A Week with the Mitsubishi I-MiEV: Cute Car Provokes Range Anxiety

By · December 14, 2012

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

A bargain price helps, but don't expect to make long trips. (Jim Motavalli photo)

Most of the time I borrow test cars from the carmakers, but the battery-powered and budget-minded Mitsubishi i-MiEV came to me by way of my local dealer, who thought I ought to drive it. So it’s been at my house for a week, giving me a fairly accurate picture of what it would be like to live with this particular electric car.

On Empty at 31 Miles

I liked a lot of things about the i-MiEV, but there’s a major range issue. After 31.3 miles of around-town driving, where electrics should be strongest, I was getting a blinking fuel gauge and three miles of range left. The car is supposed to have 62 miles of travel, says the EPA, and I’ve seen anecdotal evidence that some people have gotten that and more, but probably in California. Others, including some of PlugInCars.com's own testers, have seen similar results to mine.

A major factor for an east coaster like me, I think, is unseasonably cold weather. I’ve been blasting the cabin and seat heaters, listening to CDs, running the defroster—a bunch of power draws.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV in the driveway

The car is cute, kind of fun to drive, but a bit pokey. (Jim Motavalli photo)

Some electrics from start-ups feel flimsy, but the I-MiEV is a major manufacturer car and it feels like it, with solid build quality. Everything works. The car is also somewhat bare-bones in contrast to competitors like the Nissan LEAF, without the latter’s fancy graphic displays and smooth interfaces. You get the vital information, but with the sophistication of a $10 Casio watch. That said, there is a useful key fob type gizmo to monitor your state of charge.

The Bargain EV?

Details like that explain how the dealer can offer the i-MiEV for an eye-popping $19,995 (inclusive of the $7,500 federal income tax credit and a $3,160 discount). That makes it the cheapest electric car on the market, at least until the Smart Electric Drive is available next spring. The second edition of the Smart, which is much improved, gets a big price drop to $17,500 after the credit. But that’s a two-seater car.

That said, the cabin is open and airy and feels big for the size of the car. The driver’s seat could have more backwards travel, and the rear seat is a too-flat bench with not-great legroom. The rear seats fold, which is good because storage is somewhat limited. Access and visibility are both good. Here's a close-up view on video:

The car handles well—think Toyota Corolla or something like that. Its most distinctive quality on the road is leisurely acceleration—15 or 20 seconds to 60. There are three drive modes: drive, eco (with stronger regenerative braking) and B (for even more regen—they told me to use it on downhills). I used Eco as the default mode, and didn’t find the regen effect excessive.

No Highway Car

My main challenge was range. I had to pass up using the i-MiEV for several highway trips because I didn’t think I could make it back (except on the end of tow hook). The most range I ever saw on the in-car display with a full change was 46 miles. The car’s 16-kilowatt-hour pack is modestly sized for a battery car. I’m going to try not using climate control or the (confusing) radio and see how much that helps.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

The modern urban pod car still looks stylish. (Jim Motavalli photo)

The included 110-volt charger was easy enough to use, though pulled up to my garage, with the port at the rear of the car, a longer cord would have been helpful. A full charge takes 12 hours on 110, but I was always able to fully charge overnight.

Cloudy Future

It’s uncertain what will become of the i-MiEV, which has found hundreds—not thousands—of U.S. buyers. Sales have never topped 85 nationally in a single month—in November, just 42 found homes (compared to 1,539 LEAFs). Mitsubishi head Osamu Masuko recently told the Australian media, in translated remarks, “The i-MiEV is now on life-support, and we are just warning the family that the end is near.” Does he mean just in Australia, or everywhere? Mitsubishi is evidently turning its attention to the forthcoming Outlander plug-in hybrid, which I would indeed expect to sell much better than the i-MiEV (which was never advertised much).

Masuko said that the strong Japanese yen was one reason for its slow sales, but it’s probably not the price point that’s the biggest issue. The pool of would-be buyers for battery cars isn’t huge, and for many the pricier LEAF presents a more attractive package.

My Connecticut dealer has sold some i-MiEVs to happy customers, most of whom are using it for around-town driving. It’s quite possible to have a good experience that way. “The i-MiEV is a commuter car; you can’t expect to use it for everything,” the sales manager told me. That’s true, but if your wintertime round-trip commute is more than 40 miles, and you don’t have charging on both ends, watch out for range anxiety.


· · 5 years ago

Yeah I keep harping on the same thing hoping Manufacturers will Listen: What is the point of an EV if you are going to put a microscopic battery in it?

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 5 years ago

35 miles of range???

I could have bought an USED Leaf that would do better than that....

My Volt does better!!!!!

· Miev in Paradise (not verified) · 5 years ago

Car works just fine out here on Oahu, of course we drive slower and shorter distances out here which helps, and climate perfectly suits EV's. Island communities work well for EV's!

· Miev in Paradise (not verified) · 5 years ago

EPA estimated range is 62, averaging more like 75-80 per charge here.

· bruce dp (not verified) · 5 years ago

I am surprised at you Jim. Having followed your EV pieces since the early EV days in the 1990's, your writings now have turned, they read more like you are writing to please your editor who does not want the truth but emotional upheaval, leaving the reader confused rather than with a clear understanding of the ins and outs, the pros and cons, and the limitations in clear concise wording.

The title of this piece exclaims range anxiety, an innocuous term that only leaves the reader with fear. Then you drive the iMiev with all devices and appliances on draining the battery more than normal for a long distance, expecting the EPA rated range.

The rest of the wording runs the gamut from complements of a roomy interior and strong structural design, to cheap interior look and feel, and no driving performance. Then top it off with the iMiev is a lower price Production EV.

