As it stands, Mitsubishi's electric i-MiEV isn't exactly street legal in the United States. That, however, will change next fall, when the automaker is set to introduce a widened, federalized version of the car for North American consumption. We've yet to see the finished product, but the automaker has apparently released renderings of a wide-body, U.S.-spec i-MiEV.
These renderings were found buried within a financial summary presentation, which was recently published on the company's global media site. Although the car appears to retain the egg-like profile of the current car, the sketches do suggest the i-MiEV will grow in width in order to appease North American tastes. Flared fenders, paired with an aggressive front bumper fascia, also allows for a wider front and rear track. The North American car also appears to gain a chiseled front hood, fog lamps, dark headlamp surrounds, and large front and rear side marker lamps.
Despite the structural modifications, we expect the North American i-MiEV's powertrain to be similar, if not identical, to that used in its foreign siblings. We recently sampled a Japanese-spec i-MiEV, and found its 63-horsepower electric motor provided enough low-end torque to make acceleration more than acceptable. Although Mitsubishi promises a range of 100 miles, we found the car averaged about 70 miles on a single charge when used in a mixture of city and highway driving. That should be more than sufficient for urban commuters, especially those living in cities with an EV charging infrastructure.
Until Mitsubishi unveils the finished product, these sketches are all we have of the U.S.-spec i-MiEV, but we do hope to see the real thing shortly. Mitsubishi plans on launching the vehicle next year at a price point below the $30,000 it commands in Japan.