MEDIA REVIEWS is a compilation of reviews and write-ups of test drives of various e-drive vehicles by the different authors and media. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of EV World. Click the article title to expand the story.
Electric Cars Are Ready to Roll on Malta Today
Times of Malta test drive the Mitsubishi i-MiEV for two months and comes away with positive review though price and range remain obstacles for many, they conclude.
Times of Malta/Malta 18 Aug 2014
Silence is golden but on an island where noise pollution reigns supreme and many motorists strive to make their cars as loud as possible, finding peace and quiet on the road is rare.
But hope is on the horizon in the shape of electric cars.
The results of a two-month review of a Mitsubishi i-Miev, carried out by this newspaper, were surprising.
On the first day I started testing the electric vehicle, the battery of my own petrol-powered car died after six years on the go, so the timing was perfect.
The first noticeable attribute of this aesthetically challenged car is its unnerving silence but it quickly becomes a major attraction, especially without the rattling of an engine or vibrations. Driving a practically soundless car suddenly sensitises you to the excessive noise on the roads, which is often unnecessary.
The i-Miev is so quiet the manufacturers had to incorporate a speaker to emulate the sound of an engine for safety reasons but this can be switched off.
I must apologise to cyclists who could have been startled by the sudden appearance of a car but the mandatory distance was always kept.
The silence was even more evident driving through Gozo on a hot afternoon when the only noise was caused by the tyres’ friction on the road.
A colleague pointed out that the low whirring emanating from the electric motor almost mimicked a flying saucer in a vintage film.
The test drive formed part of the Demo EV project aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of electric vehicles.
It is an EU co-funded project to distribute 24 electric cars to volunteers who gave a detailed account of their use.
The project also included the installation of a network of charging pillars across the Maltese islands.
Charging the car was easy and cheap, costing something like 30 per cent of the fuel required for an average-sized car besides the savings in servicing, oil and parts.
The electricity costs worked out to about 2c per kilometre. On a full charge, the automatic vehicle has a range of between 120 and 140 kilometres, but it depends on the speed.
The most important thing with an electric car is conserving energy, so there is no need to keep your foot on the accelerator to keep moving.
And although it can easily keep up with the rest of the traffic, it is more energy-efficient to maintain a speed of between 50 and 60 kilometres an hour to ensure the charge lasts longer.
On the dashboard, instruments indicate the range and charge and there is a speedometer featuring an economy mode so you would know just how much power is being used.
To top up, you can choose between the charging pillars or an ordinary three-pin plug at home. It is best to top up before driving to your destination.
Some journey planning is required too. For example, going to Sliema would mean that although you have half a charge left, you could plug in at a point in Tigné while shopping.
One’s driving style affects the range and once your foot is off the accelerator, the car also begins to charge.
The strong acceleration is achieved through a compact, highly efficient permanent magnet synchronous motor that generates high torque from low speed through wheel rear drive. The car uses a lithium ion battery delivering 330V with a maximum power of 47kW.
Apart from not having any gears to change, you have instant power when you need it. It is also quick off the mark and, much to the surprise of other drivers, the electric vehicle can accelerate faster than petrol cars.
The one I was testing is small and the body slim but it fits two generously sized people together with two to three more passengers at the back. Its engine can also cope easily with the air-conditioning full on.
Although driving it was a pleasure, I must admit that having to plug it in whenever I knew I had to drive a long distance was a hassle.
The fact I do not have a garage was another disadvantage because I had to ensure I arrived home with enough charge to make it into work the next day.
Another aggravating factor was the disregard people have for parking spots reserved for charging electric cars. Clear signs banning parking were frequently ignored and when the car desperately had to be charged it was frustrating at best.
The Transport Ministry website includes a map indicating the site of the charging pillars.
Points can be booked for a maximum of 30 minutes in advance.
It usually takes three to four hours to get a full charge and, on average, about eight hours if using a three-pin plug at home.
The particular model I had is equipped with a supercharger made for countries where the infrastructure can allow a full charge in 30 minutes.
I feel the amount of charging points need to be increased and, ideally, every parking spot should have one.
Another sore point is the price of an electric car. The small car I had still costs €21,000, notwithstanding a government grant of €5,000. That means it is out of reach for many.
The price must drop substantially before we can see more of these great cars on the road.
When it comes to range, technology also has to improve.
To conclude, the most positive elements are the silent, clean and emission-free travel, which far outweighed any negative points and, although more needs to be done, electric cars are definitely here to stay.
Just imagine our roads full of silent cars. Bliss!
Mr. Plumb's Year with His Electric Car
Vermont resident George Plumb updates his experiences after a year owning and commuting to and from work in his leased Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car.
Montpelier Bridge 25 Aug 2013
A year ago I leased a Mitsubishi MiEV. Shortly after, The Bridge published my article on driving an electric vehicle (EV) in their November 15, 2012 issue. After a year of driving it, including one winter, I can now safely say that it has worked out very well for me. It’s fun to drive and has cost me almost nothing except for the lease fee and the insurance, and it even worked out well during the cold weather. And it is such a pleasure to never stop at gas stations anymore!
I easily drive from my home in Washington to Montpelier and back, a distance of 32 miles, on half a charge. I plug it in my 110 outlet when I get home, and the next morning I am ready to go again. If I am going to be in Montpelier for a while, I sometimes plug it in at one of the two faster public charging stations at City Hall or by the State House on Governor Avenue, and in a short time, I have a full charge and at no expense. I have even driven out of “my comfort range” to some more distant places, like Connecticut River towns, but have always gotten back home with a few miles to spare because I am careful to keep the car at its most efficient speed, which is about 55 miles per hour, and use the downhills to regenerate electricity.
During the winter, I was a little anxious about driving in the snow. Because I am leasing the car, I did not want to spend the money to put winter tires on it. Fortunately, even though I live at the top of a hill on a dirt road, there was generally no problem. However, a couple of times, when there was a heavy snowfall, I decided I didn’t want to take any chances with it and used my backup vehicle, a very old Astro Van. But I understand that those who use winter tires on EVs find that the traction is good.
There is also a concern with cold weather, because if you turn on the air heater then it drains down the battery much faster, which means the driving range is shorter. A less energy use option is to use the seat heater and cover your lap with a blanket. I made certain to always dress warmly, and there were only a couple of days when I was uncomfortable. Even though I didn’t heat the car, I still had to defrost the windshield window, and that also decreased the range. Despite these drawbacks, I rarely used my backup vehicle.