It is unclear that the iMiev from the dealer was truly fully charged. Any experienced EV driver like you (and I) would fully charge the EV before going on a serious cold weather long distance jaunt with all pack draining devices/appliances on to test the range. Instead, it seems you wanted to run out of energy so you could write about fears.

Next you talk about how EV sales are down and manufacturers are talking of switching to hybrids. That is the conservative line to discourage EV purchases. Why mention it, unless you have bought into their agenda?

What you did not mention is that Connecticut has only level-2 public charging (EVSE) and no level-3 CHAdeMO EVSE. That iMiev like the Leaf only has a half-powered 3kW on-board charger as the manufacturers rely on the driver using its level-3 port for long trips.

Also, you did not mention that Canada's iMiev model has a full 100 mile range pack, not the lower cost wimpy 16kW pack the U.S. model has. Like Canada, CT has cold weather that makes more demands on the pack. Too bad, U.S. buyers do not try to buy a Canadian model.
Having a lower price because of a cheaper lower capacity pack is not a crime. Jim if you bitch of range is halved in Canadian like weather, then you should word your complaints about how EPA messed up (again) in their bogus ratings.

Lastly, you did not mention you did any journalistic legwork to confer with other iMiev drivers near CT by discussing your issues in their forums. Drivers will give the straight poop: what the iMiev will and won't do.

I hope Jim you revert back to you old ways of writing that tells the truth about the vehicle without irrational emotion your editor wants (to sell more copy).

· · 5 years ago

@Bruce dp

Before I respond to your comment I'd like to say that I am 100% in favor of solving the climate change problem and I think EVs are a key component of the solution. I do not own and EV or PHEVbut I plan to buy or lease one next year. Having said that...

Bill, a friend of mine, recently took possession of a Nissan Leaf. Recently I rode with him on a 70 mile round trip. We used the seat heaters on low and only used the climate control to defrost the windshield. It was cold in that car. Luckily I was wearing a warm winter coat with a hood and I wore the hood to keep my head warm. My friend and I were fine with making these adjustments but he told me his wife is not pleased at all about driving around in a cold car.

Bill would not have leased the Nissan Leaf had it not been for my influence. I told him about all the advantages of an EV but I also told him about the disadvantages. If I had not told him about the disadvantages I would feel partly responsible for his wife freezing her arse off. I'm glad I told him the whole truth.

· Chris O (not verified) · 5 years ago

The outlander PHEV should succeed where the iMiEV failed. In Europe it was introduced at base prices below the Volt/Ampera's. In the US the choice between a 7 seat SUV priced lower than its main 4 seat compact sedan competitor should be a no brainer.

· Montreal EV fan (not verified) · 5 years ago

This underscores once again that range is everthing. You can already see the failure or success of a particular BEV unfolding according to its range.

Range has not been taken seriously by some manufacturers because they think the BEV market is merely a city car market, where a small range is judged acceptable. Since this view also keeps the battery cost down, these manufacturers quite enjoy this illusion.

But the big market will always be for a car of equivalent utility to an ICE vehicle, so range is essential to large BEV sales numbers.

· · 5 years ago

Given my 80% rule and taking Jim's cold weather condition which adds another 80% and, perhaps another 80% knock down for driving below the EPA gentle driving (ie, you driving 75 mph like the rest of the cars on the highway), What Jim says rings very true.
62 mpgX80%X80%X80%X80%X80% = 25 miles per charge for one's normal usage. This is when most people start to have range anxiety (although there would be an extra 20% or 12 miles of 'nice-to-the-battery' padding as well).
I think we need to distinguish between EVs that are real cars and ones who's range is so minimal that they aren't of much use and quit promoting them. They are giving EVs a bad name.
Sure, they work on Oahu and a few other niche places but, then so do golf carts and airboats but that doesn't make them mass-market products usable by a lot of people.
I suppose we could all move to Oahu and overrun Miev in Paradise's paradise but if a few of us don't work for a living in Peoria so we can afford to vacation in Hawaii, they will lose their entire means of existence.
Don't get me wrong, I love the efficiency and design of the iMiev. I borrowed one for a weekend and agree that the range was the only severe limitation to it. While a micro-car, it was, similar to the Tesla Model S, very roomy for its exterior size. I haven't driven the US model but I suspect Jim's complaints about performance are because he drove in "eco" mode, not "performance" mode which isn't fair at all.
Mitsubishi: put in a decent sized battery and motor and you'll have a winner.
As it is, the iMiev is a total loser for 99% of Americans that reflects poorly on EVs.

· · 5 years ago

As one of the few hundred (not thousand) iMiev owners in the US, I always feel I have to stick up for the runt in the family. As compared to the Leaf, I don't see the range as the biggest downside since 73 vs 62 EPA range isn't huge. Of course, that's a little bit like comparing e-bicycles, even if one has 15% more range, you're going to have some limitations. On the other hand, because the iMiev is more efficient and has the same charging rate as the Leaf, you can actually get as many (or more ??) miles out of an iMiev in a 24 hour period by opportunity charging. Again, probably a moot point for most people. But, I think it equalizes things. For us we liked the better proportions of the cargo area, better regen, and the more simple display (I still have my 1980's Casio watch, Jim, and love it!). In short, though I had worried a little about buyer's remorse on the thing, so far (after 7 months), we're still really liking it. (The biggest downside for us is just the styling ... it's a rather comely/foofy looking vehicle - one has to be pretty humble and secure with appearances [or like the odd styling] to get along with it.)

We live in a cold place (Pennsylvania) and are still getting 50+ miles range with some heater use (and unlimited heated seat use - which is nice). In a pinch, we can still get 65 miles when it's cold (but yes, we must pre-heat and/or not use the cabin heater). That's plenty for most of our driving. Of course, we like to think, plan, and adjust our lives in a more sustainable way - most others couldn't care less and view our lifestyle as eccentric: "good for you, but I'm not doing that!". It's the kind of car for cheap (yet still relatively well-off) eco-warriors willing to adjust their transportation needs a little. Not too many of those type of people around.

· Hawaii Miev (not verified) · 5 years ago

@ ex EV1

Yes, this Miev works nicely on Oahu and other niche places (Maui, Kauai, etc) which is where they should be marketing these vehicles for the time being. If someone in New York wants to get one of these and order online, they probably are aware of the range limitations and are willing to adjust their driving habits. Here in Hawaii, not much adjustments from driving an ICE other than no gas station visits!

· evcar.pl (not verified) · 5 years ago

I drive imiev and normal range is 70 miles without any problem,
now in cold weather and winter range is around 50 miles with heater on.
I find it a good factor.
This article should not be published because it's not true about this car. And I prefer imiev than leaf because there is no battery issue, much simplier to use car, smaller (better for cities) and range is about to be the same. For longer trips I use diesel car - I'm happy with imiev - great car!

· · 5 years ago


I don't understand the following:

"...This article should not be published because it's not true about this car....."

Jim M states he drove 31.3 miles and then got a warning he had less than 3 miles left. What part of THAT statement is untrue? Are you saying Jim is lieing? I also live in a cold part of the country. It IS an important issue. People in hawaii may say just suffer and don't use the heater, but that's easier said than done. When doing wintertime driving, some days defroster use is mandatory since you have to see out of the windshield. Since electric cars have wimpy heaters in general (I have yet to see an EV with a good one, (except the volt when the engine is running - when its on batteries the heater is crappy- and I see why its crappy. Batteries and heaters don't mix. My range on the Volt goes down from 42 miles in the spring and fall to around 14 miles with the heater on, but then I would also assume the battery heater is also running.)


Its funny that you would complain about stuff being unmentioned, and then you don't tell us the capacity of the Canadian I-miev, nor the size of the OBC.

I tried to get a Tesla thru Toronto but was told they can't sell it to me. I don't see any reason why a mitsu should be any different.

· Objective (not verified) · 5 years ago

The unfortunate truth is that none of these cars reduce energy usage... they increase it. And since growth in energy use is resulting in more extraction and consumption of primary energy in the form of fossil fuels faster than the renewable sources can be brought online, they are contributing to that byproduct of all fossil fuels: CO2 emissions.

Putting public money into private hands for the sole purpose of incenting this pink elephant for the brainwashed... should be a crime. A little research money is great. In fact, hefty sums for decent research are great. Outrageous sums to commercialize crap though, is an abomination.

· Warren (not verified) · 5 years ago

I think there is a flaw with the way EPA figures mileage and range. They should load each car with the weight of as many full sized adults, as it is designed to carry. For instance, the Leaf should be tested with five adults aboard, and the Smart Fortwo should be tested with two aboard. Pretending that a car gets X amount of range, without taking this into account is misleading. I suspect the Leaf will end up with less range than the Smart this way. But if you are marketing something as a five passenger vehicle, then that is how it should be tested.

· · 5 years ago

We prefer to refer to ourselves as "exceptional", not freaks but if we're freaks to you then I'm proud to bear the distinction and thank you for recognizing it.
You're going to have to do a lot more than spout out a bunch of silly nonsense to convince me that EV's increase energy usage. Just looking at the heat lost from my EV versus my ICE tells me you are wrong locally. Looking at the solar panels on my roof and my negative electric bill suggests you may not be completely correct in suggesting that more fossil fuels must be brought online to fuel my car. Even if I did charge purely from the grid, its pretty clear that the gasoline avoided would have produced more bad 'stuff' than any extra coal or natural gas that had to be brought online to replace it.
I agree with you that I don't think public money should be spent on it. I disagree with you on the white-collar welfare commonly referred to as publicly supported research. Most of it is a total waste of good money and I don't see the payback exceeding the costs.

· · 5 years ago

I'm not sure I understand why full passenger loading is any more important than dozens of other test conditions the EPA misses.
They clearly can't cover all possible uses of cars in one number.

· · 5 years ago


I'm not an EV owner yet but I've done the math. I purchase wind energy for 9.5 cents per kiloWatt-hour. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory wind and solar energy results in 1/20th to 1/100th the amount of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions as coal. A Nissan Leaf running on wind energy costs less to operate than an 85 MPG moped. The emissions of a Nissan Leaf on wind/solar energy are less than 1/10th of the emissions of an 85 MPG moped.

Not only are you wrong but you're so far off the mark it's laughable.

· · 5 years ago

One more thing: The power draw of a typical car stereo is very, very small and would have no noticeable effect on range.

· · 5 years ago

Jim: Were you operating in Drive or Econo mode when you were having these range issues? My friend here in Tucson with the i mentioned to me recently that the differences in available range between these modes is dramatic in this car. A recent highway trip we took (3 of us, traveling a steady 62mph with a minimal setting on the air conditioner) yielded an approximately 50 mile available range. Granted, we've got fairly EV-friendly temperature ranges down here this time of the year, but his in-town range lately in Econo has been around 65 miles or so.

· · 5 years ago

My brother owns an i MiEV (he's had it for about 5 months now) and he regularly sees ranges at full charge of 70-80 miles and even over 100 sometimes. We live in Massachusetts. You can preheat it while it is still plugged in.

