2011 Geneva Motor Show: Mitsubishi iMiEV by Rinspeed

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 3, 2011

Rinspeed unveiled two modified versions of the Mitsubishi iMiEV at the Geneva Motor Show. Specifically, the visitors to Rinspeed’s booth will get to see customized iMiEV twins, a bright yellow one and a matte red one, with Akzo Nobel supplying the exterior colors. The vehicles will also feature Foliatec carbon-fiber films on the front, roof and rear.

Furthermore, the Swiss company has added a H&R lowering suspension and a set of three-piece Works rims that are covered with Goodyear Eagle F1 tires.

Its interior features colorful topstitching and playful variations, using black, red and yellow, combining masculine and feminine notes. It also has been fitted with several sporty features including Sparco shifter and pedals and Recaro Cross Sporster CS seats.

Rinspeed put in gadgets such as HTC “Flyer” tablet computer and Harman multimedia equipment with multifunctional connectivity. According to a press release from the company, both twins are also constantly in close contact with the charging stations and charging infrastructure of electricity giant RWE.

The company also pointed out that the first RWE charging station outside the European Union is in Switzerland. In particular, it is situated in the vicinity of Zurich, in Zumikon, on Rinspeed’s premises.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation will have its next generation EV project -- the Mitsubishi i-MiEV – to be underpinned by the mid-ship A-Segment "i" platform, which was first unveiled in the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show as the concept carat and introduced in Japan in January 2006.

Mitsubishi first announced the i MiEV" – sans the dash -- in October 2006 as a research vehicle powered by a compact and lightweight motor that gets its juice from high-energy density lithium-ion batteries. In a span of less than three years since then, the Japanese carmaker undertook a very thorough development process that comes with over 500,000 km of testing.

In July 2009, Mitsubishi introduced the EV in Japan as "i-MiEV" to fleet customers, and subsequently to private customers. Initial deliveries for private customers commenced in April 2010. Now, Mitsubishi has unveiled a Euro-spec version of the i-MiEV at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

Its European debut comes before Mitsubishi commences production at its Mizushima site in October. European customers – in 14 selected markets -- will receive their units starting December 2010. The then non-hyphened "i MiEV" was a result of 40 years of research and development in the area of electric powertrain, presented as an EV research vehicle in October 2006.

Development and production of EVs commenced at Mitsubishi in October 1966, when Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. was tapped by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to build EV prototypes. TEPCO also tapped Mitsubishi to initiate testing programs using improved battery technology.

This gave birth to a new program that was soon followed by many others –all of which became the basis of the current i-MiEV production car.

To note, Mitsubishi was one of the first carmakers to realize the supremacy of the lithium-ion battery against its lead-acid counterparts in the areas of energy and output densities, as exhibited by the development of the Chariot HEV plug-in hybrid in 1994. This was followed by a number testing programs to further improve in its performance, reliability, safety and durability.

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