EVs are gaining in popularity, albeit slowly. There are several of us in central Vermont now driving EVs, and the technology is definitely improving for driving distance. To learn more about driving electric cars and the availability of public changing stations, go to drivelectricvt.com. If you want to try driving a Mitsubishi, which is the lowest price EV available, contact me at Plumb.email@example.com.
Newest Electric Car 'Buzz' From Consumer Reports
Summation of Consumer Reports reviews of Mitsubishi i, Tesla Model S and Ford Focus EV.
ABC Channel 7 25 Jan 2013
CHICAGO -- More and more car companies are coming out with cars that are all-electric, no gas needed.
Several claim the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon or more. The government tax credit of up to $7500 could have you thinking about getting an electric vehicle.
Ford calls the Ford Focus Electric the most fuel-efficient compact car in America.
Consumer Reports finds it can get the equivalent of 107 miles per gallon. The engineers compared it with other all-electric cars, including the smaller sub-compact Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
"The i-MiEV is even more fuel-efficient, getting the equivalent of 111 miles per gallon. It's also easy to park, but it's slow and cramped, and it rides stiffly. In fact, our engineers thought it was more like a glorified golf cart," Consumer Reports Auto Editor Rik Paul said.
With any all-electric car, a primary consideration is how far it will go on a charge.
Consumer Reports found the i-Miev's range is around 60 miles.
"It takes 21 hours to recharge the i-MiEV on household current, but you can get a 240-volt charger installed in your house that will cut that time down to six hours," Paul said.
The most luxurious all-electric car so far is the Tesla Model S. It claims a range of up to 265 miles. Special charging stations can charge the battery halfway in just 30 minutes.
"Our initial impression of the Model S is that it's quick, agile, roomy, and refined. But it's also expensive ,starting at $57,000, and the top-of-the-line model is closer to $100,000," Paul said.
The Ford Focus Electric falls somewhere in the middle. This one Consumer Reports tested cost 41-thousand dollars. Its range is about 80 miles. And a full charge takes less than four hours with a 240-volt charger.
The Ford Focus Electric performed well at the Consumer Reports test track, with impressive ride and handling. It proved a lot more fun to drive than the Nissan Leaf, the first of the new wave of electric cars
Manufacturers are delivering a steady flow of all-electric cars. Electric versions of the Toyota RAV4 and Smart ForTwo are just out. And others are expected soon, including the Chevrolet Spark EV, Honda Fit EV, and Fiat 500e.
Goodlifer Explores Ojai By Mitsubishi i Electric Car
Our first impression was that the car felt light and “fun,” one of those elusive qualities touted by car makers but which we could confirm with goofy smiles on our faces...
Goodlifer 23 Dec 2012
The Takeaway: Goodlifer test drove the Mitsubishi i-MiEV 100% electric car in the hills and valleys of Ojai, California. We found it to be a capable and fun urban drive, a perfect second car for a larger family and a worthy contender for an only car with a few caveats. With the typical range of a pure EV, this car is best for the driver who has an alternate vehicle or favors public transportation for long trips but enjoys the satisfaction of never having to stop at a gas station again. The driving position is high and forward, with great visibility, making the drive feel active and light. Storage capacity is great for hauling goods and charging time was good. We were able to charge the car for free at a public charging station in town while we shopped and ran errands.
The i-MiEV (sold in the U.S. market at the “i”), is the first of what Mitsubishi promises to be a line-up of eight EV models worldwide by 2015. There is no mistaking that this is a purpose-built electric car. From its aerodynamic form to its ultralight skinny tires, the i-MiEV has a somewhat utilitarian look and feel. We drove the i-MiEV around our hometown of Ojai, California, a small bucolic city nestled in a valley about 80 miles north of Los Angeles. The terrain is flat in the city and very hilly in the surrounding valleys, and we took it out on the highway on a trip to nearby Ventura, so we were able to gauge performance in a variety of driving modes.
Our first impression was that the car felt light and “fun,” one of those elusive qualities touted by car makers but which we could confirm with goofy smiles on our faces as we zipped silently down the road. Driving an electric car is an unmistakably giddy experience. With so few EVs in circulation, you are guaranteed to be one of the only people driving your particular model car, and you gain instant membership in the small but growing community of EV and plug-in hybrid owners who, like most enthusiast groups, are a friendly and talkative bunch. Early adopters of green technologies tend to be evangelists and we enjoyed the infectious energy of the Chevy Volt owner who pulled up next to us at one of the free public charging stations located in town. Overall, there is a deep satisfaction in being part of something that feels smart and right, and the pleasure of charging (in this case for free) is all the better as you silently roll past forlorn gas stations which will forever be looked upon as public restrooms and potato chip dispensaries.
One of the interesting future scenarios for electric cars is the ability to use the power stored in the car batteries for emergency or backup use in the home in the event of power outages or natural disasters. In the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Mitsubishi introduced the optional i-MiEV Power Box which enables the i-MiEV to supply power to home electric appliances via 100-volt outlets, converting the cars direct current (DC) battery power into alternating current (AC) to power up to 1,500 watts, enough to power most home electronics. This option is currently only available in the Japanese market, but is a great early example of so-called Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) and Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology that will play an important part in future smart grid, disaster-preparedness and neighborhood resiliency efforts. Something to think about in the wake of events like Hurricane Sandy which demonstrated the vulnerablity of the aging electric grid infrastructure in the U.S.
In its price-range, pure electric competitors to the i-MiEV include the Ford Focus EV, the Nissan Leaf, the Coda, the Smart ED and the Honda Fit EV (lease-only). The wider universe of 100% electric EVs is quite small, with the higher-end BMW Active-E (lease-only) and the Tesla Model S the only other options in the U.S. as of the time of this review. The European and Asian markets have a slightly wider range of small, punchy EV contenders, including BYD, that would be price/performance competitors to the i-MiEV but most will not be available in the U.S. in the near future. The i-MiEV is sold under the badges of Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero in European markets.