There have been one or two owners over at http://myimiev.com/forum/index.php who had faulty chargers and/or faulty batteries. 31 miles is pretty crappy, and I don't think it is normal.


· Objective (not verified) · 5 years ago

UFO believers are freaks, and they're proud, too! So you just show your pride!

· WayneBellingham (not verified) · 5 years ago

Range anxiety only exists for people who never made it out of 3rd grade math (know how far your car can go, divide by two, and don't go any farther than that). You need to know your car and what your power draw is going to be. If you set your heat on high, well duh, it's going to use up electricity. The trick is if you want to go farther, wear a sweater and a warm coat. . I have an 'i' and in the summer would normally get about 70 miles. Now it is winter and I'm getting in the 45 to 50 miles of range because I like to have the heater on. NOTE, batteries don't carry as much charge when they are cold. This car is for solving specific transportation problems, I generally don't drive more than 50 miles per day, and have been putting about 900 miles a month on the car. At 3 cents per mile, this is a huge savings over my gas guzzler, and I don't ship any US$ to Saudi Arabia for gas. Here in Washington our power is mainly hydroelectric, gas from Canada, and some coal from Montana. Keeping jobs and cash here in America (or Canada) is important. EV's make a great second car, so don't write about them as if you are expecting them to be your only mode of transportation. Come on, be fair, compare apples to apples.

· evcar.pl (not verified) · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland
I'm not saying that Jim is lying that he got only 30 miles and two bars left. All I wanted to say it that with this iMIEV example is something wrong. Faulty charger, or faulty batteries ? Maybe it was stored with full SOC (which reduces battery capacity) - I don't know.

Me myself and other imiev users got 70-80 miles without a problem, and 100 miles is possible with carefully driving.

But now here was -10 °C (about 14°F) and I've got 50 miles of range with heater ON most of the time. And heater problem is that it takes 30% of range.

· Marco Loglio (not verified) · 5 years ago

I find quite a joke that an EV can have just 70 or 80 miles of range with one charge.
Here in China, where i work as technical director of the battery company Vantage power global, we had made regular homologated cars with up to 800km with one charge .
In the road show we did last month of November , two Zotye M300 EV powered with my battery pack runs at high speed from Shanezhen to Nanning ( 801,3 Km) and still had a 13% left in the battery . The battery pack that i develop has a triple energy density of the Mitubishi I miev, mean that in the same spece and same weight , just changing the battery pack , the range anxiety could be forget forever.
Dr Marco Loglio

· Objective (not verified) · 5 years ago

Added that from the closet, didn't you? LMAO

· Warren (not verified) · 5 years ago

ex-EV1 driver,

My concern for testing EV's with full occupancy is because with an ICE vehicle, if you fill up the seats, you use a bit more gas, and will have to pull into a station a bit sooner. But for an EV it can mean you end up stranded, like the guy who bought the Leaf and was upset because he was rushing his wife and kid to the airport, in bad weather, with the heat on, and didn't make it. Sounds stupid, I know. But people are not used to having to make these kinds of calculations, just to drive their car.

· · 5 years ago

@Marco Loglio:

At least some of your Chinese companies are putting reasonably sized batteries in your EV such you can go from City to City unencumbered. Personally, I don't need fast chargers, nor the associated expense and complication, both infrastructure wise and personally. When I want to take a trip I just want to go, and get where I'm going, without a (in my mind) needless stop.

To the extent that you've contributed to better EV range let me be the first to congratulate you.

@Bruce dp

Still waiting for the size of battery and OBC on the Canadian IMiEV. Also, is it the smaller Japanese sized Imiev, or is it the larger American version I ?

I own 2 EV's and they both use much more than 30% of range. Roadster, with the small heater, uses about 45% of range. Volt heater uses 66% of range.

· · 5 years ago

I understand your concerns. This comes under the kind of worst-case range estimates that I've been campaigning for and have been attacked viciously for.
Unfortunately, the worst case gets quite bad if you assume:
daily drive for maximum battery life, real-world speeds, Heat and AC, age, full capacity, and hill climbing.
My first blush is that you take the EPA and multiply for about 80% for each of those factors. This ends up being ~20% of the EPA.
This takes a 73 EPA mile Leaf and brings it down to ~15 miles - a number nobody wants to hear, especially since on seldom cascades all of those knock down factors at the same time.

· · 5 years ago

I checked with my brother who has been driving an i MiEV for about 5 months, and he confirms that when you put the heat on *full* it draws about as much power as driving on level ground at a constant ~45mph. Using the heat on full will cut the range at least by half.

That is a LOT of power going for the heat. So the range of ~35 miles with full heat is probably about right.

Lesson is, use the heated seats, and just the defroster, unless you are really too cold. Or get an electric vest (with a thermostat) and stay warm using just 20-30watts - plug it into the dash accessory plug.

My Dad just bought an i MiEV and he ran out of even the "turtle" range at a little over 48 miles. That is with both the heated seat and the heat.


· · 5 years ago

Here's what I discovered a few months when researching this topic. According to tests at Argonne national lab, researchers discovered that the all LEAF’s heating system can pull between 4 kW and 6 kW of power—potentially even more juice than is needed for propulsion in city-like cycles (represented by the EPA’s UDDS cycle). To test cold weather conditions, they “soaked” the LEAF in 20 degree temperatures overnight. Then, the LEAF is started, and while stationary, its automatic climate control system is set to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The test showed that in cold-start conditions on city-like driving, the overall impact of running the cabin heater is to essentially double the power requirement for traveling the UDDS cycle. The net impact in 20-degree weather is to reduce range from approximately 90 miles to less than 50 miles. This worst-case scenario is likely to apply to all electric cars similar in size to the Leaf, according to researchers.

