I found out via Plugshare that our local Mitsubishi dealer has installed a EV charging station. I dropped by to see if they’d let me use it and talk to them about the upcoming Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
I arrived before any salesmen did and got the LEAF charging. I noticed there were 4 i-Miev’s on the lot ready for sale, how come Nissan can’t supply this quantity of LEAF’s to dealers?
As I was in the process of adding the charging station to carstations.com via my smart phone a young salesman came down and introduced himself. He was new to the dealership and knew absolutely nothing about the EV. We talked a few minutes and I asked to see an Outlander SUV which Mitsubishi have announced will be sold as a Plug-in Hybrid EV. He knew nothing about such plans. An older salesman whom I assumed was the manager came down and spoke with us. He confirmed that the Outlander would be the next car Mitsubishi would electrify. He thought the car would be all all electric. He said Mitsubishi will announce details in four months time. He offered to let me drive an i-Miev so I could comment on the differences between it and the LEAF.
The young salesman was given the job of chaperoning me. He got dealer tags and and started the vehicle. Is it running he said? I assured him it was, the dash was lit up. He put it in drive and was quite surprised when it started to move. “It is on”! he exclaimed. He explained he would drive it a mile and we could change positions and I could drive back. He was pleasantly surprised with the acceleration and declared it was much better than he expected. “My girlfriend needs one of these” he said. We reached a convenient parking space away from busy streets and we changed places. I noticed the i-Miev has three drive modes D, Eco, and B. I drove in D for a while and the car did accelerate reasonably well, not as quick as the LEAF and the car certainly feels lighter the way it handles on the road, not as sure footed as the LEAF. I suggested the B mode was for aggressive regen mode allowing for one pedal driving. I tried it and sure enough it slowed down rapidly when letting off the ‘gas’. I was able to drive the car in B mode even on the interstate without any problems, it felt a little unstable on the interstate at high speed, but not unreasonably so. It was a decent drive, the i-Miev impressed me more than I had expected. It’s quirky styling doesn’t appeal to me, but it would make a very capable commuter car for those with small to medium commutes.
Back at the dealer the young salesman explained how I was able to drive without using the brakes at all using the B driving mode. I prefer the LEAF and would not change, but one thing that is better than the LEAF is the B drive mode. It is well done on the i-Miev, an option Nissan should have put on the LEAF.
The salesmen took my details and said they’d contact me with more details regarding the Outlander EV when they knew more. I drove off in the LEAF and almost overshot a red light, I had already got used to the B mode in the i-Miev and was expecting more engine braking than the LEAF can deliver in Eco mode. I really wish Nissan had given us a third drive mode with harsher engine braking, it would make one pedal driving a possibility.
Here’s hoping the Outlander EV is available soon.