As of this writing, over 20,000 i-MiEVs have been sold worldwide, a large number of those in Europe and Japan. The i-MiEV is offered by San Francisco-based carsharing service City CarShare in its fleet of fuel efficient, hybrid and EV cars and is available to buy through Mitsubishi dealers in the U.S. You can learn more about Mitsubishi’s green technologies and commitments to social and environmental sustainability at their global i-MiEV and Drive@earth sites.
Mitsubishi's 'i': Serious Electric Car Contender
Mitsubishi is offering a tempting lease that starts at $221/month.
Examiner.com 26 Nov 2012
Today we wrapped up our first drive of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car. The first such entry from the brand we don't hear about much is likely to change all that. The i-MiEV is a solid and competitive contender in a growing market of electric cars that makes its mark solidly.
To wit, the i-MiEV is the least expensive EV on the market right now, starting at $29,125. After the $7,500 federal tax incentive, that comes down to a downright reasonable $21,625. Some states offer up to $5,500 in local tax incentives that could bring that price into the mid teens.
Like Chevrolet with the Volt extended-range electric, Mitsubishi is also offering a tantalizing lease program that starts at $221 a month for qualified buyers. One of the things allowing for this price is that the i-MiEV is the smallest EV on the market. It measures just 144” in length, about 2” shorter than a a Mini Cooper.
Styling is unique and gets a few eyes your way, but not so outlandish that it's like driving a circus. Our silver SE tester blended in for the most part, only drawing attention of those who knew what it was.
Power comes from a 66 horsepower water cooled electric motor that drives the front wheels. A single speed transmission delivers power seamlessly and smoothly at all speeds. Power is generous despite that low horsepower number thanks to a strong 145 lb-ft of torque available at near zero RPM.
Driving the i-MiEV feels a lot like a traditional car minus the gear changes and vibrations associated with a gasoline engine. It can easily maneuver in traffic as well as cruise at 70 mph on the freeway with little drama. There is a futuristic electric motor sound in the distance, but its otherwise very quiet.
The gear selector has the standard D for drive, Eco for driving that saves your batter life, and B for strong regenerative braking when you lift off the accelerator. In D, the car feels peppy, in Eco if feels lethargic, and in B feels like you are riding the brake.
The latter setting is however your friend if you find yourself getting low on the battery. You charge that baby back up every time you coast and come to a stop light. In all settings you can still dip into the power with a hefty foot to the floor on the accelerator.
The Lithium Ion battery offers up to 98 miles city range, and 62 miles range combined, which is what the EPA label says. It will take up to 22 hours for a full charge on 110V outlet or as little as 7 hours on a 220v charger. If you are counting MPGe, mile-per-gallon equivalent, it is rated at 126 MPGe city and 99 MPGe highway.
We found the range promises to come through just fine. Around town you get the best range as regenerative braking is always putting juice back into the battery. On our first day of testing we ran the batter down to about 15% and plugged in to our 110v overnight. In the morning it had 70 miles ready to burn off.
Handling is predictable on the freeway and at highway speeds. The ride tends toward firm with the i-MiEV's hard compound 15” tires. They are quite skinny in fact, 145/65 R15 in front, 175/65 R15 in the rear. We note this because you notice their lack of foot print when cornering. Combined with the high center of gravity in the i-MiEV, you find that spirited or jaunty driving isn't this car's strong point.
Our SE model had the upgraded interior which has a tasteful two-toned black and brown treatment with cloth seating. Controls are traditional and simple, no pretentiousness to the space age is going on here such as in the Nissan Leaf.
The 360 watt 8-speaker stereo and navigation system was familiar to us from other Mitsubishi vehicles so was easy to adapt to. We liked the simple fold out cup holders on other side of the instrument panel. The leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls made the i-MiEV feel familiar and premium. Gotta have leather on those touch points.
The seats offer a captain's chair position and feel, with a commanding albeit miniaturized SUVish view. The interior is spacious enough, offering seating for up to four. Rear seats fold down and offer a reasonable cargo area too. The battery is located under the rear seat area and takes up little if any room from the passenger compartment.
Fit and finish both inside and out were good. It has the level of aesthetic design and quality you would expect from any car manufactured in Japan. The doors open and close with a good solid thunk, the seats feel substantial, and the ride is free of road noise associated with “tin can” cars.
Overall we came away impressed with the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. It's offered from a major manufacturer can expect will be around to service it down the road. It's backed by a 5 year/60,000 power-train warranty and the battery is warrantied for 7 years/100,000 miles.
Affordable, Eco-Friendly Mitsubishi i
Rita Cook tries out the Mitsubishi 'i' all-electric car and concludes it's ' a no-nonsense approach to driving' that is priced less than the LEAF or the Volt.
Washington Times 30 Sep 2012
DALLAS, Texas - Did someone say electric car and Mitsubishi in the same sentence? Yep, and it works out just fine. The 2012 Mitsubishi I is affordable and worth a look into for all you eco-friendly drivers out there.
All electric and affordable so already the ante is upped in favor of this Mitsubishi offering. The only downside is the fact that the drive range is a bit less than in competitors, but for a car to knock around town in you are definitely set.
An all new model, competition is the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius C hybrid or the Volkswagen Golf TDI and note too that the Mitsubishi I is cheaper than the other plug-in options like the Prius or the Chevy Volt.
The 2012 Mitsubishi i has four doors and it’s a hatchback available that is in two trims the ES and SE.
On the ES you get 15-inch steel wheels, all power accessories, 50/50-split rear seats that fold and recline and an onboard recharging system with a 120-volt portable charging cable as well as a decent sound system including CD player and auxiliary audio jack, a heated and height-adjustable driver seat, a remote system that pre-activates climate control, and the charging timer.On the SE model you will find 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, automatic headlights, upgraded seat fabric, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
On both trims you get what is called the Cold Zone package that adds a battery warmer and heated outside mirrors. The ES trim can also add what is called a Level 3 quick-charging port and the SE model comes with an optional Premium package with a navigation system, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a quick-charging port.
One item of note on this Mitsubishi i is that the range is only 62 miles from full to no charge and that is the least of the ranges in the world of electric cars. However, the others come in only a little ahead, so this is likely not a good reason to look elsewhere if the Mitsubishi has caught your eye.
When the i does need a charge it takes about seven hours to be fully juiced with a 240-volt at home charging unit.
