With soaring energy prices and better than expected public interest, Mitsubishi has decided to offer the I MiEV Electric Car 1 year ahead of schedule in Japan. The i MiEV is powered by a compact 47 kW electric motor (133 lb-ft of torque) and a 330V, 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Top speed of the i MiEV is 130 kph (81 mph), with a range of up to 160 km (100 miles). No word on charging times. They are not cheap. Mitsubishi Motors will set the price at around 4 million yen. (About $40,000 with today’s exchange rate) Government subsidies for low-emission vehicles will help to reduce the actual retail price for the vehicle in Japan to an estimated 3 million yen [US$28,000]. These cars are great (I want one) but at close to 4 x the price of their standard fossil fueled sibling, (the I MiEV is base on a Kei car already in production) I don’t see deep market penetration until prices become competitive even considering the gas savings.
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