By Dave Stall.
This is my second installment concerning electric cars being produced by the auto manufacturers. The industry is moving rather quickly, new battery technology, longer range, better creature comforts for the driver and passengers, styling is still somewhat of an issue but not for all. Price is starting to drop; incentives are still alive even though California is broke. (Go grab an electric car before the incentive money dries up!).
The two cars I choose to compare are not from the same year, the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is a 2012 and they are still selling them, is there a new model coming? We will just have to wait and see. I did drive the I-MEV as well as the 500e. So let’s get started.<7p>
2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV
The first thing you notice when you walk up to a 2012 Mitsubishi I-MEV is that it doesn’t look like anything on the road, that is a good thing, its shape does well with occupants and the ability to haul groceries and maybe even a run to the big box store. Starts out as low as $21,625, (See dealer or website for details) seats 4 and gets 112 miles range. Acceleration is very responsive, braking is firm, it has a tight turning radius and the responsive handling that comes from a unique rear-motor design and low center of gravity, and the i-MiEV can be downright fun. The horsepower rating is done as follows, Horsepower BHP @ RPM (kW) :66 hp (49 kW) @ 3000~6000 RPM and the torque pound-foot rating is 145 lb.-ft. (196 Nm) @ 0~300.
I know this is a 2012 but I think we will have an updated i-MiEV on the road soon, but this model works just fine if an electric car is in your future and the price is doable compared to the competition. Do not fear it has all the features the competition has, for example, brake energy regeneration system, three drive modes, D, Eco and B for downhill regenerating, you can go to the website and look at all the features you can add to your i-MiEV.
2013 Fiat 500e
Now the Fiat 500e, you have to look close to tell the difference from a gas powered 500 and the 500e. The 500e is also a blast to drive, plenty of pep and good range. The 500e starts out as low as $20,800 after all the rebates and incentives (See the website or dealer for more information).
The 500e gets 108 MPGe on the freeway with a 111 horsepower, torque comes in at 147 pound foot of torque from an 83 KW motor and the EPA gives the 500e a Fuel Consumption Rating of 29 Kilowatt Hours per 100 miles. The 500e comes with a lot of great standard features like 15-Inch Firestone Firehawk® low rolling resistance tires, heated front seats and mirrors, electronic push-button shifter, antilock regenerative brake system and electronic stability control.
One of the nice things about driving both vehicles and experiencing low battery syndrome I can tell you once you figure out your driving range and your car fits it, then it is a pleasure to drive. So you know automobile manufacturers put a reserve in the gas tank for us forgetful drivers so we won’t get stranded, well they did it to their electric vehicles as well, and how do I know this? Well first it happen to me in the i-MiEV, before I start, it was my fault! I live in Alpine CA, if you know the area we have two monster hills before my exit, if anything will kill an electric vehicles range is hills.
Well on my trip home my i-MiEV was running low on juice to the point that a turtle showed up on the dash which I found out later meant that I was about to fall into a “turtle” mode which would allow me to creep home, well I made it no problem.
In the Fiat 500e I was in LA on the press event when another journalist and I were on the run, well he was the navigator and we went the wrong way, by the time we realized our error we pulled over and we figured it was 42 miles from the hotel and 27 miles range left! Yikes! Guess what? Due to the flat terrain in LA we made it back with 8 miles to spare. Would I buy and electric car if it fit my driving styles? Yes, but I would lease it!