Powered by a 49-kilowatt electric motor the 2012 Mitsubishi i is 66 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque and feeds off of a lithium-ion battery pack with top storage at 16 kWh.
For safety the 2012 Mitsubishi i offers standard antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), stability and traction control, and front-seat and side curtain airbags.
For such a compact little car, you will also be surprised at the headroom in this one as well as the legroom in the front seat. It is a bit tighter in the back and in all there is just 13.2 cubic feet of space in the back for storage room. Since the rear seats do fold down the maximum cargo space in this case is much better at 50.4 cubic feet.
Overall the 2012 Mitsubishi i is a no-nonsense approach to driving, so there is no cutting edge options that will wow you, but if you are a candidate to drive such an eco-friendly set of wheels that’s more than okay.
As for driving, you can expect a quiet cabin even at higher speeds that top out in the high 70s or low 80s. As well, you will find that you have no problem getting on and blending in with traffic on the highway.
There are three drive settings to choose from the "Eco," which reduces the rate of battery consumption for better energy, setting "B" with regenerative braking and the “D” setting offering up full power as needed and in this setting you will definitely feel all this car has to offer.
The 2012 Mitsubishi i is also easy to drive and rounds the corners and takes curves just fine, giving you that sense of handling needed behind the wheel.
Overall, the size of the Mitsubishi i is the biggest complaint, but in no way should it be a deal breaker. Do be aware that while the full charge does have an approximate range that can change depending on a number of variables, but after you get to know this car it shouldn’t be a problem.
Should You Need to Know: Keep in mind that the price tag on this electric car option is lowered thanks to the $7,500 federal tax credit and depending on the state you live in, there might be other credits you can look into as well.
Miles Per Gallon: Estimated on this one is 126 miles per gallon in the city and 99 miles per gallon on the highway with a combined 112 miles per gallon overall.
Cost: The cost for the 2012 Mitsubishi i-Miev SE I drove came in at $34,920.
Mitsubishi i EV Owners Speak Out
Green Car Reports polls drivers of Mitsubishi's for their view on what is, at the moment, the lowest priced electric car in North America.
Earth Techling 30 Jul 2012
There might not be many on U.S. roads–less than a thousand in total–but Mitsubishi’s ’i' electric car is one of the few all-electric cars on sale at the moment, and has a small, dedicated band of owners only too happy to sing its praises.
Someone has to, that’s for sure, as reviews for the little electric bubble haven’t been overly positive.
But what do owners actually think of the car they use day-to-day? What would they keep, and what would they change?
We’ve scoured the owner forums to find a selection of the most common pros and cons for drivers of the ‘i’.
The range doesn’t seem to matter
One of the heaviest criticisms of the ‘i’ has been its low range. Some reviews have baulked at figures of under 60 miles in certain driving conditions.
While that’s no doubt off-putting for some electric car fans and might be hindering sales, the inevitable truth is that if you can live with this sort of range, then it really isn’t a problem. Wherever owners are charging, they’re clearly finding the car’s range suitable to meet their needs.
Sure, it’s not the only car for many owners, but it covers their most frequent journeys just fine. And some owners are still getting over 70 miles just fine.
Some people might be a little self-conscious about driving the car about, but many owners seem to find that reactions vary between the positive and the indifferent–rarely anything truly negative.
That applies to both the looks and the electric propulsion. The looks do a good job of drawing people in, at which point they find out it’s electric, and the questions start. Some are shocked by the limited range, others impressed by just how cheap it is to “fill” the car with electricity…
It’s pretty energy-efficient…
The Mitsubishi ’i’ may not have the greatest range of any EV currently on sale, but it still sits up at thetop of the EPA’s “fuel” efficiency list, on 112 miles per gallon equivalent. That’s indicative of how little energy it takes to move a small, relatively lightweight car on narrow tires.
Some owners have even quantified this by measuring power draw and regeneration. In one thread on the MyiMiEV.com forum, users have measured the current at different points on the energy meter. One user, JoeS, took readings of 45A at the first third, 95A at the second, and 154A at the maximum.
In regeneration, the maximum is 50A, but JoeS points out that in the extra-regeneration “B” mode on the gear selector, lifting off completely registered 104A–so the ‘i’s regeneration effect is quite strong, at two thirds of the power it can put out.
It also doesn’t use much energy when rolling–another user, Wee John, recorded only 70 amps of current at 77 mph. So as with any car, it’s the acceleration (and up-hill roads) that really uses the energy, while constant travel on flat ground can be quite efficient.
In fact, the car uses so little energy at around 20mph on flat ground, you could theoretically drive around 500 miles!
USA Today Finds Mitsubishi i 'Rough Ride'
James Healey is disappointed by the US-version of the original i-MiEV electric car.
USA Today 18 Jun 2012
A hearty attaboy to Mitsubishi for, deliberately or otherwise, challenging Nissan’s Leaf battery car and Chevrolet’s Volt extended-range electric with a Mitsubishi electric car that, like Leaf and Volt, you can buy nationwide.
Of course, there are fewer Mitsu dealers than Nissan or Chevy dealers, so going down to the corner store for a Mitsubishi i isn’t the lithium-ion cinch Mitsu might wish.
Mitsu’s good intentions are acknowledged, but a week in the i was unsettling, unsatisfying.
Take the appearance: Tall and slender is OK for fashion models, but a dreadful approach to auto design. The i looks like an egg in heels. Corners a bit like one, too.
And the naming department needs to find other work. The car’s moniker looks like a typographical error. It’s also wrong-headed. “I” is selfish, and electrics are “we” cars, their fans will tell you ad nauseam, meant for the greater good. In other markets the car is i-MiEV (for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Car). The name i-MiEV is also ridiculous but at least long enough to be a real name, not a typo.
The Mitsubishi recharging system, apparently designed by nervous lawyers, restricts how fast the electricity can flow in. A safety issue, the automaker says, because while the car surely is juice-proof, no telling if your house can handle it. Thus, it can take up to 22.5 hours to recharge the car using your 120-volt home outlet.
If you use the optional 240-volt charger, it takes seven hours, Mitsubishi says. If you can find a so-called level 3 charger — 480 volts — you can go from discharged to 80% full in 30 minutes.
The suspension gurus might need some re-education. They start with a 100-inch wheelbase, which is huge for the overall size of the car; in fact it’s some 69% of the car’s entire length, and should almost guarantee a smooth ride. Instead, the i jiggles and slaps and jumps and slams over ordinary road surfaces.
Even if you like everything else about the i, the ride gets tiresome pretty early in the relationship.
And here’s a sure way to offend American buyers: Brand them as second-class by refusing to change the gearshift pattern to suit the left-hand-steering that Americans use. It’s set up for Japan-market right-side steering, so the tugs and yanks you need to move the floor shift through the gear-selection are backward for U.S. users. As much as anything, it’s a symbol that the i isn’t meant to be taken seriously here.
Let’s not overlook the price. It starts at about $30,000, before the government’s $7,500 income-tax credit that some buyers will be able to claim. And you’ll want a 240-volt charger installed at home, so add $1,000 to $2,000 or so. The total is low for an electric (Leaf starts at about $36,000; Volt, about $40,000), but high for a small car that’s not especially pretty or pleasant.
The good parts mainly are those typical of electrics.
Decent low-speed scoot, because electric motors give you all they have the instant they begin to turn.
Relative quiet. Not much road or wind noise. The electric motor is in back instead of the usual front location, so any whines or whirs from the motor are more distant from your ears.
The i is excellent with the windows down. No wind slap, just a light breeze. In fact, air flows so elegantly with the windows open that plastic-bagged hanging dry-cleaning doesn’t flap.
Because it’s so good at airflow through and around the open cabin, you need to use the air conditioning less, and that helps save the battery.
Controls and gauges are straightforward, easy to find and use. They aggressively eschew the electronic complexities some alt-power cars load up on to enhance their gee-whiz quotient.
A teaser test car from the Japan market tested here two years ago had promise. Seemed as if it could be a cute, fun way to electrify your mobility, once recast for the American market.
But the real U.S. version seems less tailored for its intended buyers than expected. Mitsubishi hopes it’ll be seen as an entry electric, with therefore forgivable foibles.
Instead, it seems more like an unfinished project.
•What? Battery-electric, four-door, rear-drive, four-passenger minicar. Official U.S. name is just i; elsewhere it’s the i-MiEV (for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle).
•When? On sale in the U.S. since November.
•Where? Made in Japan.
•Why? Get attention by offering an electric car nationwide.
•How much? ES starts at $29,975, including $850 shipping. SE is $31,975. Well-optioned SE test car: $35,065.
Add $1,000 or more for installed 240-volt home charging station that cuts recharge time to about seven hours.
Some buyers will qualify for $7,500 federal tax credit, plus state or local subsidies.
•How many? Just 300 sold in the U.S. January through May, but nearly all to individual buyers, not fleets, Mitsubishi says.
•What makes it go? Electric motor rated 66 hp at 3,000 rpm, 145 pounds-feet of torque from 300 rpm up; single-speed transmission.
•How big? Not very. 144.7 inches long, 62.4 in. wide, 63.6 in. tall on a 100.4-in. wheelbase. Weighs 2,579 lbs. Rated to carry 750 lbs. of people, cargo, accessories.
Passenger space 84.7 cubic ft. Cargo space: 13.2 cu. ft. behind rear seat; 50.4 cu. ft. when rear seat’s folded.
Turning diameter, 30.8 ft.
•How thirsty? Rated 126 miles-per-gallon-equivalent in the city, 99 mpg-e on the highway, 112 mpg-e in combined use. Rated range: 62 miles. Charge time, up to 22.5 hours on 120-volt household circuit.
•Overall: Small, choppy-riding, tinny-feeling, quiet, distinctive.
A Week with the i-MiEV 'Smug' Machine
Canberra Times report Judith Ireland recounts her 7 days commuting in Mitsubishi's all-electric car.
Canberra Times/Australia 07 Aug 2011
FRIDAY: It’s... evening and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is in the car park at work, waiting for someone to claim it.
It doesn’t stand out from the crowd of other cars as much as you’d expect. It’s just a small, moderately futuristic-looking hatchback with a snub nose for a boot.
I am relieved that despite the technohype, it’s a no-brainer to get the car on the road. All you need to do is hop in, put your foot on the brake and turn the ignition switch. The car pauses for a second and then beeps to life. When a green “READY” sign appears on the dashboard moments later, I am good to go.
The most uncanny thing about the car – which still surprises me a week later – is that the “take-off” is so quiet. There’s no sputtering to life. No revving up.
Stopped at the lights on Northbourne Avenue, the car is not only quiet but still.
Unlike a petrol-driven car, it does not use energy when it isn’t moving. I also can’t help but notice the cars in front of me, spewing plumes of smoke. I sit smugly in my stealth buggy. There are no fumes coming out of my car. I don’t even have an exhaust pipe! According to University of South Australia electric vehicle researcher Peter Pudney, I am justified in my smugness. If you charge your EV with GreenPower your emissions are essentially zero he says.
EVs are also much more efficient than a standard petrol-driven car. ACT Electric Vehicle Council board director Mishka Talent says electric motors are over 90 per cent efficient. This is compared with petrol-driven motors, which are only about 15-25 per cent efficient.
Answering one criticism of EVs, Pudney says he has seen no evidence to suggest that the energy-intensive battery production for EVs poses an environmental threat. “The emissions [saved] due to driving an EV far outweigh the emissions in their production.” But things get shadier if you charge your car via conventional non-green electricity sources. EVs recharged from the current mix of electricity, such as black coal in the ACT, will only have slightly lower CO2 emissions than the average new car. And low-emissions new cars (such as the Toyota Prius) will have lower emissions than conventionally charged EVs.
SATURDAY: Nothing says “weekend” like an intra-city road trip for household goods. Desperately seeking furniture for my relatively new and very empty house, I take a trip out to Hume because someone at work said I’d find nice dining tables out there.
The furniture turned out to be a nonevent but the trip down the Monaro Highway gave the i-MiEV a chance to strut its stuff.
In normal city traffic conditions, the i-MiEV had already proved to be nimble and responsive, but out here it has no trouble zipping up to 100km/h and staying there. However, I amalso realising that this is a double-edged sword. If I take my eye off the digital speedometer, it (or I) has a tendency to jump.
As Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV key account manager Mark Whyte notes, you can’t “drive with your ears” in an electric car.
