2009 Tokyo Show: Mitsubishi iMiEV Cargo

Sam Smith
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Because everyone needs to haul stuff. Even Oompa Loompas.

We know what you’re thinking: It’s little, it’s tiny, it’s dinky, it’s miniscule, it’s compact, it’s even -- we busted out the thesaurus for this one, so pay attention -- bijou. What on Earth, you ask, is it, and why in blazes is it so small?

You’re looking at the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Cargo, an electric vehicle that, according to Mitsubishi, “easily blends into one’s daily life.” And while it may look big in pictures, in person it’s barely larger than a riding lawnmower. Welcome to Tokyo, land of the shrinking truck.

Miniature cargo vans like this rule the streets in Japan’s largest city. Most of them are no bigger than the average subcompact car; they teeter and zoom around Tokyo’s narrow streets like a bunch of possessed shopping carts. The Cargo is the latest in Mitsubishi’s line of iMiEV (pronounced “eye-meef”) electric vehicles, all of which resemble mutated Smart Cars and are powered purely by electricity. (At the moment, only a few Japanese corporations and municipalities have taken delivery of an iMiEV, but Mitsubishi plans to sell the diminutive buggers to ordinary citizens in Europe and Asia in 2010.)

Mitsubishi was relatively stingy with details, but chances are that the iMiEV Cargo will see production shortly after the regular iMiEV hits dealerships.

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