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PHOTO CAPTION: Illustration of No. American version of i-MiEV electric car

Mitsubishi Plans Roll-Out of Larger i-MiEV Electric Car for Americas

To debut at 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, the new model will be wider, and its structure and electronics will be tailored to meet U.S. safety requirements

Published: 06-Nov-2010

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. says it will unveil a larger version of its i-MiEV electric car during the Los Angeles auto show later this month. The new model will be wider, and its structure and electronics will be tailored to meet U.S. safety requirements as well as the expectations of American drivers.

Mitsubishi says it will reveal the car during the show’s press days, Nov. 17 and 18., and begin selling it here in the fall of 2011. The announcement caught my eye in part because I am test-driving the 2010 version of the i-MiEV this week. So far the vehicle’s most striking attribute is its small size, which many U.S. would probably consider too small.

A company spokesman says the car’s size reflect its origin as a ”Kei” car for the Japan market. Such cars have to fit within strict, compact measurements. In this past life the i-MiEV was powered by a 660cc gasoline engien — smaller than the engines powering many motorcycles in the U.S. Its layout, with the engine mounted just ahead of the rear axle, made it a good candidate for conversion to electric power.

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