Mitsubishi was one of the first major automakers to announce plans for a mass produced electric vehicle and even had a working prototype out testing back in 2008 in the form of the first generation i-MiEV. Since then the i-MiEV has gone through a series of redesigns until finally being launched in production trim earlier this year in Japan and Europe.

Now, finally, the i-MiEV is about to make its official debut in the U.S. at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show later this month. The car being shown will be a U.S.-spec i-MiEV, which means it will sport a wider body that was designed to meet U.S. crash standards as well as the country's appetite for bigger vehicles.

In addition, the U.S.-spec i-MiEV's front and rear bumpers are all-new. Airbags that detect passengers' seating position and control deployment force, tire pressure monitoring systems and stability control are all standard. Inside, there is space for four adults.

The i-MiEV is expected to arrive with a 63 horsepower electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries. This should be enough to provide the car with a driving range of roughly 100 miles and should take about seven hours to charge from a regular 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 percent of its capacity in just 35 minutes.

Mitsubishi has confirmed that the i-MiEV will go on sale in the U.S. in the fall of 2011 with a pricetag below $30,000 without including the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles.