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Smart Mitsubishi iMiEV

Mitsubishi will be testing our response to their all-electric car at the up coming International Auto Show in New York. Mitsubishi has been researching their iMiEV since 2005. The four-door Mitsubishi iMiEV can travel over 80 miles on a full charge. The iMiEV is smaller than a subcompact, about the size of a four-door Smart car.

Mitsubishi plans to build 2,000 iMiEVs in 2009 and 5,000 the next year.

Their strategy is to sell the car in Japan to fleet customers next year and to the general public in 2010. The car makes no sound, even when it starts, but otherwise drives normally. It has no tailpipe emissions.

It takes 14 hours to charge completely on a 110-volt home outlet, or seven hours on a 220-volt outlet. The car incorporates a solar roof, two compact wind turbines built into the front grill, and a regenerative braking system.

Solar roofs can add 20 miles per day to the car's range.

Japan is developing quick-charge stations that will allow the car to be charged in 30 minutes.

The car has a five-by-three-foot lithium-ion battery under the front and rear seats.

The power-train consists of two electric motors in the front (one to power each front wheel), and one motor providing power to the rear-wheels.

Heat-absorbing window glass enhances the effectiveness of the air conditioning and Green Plastic - Mitsubishi Motors' plant-based resin technology - is used for interior components.

The car will cost between $25,000 and $30,000 in Japan, or up to $7,000 more than its high-mileage, gas-powered counterpart, the i minicar.

Mitsubishi is considering bringing the car to the U.S. if there is enough demand for a small electric car.
Some concerns about the safety of lithium-ion batteries, which have overheated in cell phones and laptops, have been voiced.

Mitsubishi motors are convinced in its battery, which is made by GS Yuasa Corp., the largest battery producer in Japan. GS Yuasa already provides lithium-ion batteries for Boeing 787 jets.

The iMiEV puts another car manufacture in the contest to create a mass-market EV. Toyota Motor Corp. and GM are the other companies developing cars powered by lithium-ion batteries.

GM alleges it will have its electric Chevrolet Volt on U.S. roads by 2010.

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