Mitsubishi Builds New EV for Joint Research with Power Companies

October 12, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) has built a new research vehicle – the I MiEV – for a next-generation EV development project. The electric vehicle (EV) will be used for joint research programs with power companies that have been working on the promotion of EVs. The power companies will conduct field tests, gather data and evaluate the commercial viability of the vehicle. MMC will provide power companies with EVs and analyze field test data collected by them.

The new research EV is based on MMC's i mini-car, and named " i MiEV." The i MiEV is powered by a compact and lightweight motor and high-energy density lithium-ion batteries. After removing the i's combustion engine mounted on the platform with an original rear-midship layout, a single motor is mounted in its place. The i MiEV became electric-powered with a few modifications of the body structure. In addition to the joint research programs, MMC will further improve the car's components, such as the battery system, motor and EV electronic control unit for future commercial applications.

MMC will begin joint research with Tokyo Electric Power Company, and The Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc., in November 2006 and with Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd., in January 2007. MMC will provide each power company with i MiEVs. By testing the vehicles, the power companies will evaluate how it is applied to their business and how the fast-charge infrastructure may be developed for EVs.

In the autumn of 2007, MMC will begin fleet testing in order to verify the vehicle's technical capabilities in daily use and to evaluate the commercial acceptance in collaboration with the power companies above as well as the Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd., and Hokuriku Electric Power Company. MMC will provide the power companies with i MiEVs for the fleet tests. The data collected from the tests of daily use shall be used to assess the commercial viability of EVs in the market place.