2009 Mitsubishi i MiEV Prototype

Mitsubishi's innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV) range is growing. We've already seen the Mitsubishi I MiEV Sport at the 2007 Tokyo motor show, driven a prototype of the I MiEV hatchback at last year's New York auto show, and now there's a prototype for a European-market I MiEV at the 2009 Geneva motor show.

Mitsubishi has already committed to selling the I MiEV to consumers in Japan starting this summer and this prototype is the next step to selling the cars in Europe. Like the Japanese domestic market I MiEV, the European car is a five-door hatchback configuration. There are few differences between the Japanese and European I MiEVs: European-market cars have a bit wider track and the front and rear overhangs are designed for pedestrian safely, which makes them longer. Overall, the two cars look very futuristic.

The I MiEV's powertrain is a 330v lithium-ion battery pack that sends juice to an electric motor producing 63 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain sits under the floor in the rear of the car in roughly the same space you'd put an internal combustion engine and fuel tank in a traditional car. We drove a similar prototype I MiEV last year at the 2008 New York auto show and found it to be quite adequate as a city car. A charge is supposed to be good for at least 80 miles of driving.

Expect to see these electric vehicles hitting the showrooms in Europe at some point in 2010.

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