· · 5 years ago

This is why:
a) ICE cars are so wasteful of energy. Look at how much waste heat is readily available for heating.
b) cabin pre-conditioning is so important for EVs. As a corollary, it show the importance of being plugged in all of the time and the problem with sharing a charger at workplaces in places with extreme temperatures.
I'm hoping that more efficient heat-pump climate control systems will find their way into EVs in the near future.
@Bill Howland,
I agree with you that bigger batteries are a great idea. Unfortunately, however, they are not as cost effective as fast chargers for driving beyond one's normal distance. ie, there's no sense of carrying an extra 200 miles of battery if one only travels more than 50 miles on rare occasions. I'm sure the market will eventually find a happy blend of charging speed and battery size but, none of us are smart enough to know the optimal mix today.
@Marco Loglio,
Thanks for the info on your battery technology. It's good to hear you have good volumetric and mass energy density. These metrics, however are not, however, the only important metrics for EV battery performance. How is their cycle life, calendar life, cost, charging speed (watts), and output power capability (Watts)?

· · 5 years ago


Cost effective? If I wanted cost effective I'd drive a 2 year old chevy Cruize eco.

Yes I'm paying for the convenience of a big battery. The only way battery prices are going to come down is if there were more people like me.

· Warren (not verified) · 5 years ago

Yes. Running a resistance heater in an EV is a huge energy drain. I have two friends with Leafs. In cold weather, they preheat the cars while still plugged in, then run heated seat, and steering wheel. They run the defroster only with no AC, 60 degrees, low fan.

They are EV zealots. Regular people are not going to do this.

The 2013 Leaf uses a heat pump. But heat pumps don't work well in really cold climates. Volvo uses an alcohol heater in their EV prototype.

I don't understand why all EV's don't run a propane heater...instant heat, and the tiny bit of propane used could have you riding in shorts.

· · 5 years ago

One of the '90's electric pickups (Ford Ranger or GM S-10, I can't remember which), had a gasoline heater in it to handle this.
I don't know that pre-heating will only be for EV zealots long term. It is actually very nice to get into your car on a hot or cold day to find it at a nice, comfortable temperature.
It's too bad the Nissan Leaf iPhone app is so slow so it would be easy to turn it on. It works but is anything but convenient.

· · 5 years ago

I should mention that I will be using motorcyclist's electric vests for keeping warm in my CarBEN EV5. Someone on the i MiEV Forum I mentioned above tried this and found his 70watt electric jacket was way too hot inside the car.

You could probably stay very warm with 20-30watts of power using an electric vest plugged into the accessory outlet - be sure to get one with a thermostat.


· Warren (not verified) · 5 years ago

Back in the 1960's, my girlfriend's Corvair had a gas heater not much bigger than a gallon paint bucket. It was the best heater I have ever seen. It was instant, and you could have broiled steaks on the defrost vents on the dashboard, in bitterly cold northern temperatures.

· · 5 years ago


Trouble is, the model year 1960 Corvair only had an 8 gallon gas tank and it was discontinued after the first year. (Or was it 6? I forget but it was small). (This is per a Harrison Radiator engineer I talked to last year in Lockport, NY). They put ducts under the floor and used warm engine cooling air in the 1961 and later models, besides enlarging the gas tank.

Again where I live seat heaters don't really work.. You need a decent defroster heater to prevent accidents in any event. What is needed is a big heater and a big battery. At least the Volt makes use of the engine water cooling when it is on, I also believe it uses engine heat to warm the battery.

· Warren (not verified) · 5 years ago


Yes. The duct heating, on air cooled engines, was only slightly better than worthless. VW, and Corvair owners in Wisconsin were only a little warmer than motorcyclists.

· · 5 years ago

I'm thinking as we get some warmer weather for our carbon emissions, having too cold a car will be a less common occurance no matter where you live, and cooling a hot car takes less energy and is not the safety issue of a fogged up windshield that can happen in winter. Aside from all that, it's not nearly as cold in a car without heat as you might think. Without the wind, you can stay pretty warm, even down into the 20s. Below that, it gets a little bit fun. Just dress warmly.

· · 5 years ago


Too bad there has been no global warming for the last 16 years... Looks like you're going to have to wait longer than you'd think.


· Spec (not verified) · 5 years ago

A 16KWH battery would have been fine in the ultra-light and ultra-aerodynamic Aptera. But things that are heavier and less aerodynamic just need more battery capacity to be practical. The Mitsubishi-i can handle some dedicated tasks where you know the distances will be short. But beyond that, it is not a very practical general purpose vehicle.

· · 5 years ago

Incidentally, the source of the statement was not CalWatchDog, it was Britain's Met Office. One thing I disagree with CalWatchDog, NY state has also implemented AGW laws.


· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 5 years ago

All those issues with heat just means two things.

1. EV are ultra efficient (far better than ICE). So any energy drawn by heater/AC will impact your range.

2. Battery energy density sucks comparing to gasoline. ICE is very wasteful but its energy source gasoline's energy density is more than 3,000x better than the current Li-ion battery.

· · 5 years ago


When a teen I had a '64 vw beetle. Very nice car actually. We were all told the car was a death trap, but it seemed rather solid to me at the time, and I was a defensive driver anyway.

I find there are trade offs with driving styles with electrics similiar to my '64 VW. I almost had an accident with my VOLT the other day because I couldn't see out the windshield due to cycling the defroster to improve my range. This is similiar to driving the VW. Since I drove conservatively most of the time, the heater would only start working when I was pulling up to where I was going.
But I saved Gas. If I floored it, the heater would get hot right away. But you'd have to put in more gas.