You can’t hear the car climbing up a gear.
So I find myself driving with half an eye lingering on the dashboard, fearing that I’ll zoom past the speed limit and into trouble.
To complete the weekend idyll, I take the i-MiEV to the Fyshwick Markets to stock up on dinner supplies and the odd mandarin. I crawl around in search of a park, with seemingly oblivious pedestrians wandering in front of me. Are people idiots? Or is it just that they can’t hear the car? Whyte says that the quietness of the car at less than 25km/h has been noted by Mitsubishi – overseas the model is sold with a noise generator.
Whyte assures me that if the car is involved in a serious accident the battery will be isolated, so electric shock is not a worry. Emergency services have also been given information on where to cut the car, should they need to.
SUNDAY: I am constantly watching the battery level and calculating the distances I need to drive. The i-MiEV is supposed to have between 110 and 120km of range. But this will be affected by things like cold weather, heaters, the radio, hills, headlights and highway driving. By the time I got the car home on Saturday evening, according to the dashboard, it had about 10km of battery to go and the battery light was flashing.
I’ve worked out that the closest charge point is at the Crowne Plaza in the city. But on Saturday I didn’t have time to muck around with the recharge (critical house cleaning was required before friends came over). Now, on Sunday morning, I’m almost late for work and in a pickle as it takes about seven hours to charge the battery from zero to full.
I could charge the car at the office (you only need a 15-amp outlet) but I’m not confident I’ll make it all the way there. My concern isn’t helped by the fact that I’m not entirely sure what to do if the battery does in fact run out.
Get out and push? Abandon it and flee the country? So I leave the i-MiEV at home and take my 1996 Mitsubishi Magna. Decrepit, fuel guzzling and grumpy, the Magna must be the great-granddaddy of the i-MiEV. I like the synergy but hate the guilt.
I later discover that I didn’t need to be quite so anxious. ACT Electric Vehicle Council’s Mishka Talent recently ran a test to see how far the i-MiEV would go. On a cold day, with the heater and headlights on, he took the car up Black Mountain and along the highway and found the car got to 85km before it started showing 0km. But it still kept going. Then the screen went blank, the heater turned itself off and it went into a “turtle mode” – in which it ran at a slower speed, with a little turtle sign illuminated on the dashboard. Only after all that did it completely run out of battery and stop moving.
In Sydney, the NRMA has recently launched a mobile charge station which will give you 10km worth of battery in 20 minutes if you run out. The ACT will get a mobile charge station within the next few weeks. In the meantime, if you break down in your EV, the NRMA will come and tow you to a charge spot.
MONDAY: I drive to the Crowne Plaza where there is a public Better Place charge spot. Recharging the car is just like filling the tank with petrol, except instead of hooking up to a petrol pump, you connect the car to a power point using a special cable. The i-MiEV isn’t the only EV at the charge spot. There’s a bright red Tesla Roadster – the first EV available commercially in the US. It turns out the owner is Tesla Australia manager Jay McCormack.
He’s in Canberra to meet clients (there are two Roadster owners here out of about 10 nationally) and he offers to take me for a spin.
At about $200,000, the Roadster is in a radically different ballpark to the $50,000-ish i-MiEV.
The Tesla has a battery range of about 400km, so McCormack’s trip down from Sydney was no issue. You can recharge the car in a standard household electric socket, just like where you’d plug the toaster in, he says.
McCormack takes me through the city in the Tesla. With more than 6000 lithium-ion batteries in the boot, it feels heavy and authentically noisy – had I not already known it was electric, I wouldn’t have picked it. When we get to the turn-off to Black Mountain, he pauses and asks if I’m ready for something a bit more “spirited”. “Sure,” I say, grabbing a handle and trying to look cool.
The Tesla can accelerate from 0 to 97km/h in 3.7 seconds. With the Roadster tearing up and hugging the road at the same time, I’m wondering why The Canberra Times didn’t decide to do an article about driving a Tesla for a week. Or maybe even a year. Just to fully understand how it works.
After work that evening, I return to the i-MiEV at the Crowne Plaza. It’s all charged up with 95km on the clock after eight hours of charging.
TUESDAY: Today’s my day off and with the car fully charged, I’m looking forward to a day of unanxious Canberra motoring.
First stop: Mt Ainslie. Even though the i-MiEV has no trouble reaching the top (albeit will less va-va voom than the Tesla). It uses 10km worth of battery on the way up, though.
Using the car’s regenerative braking function – which puts power back into battery when you brake – I recapture 1km going back down.
Still, there’s plenty left in the battery-tank, and I drive to Gungahlin to do a mammoth grocery shop in preparation for a dinner party that I’m hosting.
Travelling along lengthy stretches of road and through traffic lights and roundabouts, I am reminded of Canberra EV president Julia McDonald’s advice. She drives a converted electric VW Beetle and says that driving style affects the way you use the battery. Smooth, unaggressive driving, using the regenerative breaking will help conserve your power.
Even though the car is an automatic, I feel like I’m paying more attention to the way I’m driving the car and how much energy I’m using up as I manoeuvre my way around.
WEDNESDAY: Better Place is planning to have thousands of charge spots in Canberra once it launches its EV network here next year. But you won’t necessarily have to use one of the public points. Better Place can install one in your home or office, or you can go your own way if you have a 15-amp outlet at home or work.
The Canberra Times’ ink room has a 15-amp outlet, so I plug it in when I get to work in the morning and by the end of the day, there are more than 100km on the battery. However, I’m not sure whether I’ve just recharged using green or coal-powered electricity (smug status: undetermined).
Charging up while you work or sleep will be simple. But one of the biggest questions people have about the EV is, what about driving to Sydney? Better Place is planning to install “battery switch stations” at key points along the route to Sydney and the coast, which will allow you to change your battery on the spot if you have a compatible car.
There is also a fast charge function for EVs, where you can get an 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes. However, at this stage, there are only two fast charge points in Australia (Adelaide and Melbourne).
Whyte adds that battery technology is improving all the time – and that industry expects that within four years they will have EV batteries that are half the current price (about $10,000) and have twice the capacity.
Price is unsurprisingly one of the big factors influencing people’s thinking when it comes to EVs. A recent study by Deloitte found that two-thirds of the 500 Australians surveyed did not want to pay a premium for an EV.
