Mitsubushi's 'i-MiEV Sport Air' Electric Concept Car
TOKYO, JAPAN - Mitsubishi Motors brought their 4-passenger 'i-MiEV Sport Air' prototype electric car (shown in the photo) to the 2009 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland last month and for the automotive industry, much like with Mitsubishi's soon to be released electric i-MiEV 5-door sedan, the i-MiEV Sport Air represents the latest technology in affordable lithium battery powered motoring.
Mitsubishi Motors will start selling their production electric i-MiEV sedan (see theirEarth March 30, 2009 Road Test and Photo) in limited quantities in Japan and the United Kingdom later this year, and for the i-MiEV Sport Air prototype, shown painted in blue, they are still tentative about whether they will produce it. In 2010, Mitsubishi will release the left-hand drive version of the i-MiEV sedan to Europe, with some limited trials in the United States as well. We test drove the i-MiEV sedan in Southern France last month and reported that it drove extremely well with excellent acceleration and very low cabin noise. For sports handling enthusiasts, its very good news that both of Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric models are rear-wheel drive.
Mitsubishi's i-MiEV sedan has similar lines to the Sport Air (as shown in the photo), but the Sport Air has what Mitsubishi refers to as a teardrop body shape with a sharp descending rear side profile to the sedan's more conventional 5-door minivan shape. The Sport Air's large roof panel is removable, giving the occupants an open-air experience with electric car zero emissions motoring. Mitsubishi also claims that the Sport Air has an excellent aerodynamic profile due to its radical design shape.
The Sport Air has a second-generation lithium ion battery that incorporates an improved design for the electrodes and a new light-weight battery housing technology. Inside, the i-MiEV Sport Air, there is a wrap around cockpit dashboard that conveys a more sports car road feel to the driver. Mitsubishi has designed the i-MiEV Sport Air as an affordable electric sports car, and the weight distribution is an ideal 50/50 front to rear. To keep the weight of the Sport Air low, the rear suspension and the rear body are made of aluminium.
The i-MiEV Sport Air has a more powerful 60 kW electric motor to the 47 kW motor in the i-MiEV sedan. The Sport Air's motor also generates more torque at 230 Nm versus the sedan's 180 Nm. The large lithium-ion battery pack is rated at 330 volts, and is mounted in front of the electric motor in a flat pack below the passenger compartment. Mitsubishi says that all the drivetrain components are mounted below passenger compartment, which gives a very low centre of gravity, and excellent sports cornering capability. The tires on the i-MiEV are low profile 175/50 on 17-inch rims.