· Andrew_Debbie (not verified) · 5 years ago

Resistance heaters have no place in a modern EV. As you found out the i-MiEV's relatively small 16kWH battery, running the heater cuts the range far too much.

The heat pump on the Renault Zoe provides 3kW of heat from just 1kW of electricity. Renault claims a real world winter range of over 60 miles, in part due to the heat pump.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland - I've debated climate change with all sorts of people I respect and love, and though I don't know you, I can respect that you have a certain perspective about it that I probably won't be able to change.

But, I would like to try, if you'll allow me.

I'm not sure where your referenced temperature chart comes from, but the GISS shows a different story:


Besides, if you consider ONLY global air temperatures and ignore ocean acidification, melting glaciers and ice caps, solar output, and solar dimming, you aren't looking at the whole picture of climate change - which is like trying to diagnose a person's sickness by looking at the color of their skin.

For example, the solar output has been rather low recently, see:


Before you say, "That's good, the CO2 kept us from being cold," consider that once the sun's solar output goes back up, we're going to be toast.

Finally, since Al Gore kind of rubbed me the wrong way with his hypocritical lecturing back in 2006 and politicizing of this issue, I've been careful about how I speak of climate change. I found this skeptics story down to earth:


Good luck! - Dan

Ps - I am glad that you're driving a Volt, since there are many good reasons to drive an EV/PHEV that don't have anything to do with climate or pollution.

@Andrew_Debbie, it's great to hear about the heat pumps in the Zoe. They should have done that and perhaps made the resistance heat only come on for ultra cold situations (like my home heat pump does), and add more insulation. But, all that cost more money for a car that they probably thought wouldn't get into too many cold places (little did they know!).

· Gwido (not verified) · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland
The canadian version of the car has the same 16 kWh battery.

· · 5 years ago


Hummm ,first thanks, and I assume it has a 14 amp charger? . How can BruceDp get 300 km or whatever of range with the heater on all the time if its just 16 kwh? I've been to Canada many times and your Snow is not much hotter than ours here in Buffalo..


I wasn't trying to change YOUR mind. I'm just saying that even "Your Side" has had to admit there has been NO GW in the past 16 years. Some of the statements in the links caused me to chuckle. Click the link to find the whole story.


"We won't be worried until the plateau lasts 15 years" <<= That was before.
"We won't be worried until the plateau lasts 20 years" <<= That's now, since 16 > 15.

This is just one of many modern myths, (concockted by Kenneth Lay (remember him), Maurice Strong, and Al Gore). Gore by his actions shows he doesn't believe a word of it. He builds palatial palaces at the sea shore. Uses 240,000 kwh (no joke!) per year in all his mansions. But his plan for me is to live in a 220 sq ft 'cell', and still pay huge property taxes and AGW taxes (the AGW I'm already paying here in NY State).

Gore doesn't go to Montreal any longer since the last time he was there Students shouted him down "What about your Swimming Pools", hehe.

Another modern myth is that Table Salt usage has anything to do with raising blood pressure.. I'm sure I'm going to get all the Doctors here upset with me on that one.

· · 5 years ago

Checked out your link. Very useful information. First time I have seen Any Specification Anywhere for a DC/
DC converter. A very generous 80 amps in the Canadian Imiev (even Tesla Techs couldn't answer that question for me).
16 kwh battery as you've stated.
8 amp @ 120 volt, charging time 22 hours
15 amp @ 240 volt charger (So this is 3.6 kw? If not why not.) charging time 7 hours.

Seems like poor battery charging efficiency to me. .96*22=
21.12 kwh. so 16/21.12 = 76%.. My Volt is better than that, and even my Roadster most of the time is better than that, and my Roadster's efficiency is pretty poor.

Let me try their 240 volt figures. 7*3.6= 25.2 kwh so 16/25.2 = 64 %. Even Worse. Thats almost as bad as a tesla roadster, or Rav4ev (same difference) on 110 volts

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland - I read the Daily Mail article, twice, that you referenced. I went to the Met Office website to which the data was attributed (it was hard to find any link to an actual study or data). Their position is that climate change is real and human caused, contradicting the assertion of the Daily Mail article you referenced. Then I found this reply from the Met Office:


Did you read the article of skeptic Richard Muller? ... I think you'd find his perspective refreshing. Here's the link again:


· · 5 years ago

yes I read the physicist's article. didn't do it for me, Looks like the NY Times editor grossly removed part of his response since what remains of his article kind of makes no sense as it is. First, he says that the 'earlier middle ages warming period was as warm as it is today", then he says he's convinced in AGW Global warming. That must be because, the reader is left to assume that AGW happened in the middle ages. Overpopulation of Pigs and Cows by farmers no doubt. The Farmers must have caused the AGW part. (Actually, the middle ages were Warmer than it is now, Catholics will remember St. Thomas Aquinas mentioning that Greenland was actually Green. Also London has many vine-related streets named hundreds of years ago, showing that London at one time was actually warm enough to grow it. Incidentally, whenever you see this warmer period, it coincides with Great Wealth. This is when all the beautiful churches and cathedrals were built. The polar bears survived this time period also. But then, there are 5 times the number of polar bears now than there were 60 years ago.

There are some basic simple facts that almost everyone avoids.

The most efficacious green house gas is water vapor.
Next is methane.
Third or Fourth, depending on who is counting is Carbon Dioxide. People use what they call, supposedly the shorthand of "Carbon", but if that's ok, then calling Water by the shorthand of Hydrogen is much more correct. Actually, its more correct to call Carbon Dioxide by its real shorthand, "Oxygen".

