The Prototype i MiEV will be used to gauge public reaction towards electric cars ahead of a possible 2010 market launch

The Prototype i MiEV will be used to gauge public reaction towards electric cars ahead of a possible 2010 market launch

Joining Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV Sport Air Concept at this week’s Geneva Motor Show is the new Prototype i-MiEV, a closer to production version of the Japanese carmaker’s upcoming all-electric car. The Prototype i-MiEV is based around the currentregular i-MiEV all-electric hatch that is already feasibility testing in Japan and Europe but has been updated slightly in preparation for a market launch next year.

The front and rear tracks have been widened and front and rear overhangs have been extended to provide the higher levels of pedestrian protection expected in Europe as well as better occupant protection in the event of a rear-end shunt.

The interior design features simple, clean styling and with a dial-type shifter and extensive use of circular shapes for the air vents and other elements. The snow-white body and ice-blue interior color derive from a "glacier" theme that was designed to evoke a ecological image. The printed circuit board pattern used in the surfaces and motifs adds a high-tech look to the interior. Seating capacity can accommodate four adults.

Power comes from a 63hp (47kW) electric motor with 132lb-ft (180Nm) of torque. This motor is powered by a 330V lithium-ion battery and drives the rear wheels only.

No European launch date for the updated i-MiEV has been announced yet. The regular i-MiEV, meanwhile, will be Mitsubishi’s first mass produced all-electric car and is currently scheduled for a late 2009 launch in Japan. It will have a driving range of roughly 100 miles and should take about seven hours to charge from a household power outlet. In an attempt to curtail long charge times, a 'quick-charge' pack is also being developed by power companies, which will see the i-MiEV’s battery being charged to 80% of its capacity in just 35 minutes.

Mitsubishi eventually hopes to sell up to 2,000 i-MiEVs in the first year and plans to expand this to around 10,000 units by 2011.