Mitsubishi i-MiEV (2011 – 2017) Review

Mitsubishi i-MiEV (2011 – 2017) At A Glance


+Innovative technology. Exempt from London congestion charge. Fun to drive.

-Range is 80 miles. Charging is awkward if you live in a flat. Limited space inside. Huge cost of replacement batteries effectively writes the cars off.

Insurance Group 27

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is an innovative, fun and well equipped small electric city car. But there's one thing stopping you going out to buy one today and that's the list price. Initially a ludicrous £38,699, minus a £5,000 grant, later reduced to £23,990 after the Government grant to help subsidise the cost, making it ridiculously unaffordable to all but the earliest of the early adopters.

The figures just don't stack up. Compare it to a mid-spec Toyota Aygo and you're looking at 24 years, two battery changes and the best part of 300,000 miles before it recoups the initial outlay. The figures aren't quite as daunting for those who live in or commute to London as these owners would save £2000 a year through congestion charge exemption. But it still makes little sense to the average buyer.

And it's a shame that the cost casts such a long shadow over the car as it's actually very good. If it wasn't so expensive, we'd probably rate it as a four-star car. Start-up is silent and peak torque is available almost instantly, which makes it quick off the mark and fast to 30mph, which is ideal for town driving.

Power delivery is smooth, too, and it's jerk-free on the move. Although the range is limited to 80 miles, those who use it in towns and cities (where it was designed for) shouldn't have much of a problem. It's 'off' when stationary in traffic, so it doesn't unnecessarily use power, and as long as it's not being driven too hard, gets close to the estimated range.

A full charge takes around six hours (so can be done overnight or when you're at work) from a household socket, but takes just 25 minutes from a fast charging point, which are starting to spring up across the country.

Peugeot iON 2010 Road Test and Video

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Would an electric car cope with hilly terrain?

"We currently have a Honda Jazz CVT. My my wife, who has limited mobility, really likes it. However, we feel that with the type of motoring that we do, journeys up to about 25 miles from home, that an electric car would be a good alternative. Our area is quite hilly, which makes quite a dent in our Jazz's petrol consumption (45+mpg on relatively level roads down to 40mpg going over hills). Would an electric car cope with this? With battery rental, the impression I get is that the cost would be about the same as filling up with petrol, which somewhat defeats the object of an electric car. At the moment, we are thinking of a Nissan Leaf, but would value your views if there were an alternative. Are the used versions any good? I understand that Honda do a Hybrid CVT for the Jazz."
Yes, hills will make a significant dent in the range of electric cars. But my parents live in Hexham Northumberland which has steep hills in the town itself and all around and there are a number of Nissan Leaf and Nissan eNV200 electric vans operating in the area, so they must make sense. Better to go for one with longer range batteries though. Good choice these days. Kia Soul electric, Hyundai Ioniq electric, Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf and plenty of secondhand Mitsubishi i-Miev, Citroen C-ZERO, Peugeot iOn, Renault Fluence ZE, etc going cheap. Honda did a Mk II Jazz hybrid. Plenty of Yaris hybrids. The Toyota Auris hybrid works well. Prius extremely popular.
Answered by Honest John

Why aren't electric cars being aimed at older drivers in rural locations?

"I no longer drive conventional cars, but I live in the country and much enjoy travelling our lanes on my electric buggy. I am a fairly tough old fella and am not much deterred by the exposure to the elements that my buggy rides involve, but it occurred to me that the car designers/makers are missing an opportunity. There are increasing numbers of older people living in the country who don't drive far or fast and could manage very well with a good electric car, which ought to be much cheaper to make and to run than the conventional combustion engine-driven machines. However I almost never see electric cars down our way. What do you think? "
Electric cars are actually much more expensive to make than conventional cars because they are not made in volumes that achieve economies of scale, and the batteries are very expensive indeed. That’s partly why the original Mitsubishi i-MIEV was originally listed at a gobsmacking £38,000. There is, of course, the mass produced Renault Twizy, from £6500 (you rent the batteries), and the forthcoming Renault Zoe from £15,000.
Answered by Honest John

What's best for short distances?

"So here’s a question of a technical nature. Need to buy a car, but my current living-employment situation requires that I do several short distances daily. These distances are too far to walk but at the same time so short that most of the time my current car doesn’t get up to full operating temperature, leading to premature wear, increased consumption and so on. So, what to buy? Is either petrol or diesel better suited for such operating conditions, would an old-school normally aspirated engine be better than a turbo-ed one? I would really appreciate any input."
An electric vehicle is best for this sort of use.
Answered by Honest John

Clean Simplicity?

"My wife, Carol, wants to buy an all-electric car, a four/five-seater hatchback, with a decent range. What can you recommend please? Do you think all-electric cars are all that green? What about all the coal that is burned to generate the electricity to charge the car? "
Nothing. Nothing is really any good and the best available, such as a conversion of the Citroen C1, is outrageously expensive. As much as a Prius. Mitsubishi recently announced a price of £33,000 for its tiny i-MIVC electric car, and that was after a government grant of £5,000. With nuclear power closing down, not much hydro electricity and alternative energy creation comprising only a small percentage in the UK, any electric car is likely to run on coal fired power so is only 'clean' in its immediate environment. Also the UK is running out of the means of developing enough power for its needs anyway because there has been insufficient investment in power generation. The only sensible argument for electric is that they are good for short runs from cold, and start-stop use, which is where internal combustion engines are at their least efficient. That's why milk floats were electric. The best compromise is a Prius or a Honda Insight hybrid.
Answered by Honest John
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