So if you really want to get rid of global warming, start by draining the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

. And by the way, I am not a "skeptic". I've seen enough of what I've called in the past " a looney idea " to know a scam when I see one.

As far as the Met office's response, they didn't really ever respond. All they can do is deflect. As far as choosing "startpoints and endpoints", in their Deflection they mentioned the current period 1880 to present was just at the end of the little ice age, so any 'warming' we have experienced since 1880 is obviously due to THEIR choosing the start point at the "little ice age", and an extension into the Medaeval Warm Period would should we are much cooler today... So I wish they'd practiced what they preached.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill --- ok, I relent. Water vapor is where I call it quits.

I hope you're enjoying your Volt - I know my friend here loves it. Just today (and just about every day), he gives me an update on how far he got on all electric before the gasoline engine kicks in. He figures he will be saving a bunch in gas and has a totally new mindset when he gets in it. Although I'm always a little skeptical of savings, since even the iMiev has such a high price compared to other transportation available, he insists he'll save $5000 in gas in his expected time driving it (10 years I think).

Back to the iMiev, we consciously knew that we would only use it for day to day driving, we'd still keep our gas car (we had hopes for the Cmax Energi - but I'm glad we didn't get it for as low as it's pure EV range appears to be), and that for that purpose the LEAF wouldn't be worth the $8K more. So, if/when we can get a Tesla that can get us to Philadelphia and back (a 150 mile round trip for us we make ~ 10 times/year), we're going to need some type of gasoline powered transportation anyway. With that in mind, as others have stated, the car works great and is fun to drive; the original article seems to have ignored that fact as no single tool can meet all needs effectively.

· · 5 years ago


Let me be the first to say Its been a pleasure discussing the AGW issue with you. Benjamin Nead on here has also been pleasant discussing the subject.

Everyone else one talks to immediately starts shouting, then calling me unbelievably stupid, or some other deparaging remark.

Dan you're the first person who actually tried having a calm discussion of the technical points. Bravo to you.

In the end, we'll agree to disagree. Please allow me one parting shot.

I'm sure youve watched the recent FRONTLINE special "Climate of Doubt". I would claim its a very biased report, but if so, here's the reason why. Every commercial on line was sponsored by Goldman Sachs. Three guesses as to the investment bank making profits on trading Carbon Credits.

And yes I'm enjoying my 2011 Volt and Tesla 2.5 Roadster. Both very nice Electric Cars. I'm calling the volt electric since 97% of the time that's what it is. A small percentage (less than 4% statewide, less than 40% here locally) is from burnt Coal. I obviously have no problem with that in that it keeps plant life well fed, American Drywall manufacturers in business, and American Coal miners employed. I'm somewhat less enthused that the mercury recovered ends up as phamacutical preservatives.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill - Yes, thank you too for the civilized discussion. I think you've been flamed far too much on this site, so pretty much knew that wasn't going to fly (well, does screaming and name calling work with anyone?).

I've not seen the "Climate of Doubt", but I don't disagree that there are all sorts of vested interests in any issue you can think about, from EVs to AGW. Tesla, or at least Elon Musk, has called for a carbon tax. I couldn't agree more, but I'm sure there are people who think the ONLY reason he makes that argument is that he's sure to gain millions (billions, ultimately ??) of dollars by making Tesla vehicles more compeitive in the marketplace. Even if he also sincerely believes it is the right thing to do and feels he has a "bully pulpit" to make a stronger statement about that than you or I could, he will always be accused of being in it for the money (and probably hypocrtical too, since I'm sure his carbon impact is not insignificant compared to most people). Yet, there are many people, like me, who also call for a carbon tax with nothing to gain; Is my argument right and Elon Musk's wrong ... even though they're the same argument?

I'm sure you'll say we're both wrong ... so, yes, as you say, we'll just have to look for where we CAN agree and work on that.

· · 5 years ago


You know what really worries me about the whole thing?

To me, the whole thing is transparently a scam. I'm quite surprised that people have bought this thing hook, line and sinker. Perhaps I'm forgeting that this has been constantly drummed into people for 25 years... Goebels (sp?), the Nazi propoganda minister's chief technique was just repeating a lie over and over again.

Another factor influencing me a bit probably is "THE BIG EXPERTS" were all calling for the return of a "New Ice Age", or "Global Cooling" as late as the 70's. But then there was a slight justification for that, since temperatures were going down from the 40's to the 70's before they started heading up again, plus Margaret Thatcher in Britain was at Wit's End with the Coal Miner's Strike. She put a lot of money on the table for anyone to find anything wrong with Coal. So, of course, they did that.

So here's my worry in a nutshell:

1). To Achieve Respectability, you have to be against banning all Coal plants and hydrocarbons, as a matter of course.

2). As mentioned, this is such a transparent scam to me, that I'm worried that if people believe this, they can be made to believe ANYTHING.

A). IN the US at least, it doesn't appear to be working. Support for AGW policies is decreasing every year.

B). On the AGW subject, and, shall we say, other Governmental Agendas, people in the 'red' portion of the country aren't buying it. I live in a very 'blue' section of the country, so anything I say falls on Deaf Ears. But people in the center of the country aren't buying it. The Main Stream Media, (largely with quiet government funding, as well as many TV shows, with their not so hidden agendas) are largely these days talking to themselves. So the next necessary thing for the powers-that-be will be internet restrictions.

· · 5 years ago

Sorry I didn't proofread the above: point 1). has a double negative. Against Coal or banning coal. Thanks.

· · 5 years ago

Where is the "flag as inappropriate" button for this article?

