Mitsubishi Recalls i-MiEV For Faulty Brakes
Problems continue to mount for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, with news that the Japanese automaker’s electric-powered sedan is being recalled due to a flaw with its braking system. The problem has been traced to an electrical pump that feeds air to the brake booster. Should the pump malfunction, it would take considerably more force on the brake pedal to bring the car to a stop, and stopping distances would subsequently be far greater than normal.
With 14,700 vehicles affected globally, the total number of cars being recalled by Mitsubishi is relatively small. However, the figure represents approximately half of all the i-MiEV EVs sold around the world. The jellybean-shaped Mitsubishi, marketed stateside as the “i”, has been a notable flop in the electric car market. In 2012, a year when Nissan found roughly 10,000 buyers for its LEAF 5-door, sales of the Mitsubishi i didn’t crack 700 units in the U.S.
Bigger issues than a recall
The sales problem has much more to do with the everyday usability of the i-MiEV, versus this recent recall over a flawed pump. For starters, driving range lags far behind the competition. Mitsubishi quotes overall driving range on a full charge at around 62 miles—though even PlugInCars.com contributors have seen real-world results that are only half of this estimate. And despite Mitsubishi pricing this quirky-looking EV far below its rivals, most notably the Nissan LEAF, the ride quality, cabin materials, and driving comfort of the i-MiEV are routinely criticized as being too crude and unrefined.
Even Mitsubishi appears to be turning away from the i-MiEV, as the company has recently focused more of its attention on plug-in hybrids, such as the upcoming Outlander PHEV. Powered by two electric motors coupled to a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder engine, Mitsubishi has promised its plug-in SUV will have an electric driving range of 37 miles. North American sales of the Outlander PHEV are scheduled to begin in 2014, with a starting price estimated in the region of $35,000 (including Federal and state incentives).
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