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Mitsubishi EV evolves for EU and Oz

Bulking up: Mitsubishi's MiEV will be bigger for Europe and Australia.

Mitsubishi to show prototype i MiEV electric car designed for Europe and Australia

16 Feb 2009

MITSUBISHI Motors Corporation (MMC) is set to whet European appetites for its first global production EV electric vehicle when it shows the Prototype i-MiEV concept model at next month’s Geneva motor show.

Unlike the existing i-MiEV prototype to be released in Japan in the middle of this year, the Geneva concept is expected to feature a somewhat different body among a host of changes that MMC is set to reveal when the show opens in early March.

These are expected to include greater EV range and improved dynamic capabilities.

Although not officially sanctioned to enter production just yet, it is believed that MMC is close to giving the green light for this modified version, which is larger, wider and longer to suit European tastes as well as to presumably meet European crash test requirements.

This should greatly increase the chances of the i-MiEV’s introduction in Australia.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited boss Rob McEniry revealed to GoAuto last year that “a homologated” version of the i-car – in either regular internal combustion or MiEV guise – needed to be developed before it could be introduced to Australia.

The i-car is related to the current 451-series Smart ForTwo, and uses a variation of its (MMC-built) 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine in some markets, but was originally conceived to comply with Japanese Kei car regulations that restrict size and engine output.

As a result, the original Japanese model did not have to meet the plethora of regional rules necessary for overseas market certification such as mandatory side-intrusion bars and child seat anchorage points under the Australian Design Rules.

However, the tiny Mitsubishi’s critical and commercial success has since led MMC to develop the vehicle as a global contender.

“With feasibility testing now underway in Europe, the possibility for Mitsubishi Motors' i-MiEV electric car to be launched in Europe draws tantalizingly close,” MMC says.

“While no final decision has been made yet as to whether or when the car will be launched, Mitsubishi will continue to gauge reactions through a further exercise: the Prototype i-MiEV show car.

“To be unveiled at the forthcoming Geneva motor show next to the i-MiEV SPORT AIR concept, this latest iteration introduces left-hand drive to the equation and conceptualizes — amongst other items — the wide(er) tracks and long(er) overhangs of a potential European specification i-MiEV.”

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