For a site named "plugincars.com", that was the worst piece of FUD and misinformation I think I've ever read. Mr. Motavilli, you should be ashamed of yourself. I even registered an account just to post this.

"15 or 20 seconds to 60." It takes about 10 seconds to search for "0-60 i-MiEV" on Google to find out that even 15 seconds is an exaggeration. Was he expecting Tesla Model S-like performance?

How in the hell does he go through a full charge in 31 miles? Heat on full, seat warmer on, defroster on, stereo on full, going up a mountain in a heavy headwind? Non-careful driving of ANY car will greatly decrease its range. EVs are just a bit more susceptible to range problems when running the heater because their heater isn't running off the waste heat of the ICE.

What garbage. I hope the rest of this site isn't like this spew.

· · 5 years ago

"One more thing: The power draw of a typical car stereo is very, very small and would have no noticeable effect on range."

the "radios" in these cars are NOT typical. its a big pet peeve of mine with some of them. OVER complicated just sucking down the watts. I want a SIMPLER model. the radio in my metro consumes 33 watts (this includes the 5.1 surround sound I installed) I run no alternator and electric water pump (pushes 70mpg summer)

I have some questions for you MiEV users. my commute is a fixed 54 miles. I have only 7 stops in the entire trip sometimes less if I time the lights right. consistent constant 50mph NO stop and go (so not much regen potential) I typically do 45-50mph for a 90-95 minute commute (one way I can charge at work no problem)

winter with the seats heating and maybe some cabin heat. I can leave the radio and stuff off (I have a nice BT speaker I can run from my phone)

will it do that 54 miles with any buffer left over? (commute is from 19057 to 08215 - edgely to Burlington bristol bridge to 130 to jacksonville road to 206 ro rt 30 to egg harbor city)

Here is the exact path I take both ways (I moved the end points to obscure the addresses)


I drive 40,000 miles a year. I am desperate to switch to electric (hybrids are a rip off they are simply not an option you can NEVER save money driving a hybrid a prius has a 68 year break even mark !! ouch !!) while a leaf or an Miev could potentially save me money even over a metro nd definately save me over my 24mpg minivan! (I spend over $4k a year in fuel !!)

they tell me the heat uses more power than the AC so if it can do it with the heat it then it should be able to do it with the AC on.

can the car be charged while its being driven safely? (think small generator on a small trailer in a pinch) ie will that harm the battery or charging system at all ?

I could toss a 5kw genny on a little 35" trailer I have (I tow with my metro quite a lot) or just install a hitch "rack" to hold the generator) maybe even charge at 240v since 5kw gennies will have 240v output.

I would prefer a range of 65 miles under these conditions since that will cover battery life degradation over time.

one of my PRIMARY issues is the horrible warranty on these batteries. 2.5 year warranty?? really ? (40,000 miles a year means I will eat up the warranty in 2.5 years)

I really wish ovonics could get those NIMHS to market. those were rated for 250,000 miles no problem.

· · 5 years ago

BTW I could care less about the environment (its actually very important to me but just trying to make a point)

I want an EV because its green. what is green? green is cheap. if its not cheaper its not green. that is my moto and its a fact.

I switch to CFL because it was cheaper (and greener) I switched to LED (almost completely at home about 30% at work and working on going further) because it sames me CASH and is greener too.

I want an EV because its CHEAPER not because it GREENER. it being greener is a side effect (a pleasant one mind you but still a side effect a "bonus")

problem is they insist on using these horrible Lithium Ion batteries which are too short lived and too expensive (this is WHY these cars have such short range they have to shrink the battery to bring the cost down) if you want 200 miles on a charge on lithium ion you need a $50,000 battery pack. period. the tech is just not mature yet.

NIMH is mature. you could shove 2 $4500 E95 nimh packs into the bottom of a nice light weight minivan and EASILY chew up 150 worst case 225 mile best case mileage out of a charge. and still cost less than the battery in a leaf. oh and get 300,000 miles on the life of the pack OR BETTER.


· · 5 years ago

@nerys: I drive an iMiev. We just made a trip into Philadelphia about 45 miles one way, and still had roughly 20 miles range left (obviously had to charge to get back home). It's hillier than your route and it was cold, so you could probably do 54 miles one way without a problem most of the time. If it were me, I'd want to be sure I had some backup where I could charge for 30 minutes at level 2 somewhere in-between. We charged up at a Nissan Dealership that was convenient to a Mall on our trip this past weekend. At 240v, we got 15 miles range/hour. I see some charging in Hainesport and Columbus, NJ (see: www.chargepoint.com)

That would be the other point, if you need to charge at work, you will need a level 2 charger, 240v. The standard iMiev level 1 (120v) charger delivers only 3 to 4 miles range / hour, so you'd not be able to fully recharge at work to make it back home if you used most of your battery charge to drive to work in the morning.

By the way, a dealer in Philly has the iMiev for a $99/month 24 month lease. You have to pay tax, tag, + license ($2.5k maybe?), but that's really cheap:


I guess a dealer near you would have similar (or better) deals. They are trying to move the iMiev and leases are sometimes nicer for those worried about battery longevity.

Oh, and by the way, the iMiev has an 8-year 100k miles warranty on the battery, so I don't know why you think it was only 2.5 years. That warranty implies some loss of capacity (capacity should be > 80% after the 8 years, I believe).

You cannot charge and drive at the same time, it won't work. There is a lockout mechanism to prevent charging while driving. You could buy a battery pack or drag a generator and charge (using an inverter in the first case) to main pack while you're parked. But, I don't see the advantage of that. You may as well work harder to find standard AC charging wherever you might park - it would be much more efficient and less of a hassle.

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