By Marc Lachapelle
Mitsubishi is not letting the electric-propulsion movement pass it by. The iMiev microcar presented at the CIAS: “Is not a concept car or wishful thinking; it is a very real, practical battery-electric vehicle that has been tested for the past two years in Japan” says David Patterson, leader of the iMiev joint project on this continent. iMiev, by the way, stands for: ‘i’ platform, Mitsubishi, innovative, electric vehicle. Patterson mentions that the car will go on sale in Japan next summer and that it is currently being tested in California, possibly soon in Canada. And he insists that he’s working hard to get it sold here. Its heart is a 63-horsepower electric motor mounted in a mid-ship rear position and driving the rear wheels. Its 330-volt lithium-ion battery pack can be fully recharged in 12 hours on 110 volts and half of this with a 220-volt outlet. It can also be quick-charged in only 35 minutes with a proper recharging station.
And in the present tense, Mitsubishi is reviving the Sportback name for the Lancer family, this time for a ‘five-door’ hatchback model rather than a wagon. The GTS version gets a naturally-aspirated, 2.4-litre, 168-hp engine and a base price of $23,498 with the standard 5-speed manual and $24,798 with the optional CVT transmission. The Sportback Ralliart model is powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-litre, 237-horsepower engine coupled exclusively to a dual automated clutch sequential gearbox and it starts at $33,498.