Whyte acknowledges that the $48,800 price tag for the i-MiEV isn’t cheap – on road in the ACT it will be about $51,450 – but says that as economies of scale kick in and battery prices come down, the car – and others like it – will become more affordable. It is worth noting that this time last year, the i-MiEV would have cost about $65,000. With GreenPower for the i-MiEV costing about 3-4c per kilometre as opposed to about 13c per kilometre for petrol, the running costs are also significantly less than for a new conventional car.
THURSDAY: Stopping off at a petrol station early this morning for a restorative coffee milk, I realise it’s been more than a week since I even had to think about a petrol pump.
It’s about 6.30am and there’s a sign on the door asking customers to go to the “night window”. “Can I come in?” I ask, gesticulating wildly at the dairy cabinet. The petrol station guy thinks I’m there to buy petrol and doesn’t want to let me in. “It’s an electric car,” I tell him. “I don’t want any petrol!” At lunchtime, I take three colleagues for a road trip to Manuka to test out the car with four normal-sized adult passengers. Claire thinks the backseat is a bit claustrophobic but Mick, folded up like a paperclip, says he’s had worse experiences in small cars. The i-MiEV is unfussed with the extra people, but doesn’t like it when I put the air conditioning on.
Thinking ahead about the rest of the day, I plug the car in at work for the afternoon. I need to go to Tuggeranong tonight and want to make sure I don’t need the services of the NRMA mobile charge station.
Heading off to Tuggeranong, I’m confident the i-MiEV will cope, even when I get lost (who knew there were two corners of Anketell Street and Athllon Drive?), which adds several kilometres to my journey.
FRIDAY: Curtin University EV researcher Andrew Simpson says that one of the key challenges facing the take-up of EVs in Australia is that they are new. Even though humans have been driving EVs since the very first days of motoring, widespread EV driving is “all new to us” in Australia. Simpson says the best way to convince people about the technology is to get them to sit in an EV. “We [have] learned that once people get a chance to drive and experience them for themselves, they actually like them a lot.” The experts – both in research and industry – suggest that it will be several years before EVs make up a significant proportion of Australian cars on the road. But as I return the i-MiEV to the ACT Electric Vehicle Council, I honestly wish I could keep it.
Some quirks and inconveniences aside, it’s very easy to drive, energy efficient and, if recharged using GreenPower, essentially emissions free.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV was loaned to The Canberra Times by the ACT Electric Vehicle Council.
Euro NCAP Releases Safety Results on First Electric Car
Four-star rating given to Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn which share common platform.,
Independent/UK 28 Feb 2011
Euro NCAP, the organization charged with crash-testing Europe's cars, has released the safety results of the first battery-electric vehicle it has ever tested.
Euro NCAP awarded the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which is currently on sale in Europe and Japan and will be coming to the US this year, a "creditable" four star rating, adding that its performance "shows that safety does not need to be compromised in zero-emissions vehicles."
As the i-MiEV is the base for the Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn, also coming to market across Europe in 2011, all three will share the four-star rating.
Euro NCAP's Dr. Michiel van Ratingen said that the i-MiEV's high rating shows that a future five-star accolade for EVs is not unthinkable.
"Whether produced by established car manufacturers or by new players on the market, consumers should expect to get electric vehicles that meet the same safety standards as conventional vehicles," he said in a statement.
With other electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Opel Ampera hitting Europe's streets this year, the organization's first EV test signals a change in its testing strategy to accommodate the new technology.
It said that while plug-in vehicles are exposed to the same test conditions as their gasoline counterparts, special attention is paid to battery integrity after a crash, including the battery cut-off switch which isolates the power supply.
At January's North American International Auto Show, Volvo displayed a wrecked C30 electric, aiming to raise awareness and convince the public that electric vehicles are as safe as others.
It said that while the electric C30 had displayed the same safety level as the combustion engine version, its tests had drawn attention to some challenges such as reinforcing the front crumple zone, which normally contains a large, solid engine, and protecting the batteries.
Last year, General Motors began training first responders in the US about how to deal with an electric vehicle accident, including procedures such as shutting down the power supply, disabling airbag systems and how to deal with the battery packs, which can explode when exposed to high temperatures.
Singapore Electric Car Test Aims to Start in May 2011
Singapore considered ideal for electric transportation test due to compact urban size and robust power grid.
Eco-Business 22 Feb 2011
SINGAPORE -- The first batch of 10 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars is likely to be launched in May for the start of a three-year test-bedding project here.
The i-MiEV is a pure electric vehicle (EV) that is part of a $20 million programme to test-bed EVs in Singapore.
‘The test-bed will run for a period of three years, commencing from the middle of this year,’ said Lew Yii Der, the Land Transport Authority’s group director for corporate planning and research.
The LTA is one of the co-leaders of Singapore’s multi-agency EV Taskforce, along with the Energy Market Authority (EMA).
Mr Lew was speaking yesterday at the UK-Singapore Partners in Science Electric Vehicles Symposium 2011. The event, hosted by the British High Commission and the National University of Singapore, brought together specialists from Singapore, the UK and China to discuss the latest EV research and related work in power systems, materials and infrastructure.
The symposium aims to offer a starting point for collaboration between UK and Singaporean specialists to further develop this area of research by sharing their expertise, views and experience.
Mr Lew said that the Republic is considered an ideal location for electric transport test-bedding because of its small size, compact urban environment, robust power grid, infocomm infrastructure, and research and development capabilities.
‘We are positioning Singapore as a ‘living laboratory’ for companies to research, develop and test innovative solutions for EVs,’ he said.
As for the upcoming test-bed project involving the first batch of Mitsubishi i-MiEV models, he said that some companies have indicated interest in buying the cars but so far, there has not been any firm commitment.
Only companies and organisations will be allowed to buy the cars, which will be exempt for the usual vehicular taxes under a special Transport Technology Innovation and Development Scheme or Tides+ scheme.
According to Mr Lew, the companies which have expressed interest are a mix of big and small, with some MNCs as well as local firms, and they want to find out more details about the car’s cost and Tides+.
Another speaker at the symposium was Andrew Tay, the principal investigator of a project to develop an intelligent, high-performance battery system for EVs.
Prof Tay and his team are working on a super battery with a charging rate that is 10 times better than current batteries.
