Mitsubishi recently rolled out its i-MiEV Sport Air (which is based on its cousin, the 100% electric i-MiEV) at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, and Inhabitat was on the scene to take a peek! The 5-door bubble-like hatchback concept car features a stronger engine than its predecessor as well as a solar panel and a large, removable translucent roof panel. Best of all, if it's anything like the i-MiEV, you can expect the Sport Air to be quite affordable (not to mention the savings from not having to depend on rising fuel prices).
The small, 2,161 lb. sporty car features a more powerful all-electric drive train than that of the production-based vehicle giving it a max output of 80 horsepower and a torque of 170 lb-ft. Its very low center of gravity and 50-50 weight distribution gives drivers full control around curves. The mid-motor layout and transmission are located just forward of the rear axle and beneath the rear seat, with the battery also configured beneath the cabin’s sub-floor.
Although not yet officially rated by the EPA, it is expected to get over 120 MPGe under ideal driving conditions. The second generation 330V high-tech lithium-ion battery charges fully in about 7 hours but those who need to do a quick charge can get the battery up to 80% capacity in about 35 minutes. The i-MiEV can go about 62 miles on a full-charge and consumers can expect similar or better results with the Sport Air. In terms of the savings this offers compared to a hybrid, at the current national average of 12 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), it costs approximately $3.60 for every 100 miles traveled to “fill up” the Mitsubishi i. For a typical hybrid getting about 50 MPG, the equivalent distance would cost about $8, assuming gas is around $4 per gallon. On a yearly basis (if you drive about 15,000 miles) you’ll end up spending approximately $550 on electricity with even lower costs if “off peak” electricity prices are available in your area.
Several design aspects are an improvement from the i-MiEV currently in production. The curved exterior design makes the Sport Air much more aerodynamic than its cousin. The fender is also more attractive with the car’s body sitting much closer to the actual wheel. On the interior, a wrap around cockpit allows for easy access to controls and dials and creates a welcoming ambiance. Plenty of light enters through the semi-transparent and lightweight composite roof.
Although details have not yet been released, we can expect to see recycled materials be an important feature of the model. In the iMiEV, the front and rear bumper fascia, instrument panel and door trim are all made from recycled polypropylene materials. With the iMiEV voted the most affordable electric vehicle in the US retailing at $21,625 after federal government rebates, the Sport Air will hopefully be within reach for a large portion of the US market as well.
Images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat