Mitsubishi hopes buyers will be drawn to the low price and high efficiency of its new "i" battery car.
While it may not have the marketing muscle behind it, Mitsubishi is likely to get some serious buzz for its new “i” battery car thanks to a 126 MPGe rating from the EPA – significantly higher than its two key electric vehicle competitors, the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.
Originally known as the iMiEV, the curiously named Mitsubishi subcompact will also have a significant price advantage when it hits market in the coming months. That could complicate the battle for supremacy in the small but potentially fast-emerging battery car market.
Since electric vehicles don’t use gasoline, the Environmental Protection Agency has adopted a complex formula to help motorists rate their energy efficiency in a way that can be reasonably compared to a conventional automobile, hence the designation Miles Per Gallon equivalent, or MPGe.
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The Mitsubishi i is rated at 126 MPGe in urban driving situations and 99 MPGe on the highway. (Battery-based vehicles typically don’t do as well at freeway speeds because it takes more energy to move faster and there are less opportunities to recapture wasted energy.)
By comparison, the Nissan Leaf is rated at 106 MPGe City and 92 Highway, while EPA pegs the Chevy Volt’s numbers at 95 and 90. Even the tiny Tesla Roadster doesn’t match Mitsubishi’s 4-door offering. The latest version of that electric sports car has a 119 MPGe rating.