By September 2013, he expects to have a battery pack ready for installation in an electric passenger car currently being prepared by ST Kinetics, the team’s industrial collaborator.
The day-long symposium also featured 10 other speakers who discussed subjects ranging from the electrical challenges for future transport, to electromobility in megacities.
Whispering Along in i-MiEV Electric Car
Rob Maetzig shares his experiences with the Mitsubishi i-MiEV in Wellington, New Zealand.
Stuff/New Zealand 15 Oct 2010
Wouldn't it be great to own a four-door hatchback with an emissions-free electric motor costing no more than $5 a day to charge?
That charge would be from empty, too.
Under normal circumstances that wouldn't need to happen, because its range on a full charge would be 150 kilometres – way more than the average daily commute.
In truth, you would probably spend less than $90 a month to "refuel" this vehicle – a daily cost that would be less than a cup of coffee.
The hatchback's performance would be pretty good, too. It would offer all the pep required for inner-city driving, and the highway speed would be as much as 130kmh.
And finally, it would not contribute one iota to noise pollution.
Being powered by an electric motor it would be totally silent, enabling you to hold conversations or listen to the audio with the only sound intrusions being tyre roar and wind noise on the open road.
Wouldn't it be great? But is it the stuff of dreams?
Well, no. That's because there is such a vehicle here now – and it is becoming something of a darling of the motoring scene around Wellington. The vehicle is the new Mitsubishi i-MiEV – as in Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle – and it is the first production electric car to reach New Zealand.
Five of these battery-powered hatchbacks have been imported by a joint-venture comprising the Wellington City Council, Mitsubishi Motors, Meridian Energy, New Zealand Post and The Wellington Company, and they are happily running around the capital's streets in a trial to find out what would be required to allow full-scale commercial introduction of electric vehicles.
One is now hard at work as an inner-city courier vehicle, another is being used as a company car and the rest are being used as demonstrators available to be driven by a variety of invited guests.
Everyone is hoping the trial will show that electric cars are viable in Wellington – and anywhere else, for that matter – and identify any barriers to their widespread adoption, such as a need for charging stations.
The city council points out that 45 per cent of all journeys to work in Wellington are by car, van or truck, so any chance to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions has to be taken seriously.
"With land transport producing more than a third of the city's greenhouse gases, electric vehicles have a part to play in our goal of significantly reducing Wellington's greenhouse emissions by 2020," former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said.
"There is huge interest in trialling these vehicles around the world. Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand made the case to its parent company in Japan that Wellington would be an ideal testing ground. That's because we have an open attitude to new technology, we have short average commutes, we have a commitment to sustainability – and we have hills."
That final point about hills is interesting. I was invited to Wellington last week to spend a few hours behind the wheel of this fascinating little i-MiEV, and discovered hills are the biggest deciding factor as to whether the driving experience on fully charged batteries will be just a couple of hours, or longer. We'll go into that a little later.
First, all the information about this special little car. The i-MiEV had its beginnings in 2005 when Mitsubishi unveiled an electric Colt hatch at the Tokyo Motor Show. The car had a series of lithium-ion batteries that powered electric motors installed in each of the car's wheels.
Since then, the concept has been developed and refined so that, with this i-MiEV, launched to fleet customers in Japan last year and on sale to the public in that country last April, the car is powered by 88 high-capacity lithium-ion battery cells that can be recharged in about seven hours using a 15-amp household power supply.
All that stored energy feeds to a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor located over the i-MiEV's rear axle, and which generates 47 kilowatts of power and 180 newton metres of torque.
Because the motor doesn't require a conventional transmission – and therefore there isn't any clutch between the motor and a gearbox – there are virtually no power losses in transferring the drive from the motor to the wheels.
In that regard, the car operates very much like a swept-up electric golf cart.
Climb into the i-MiEV and turn on the ignition, and nothing happens. Well, almost nothing.
The car's innards whirr and give out a couple of beeps to indicate something's happened, but, seriously, the only real confirmation that the Mitsubishi has started up is when you place the transmission into Drive and move away – totally silently.
When operated in Drive, the performance is fine.
I took the i-MiEV for a spurt around that winding circuit on the other side of Wellington airport that takes a vehicle through the likes of Shelley Bay, Worser Bay and on to Moa Point Rd, and was quite impressed with the car's capability – it was simply another easy-to-drive hatchback.
The transmission also has an Economy mode, to be used for efficient energy use, and I chopped it down into this mode when I headed up the Hutt motorway and into a stiff northerly wind.
Frankly, the car couldn't handle it.
I was unable to maintain 100kmh, and was forced to move back into Drive.
I don't know what happens when Economy is chosen, and the technicians at the Mitsubishi dealership in central Wellington couldn't tell me, either. I'm not being critical of that, because, frankly, the arrival of a new-age electric car must represent a learning curve steeper than any of the Wellington hills.
I think, however, that a variety of changes must occur, not the least to the accelerator settings.
That's because choosing Economy mode represents a change in performance that is huge, almost to the extent that I would describe it as a sort of limp-home mode.
It would only be suitable for use in slow around-town driving.
The transmission has another mode, called Brake. This uses regenerative braking to convert the Mitsubishi's momentum into battery power, particularly when driving down steep hills.
I tried all of that in the western Hutt hills, but soon discovered that in order to go down any hills it is necessary to drive up them first. Therefore, it wasn't long before my fuel gauge told me I was almost out of juice and needed to get back to the dealership for refuelling – sorry, recharging.
Incidentally, this gauge is a fuel gauge in the traditional sense, even though it indicates the amount of battery power left.
Obviously, range is the biggest downside of this new Mitsubishi i-MiEV hatch.
With its restriction to around 150km with normal-to-gentle driving, and no means at this stage to be refuelled once run to empty, it will always be very much an urban vehicle that can't roam far from its recharge point at home base, which has to be a special installation because of the 15-amp requirement.
Even that is not really an issue – it's more an infrastructure thing. The most important aspect of this special Wellington trial is that it is providing a glimpse to the future, to a time that will most certainly come, when dozens of emissions-free electric cars will be zipping here and there, just like the petrol-fuelled versions do today.
And as I cruised around Wellington's streets in the little car, it occurred that this raises an interesting point. What would you call a group of electric cars – a battery, perhaps?
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