer that sells the i(…MiEV), it’s great getting those discounted cars. But for some, like those in some midwest states, there’s no such thing as a nearby dealer. With the best will in the world, it’s hard to go out and buy a car that you have to travel hundreds of miles to even test drive.
As you can see, from an owner’s perspective there’s not a great deal to dislike. i-MiEV owners, as with many other electric car owners, seem to be fairly educated on their purchase and the Mitsubishi is meeting their expectations.