The four-star rating given by Euro NCAP to the electric plug-in vehicle, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, proves that safety doesn’t need to be compromised in zero-emissions vehicles. The i-MiEV has the same rating as its twin models, the Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn, which have the same design and safety equipment.
According to Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP’s Secretary General, Mitsubishi’s efforts to demonstrate that plug-in battery powered cars can be as safe as others were recognized. Van Ratingen said that this shows that a future 5 star rating for EVs is possible.
He added that whether a vehicle is built by established carmakers or by new players on the market, consumers should expect to get electric vehicles that meet the same safety standards as conventional vehicles.
Euro NCAP tests plug-in vehicles with live batteries and these cars are subjected to the same test conditions as the other cars in the program.
Euro NCAP places special attention to post-crash battery integrity and the proper functioning of the battery cut-off switch that isolates the high-voltage battery in the event of a crash.
Extra precautions are taken before, during, and after testing, which is only done at laboratories with specially-trained personnel.
Service plugs are removed during vehicle preparation and extra fire-fighting measures are taken to guarantee the safety of laboratory personnel and equipment. Tests done on the i-MiEV detected no electrical or fire hazards.
The A-Segment “i” was first previewed as a concept car by Mitsubishi at the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show. In January 2006, this car was launched in Japan, earning awards and praises from both media and customers. This “i” served as the platform for the carmaker’s next-gen EV project: the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. The carmaker then unveiled the Euro-spec. version (left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive) of the i-MiEV at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.
i MiEV was first announced in October 2006 as a research vehicle. Underpinned by the mid-ship architecture of the “i", the i MiEV was powered by a compact and lightweight motor that gets its juice from high-energy density lithium-ion batteries.
Less than three years have passed and a thorough development process -- with over 500,000 km of testing – has been completed, Mitsubishi launched the i-MiEV in July 2009, initially targeting fleet customers. Soon, the carmaker opened the order books for retail customers in Japan, who received their i-MiEV units as early as April 2010.