mrbios
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:57 pm

Review from a non-owner with nothing to gain or loose

Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:17 pm

My roommate owns the MiEV and while he went on vacation last year I drove it for a week. I do almost all my own repairs on my car / motorcycle / scooter.

After Consumer Reports beat the car unconscious they didn't stop until they beat it senseless by putting it on the top 10 worst cars list. I like a lot of what CR does but sometimes things get lost in translation. I celebrated briefly when when I saw it on the 10 worst list which was somewhat unfair.

PROS
Quite, functional power for a small car.

Handling - perfectly acceptable but a little odd due to the solid "live" rear axle and cheap basic suspension found on many econo boxes.

Interior / seats etc. I thought the general plastic stuff and fit and finish was acceptable and seems about the same as any rental car. It is small but most people drive with just one person 90%? of the time? Compared the my scooter the MiEV is a bloated SUV. I have no complaints about the inside or general quality - EXCEPT if you compare it to the typical $30K car then yes it sucks but you are paying for the battery and electric etc so I reject that car. Even my scooter could sell for over 100K if it was made with materials used on the space shuttle.

CONS:
$20,000+ depreciation in two years is a disgrace and a crime. However, it creates a wonderful opportunity to afford electric the next owner. (due to Mitsubishi cutting the new car price in half which wasn't fair to existing owners because it devalued their car by almost 20K).

Lack of a spare tire, maybe they figure with the limited range you just walk home?

No cruise control - cruise is especially important when driving on the highway to keep speed consistent and low.

Winter and Summer: You can't afford to heat the car in winter or cool it in summer because the battery is too small. This limits the car in many parts of the country. For winter - why not add a gasoline heater system?

Lack of Bluetooth and other really helpful bells and whistles on the base model is shortsighted.

Range - I flat disagree with one person that said it is meant to be a city car. You don't need or want a car in the city - use the bus, walk, bicycle or buy a used scooter for $1500 that will out park any car any day!! With around 30K miles on the car and driving 60mph I would say the safe range is 45 miles. I ended up calling AAA for a tow as things got dangerously low and I had trouble with the charging stations - one required membership, another only had the level III but I forgot that it has two charge ports (my fault). But the experience scared me and gave me range anxiety. But I'm learning.

Power - could be more but just a minor wish, you don't need it.

Tires - very expensive and only last 30K miles. Should have been made all the same size. This is just stupid engineering nonsense make the front tires smaller so that car can drive 1/10 mile further. $300? for two tires? Outrageous.

Independent rear suspension. The ride quality is good but past a certain point the ride gets harsh. Not really a big deal same for most small cars. Heck even my neighbors 2003? giant 5000 lbs ford expedition rides poorly like a truck and so do many other suv's.

Could have done a better job with the regenerative system. Sometimes I want to cost not recharge the battery then press the gas pedal.

Defects: ABS light has been for over a year (got caught up in the largest air bag recall in history, parts suppliers fault). Brake booster recall (repaired under warranty, no big deal if it failed just press the pedal harder).

Battery compartmentt: I saw a Youtube video of a guy trying to repair a MiEV that went through a flood and water entered the batteries by way of the air vent. They wanted over 10K for a new battery pack and controller boards. That shattered the myth of simple reliable design. The air vents should have a simple float valve like a toilet that senses water and closes the valve and flashes a trouble code. The Controller boards should be much more accessible if they have to be replaced or tested. The batter box is a giant Chinese puzzle waiting to assault an owner with huge costs and a case study in how not to design. While it has been much better than the leaf both cars need work in this area.

Bottom line:
At $8000 it's a great used car if you can live with the range.

Don
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Location: Biloxi MS

Re: Review from a non-owner with nothing to gain or loose

Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:49 pm

mrbios wrote:CONS:
$20,000+ depreciation in two years is a disgrace and a crime. However, it creates a wonderful opportunity to afford electric the next owner. (due to Mitsubishi cutting the new car price in half which wasn't fair to existing owners because it devalued their car by almost 20K).
I doubt many, if any owners lost $20K on their car. We bought early on for about $28K and $7500 of that was the government tax credit, so we had a $20K new car which today is worth about $8 to $10K
Winter and Summer: You can't afford to heat the car in winter or cool it in summer because the battery is too small. This limits the car in many parts of the country. For winter - why not add a gasoline heater system?
Certainly not true of the air conditioning system. We live in one of the hotter parts of the country and we use the A/C almost every day for 6 to 8 months of the year. It's effect on range is minimal - I'd put it at about a 15% hit is all
Lack of Bluetooth and other really helpful bells and whistles on the base model is shortsighted.
We have one car with and one without. Seldom use the Bluetooth and don't miss it much in the car which doesn't have it
Tires - very expensive and only last 30K miles. Should have been made all the same size. This is just stupid engineering nonsense make the front tires smaller so that car can drive 1/10 mile further. $300? for two tires? Outrageous.
I've only bought a pair of front tires. Hit a chunk of asphalt which fell out of a dump truck and blew one tire. Called the local tire guy to see what he could get me ASAP. Bought the front pair for less than $175, including shipping, mounting and balancing and had them on the car within 4 or 5 hours of the blow-out
Could have done a better job with the regenerative system. Sometimes I want to cost not recharge the battery then press the gas pedal.
Some of us who have had the car long term think the regen arrangement is a big plus - Either modulate the pedal in whatever 'gear; you prefer to drive in, or shift to 'N' if you want to coast
Battery compartmentt: I saw a Youtube video of a guy trying to repair a MiEV that went through a flood and water entered the batteries by way of the air vent. They wanted over 10K for a new battery pack and controller boards. That shattered the myth of simple reliable design. The air vents should have a simple float valve like a toilet that senses water and closes the valve and flashes a trouble code.
That was a Hurricane Sandy car which was COMPLETELY underwater for quite some time - I don't know of ANY car which 'survives' something like that. Not a design deficiency in my book
Bottom line:
At $8000 it's a great used car if you can live with the range.
No doubt - That's why we picked up a second one with 3,900 miles on it for $8700. Best automotive bargain I've ever run across!

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2017 Chevy Volt Premier
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1979 Honda CBX six into six

JoeS
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Posts: 3482
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:47 am
Location: Los Altos Hills, California

Re: Review from a non-owner with nothing to gain or loose

Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:48 am

Hi mrbios,

Thank you for posting your assessment of our i-MiEV. I concur with Don't comments and perhaps might add a few that maybe you hadn't considered as priorities -

PROS (relative to other EVs, with environmental, operating cost, silent operation, etc. benefits a given)

Usable interior volume that exceeds that of many significantly larger vehicles - especially with the rear seats down. That flat floor back there and occupant headroom are second-to-none!

Ultra-tight turning radius, bested only by the SmartEV and a London taxi.

Efficiency.

Easy ingress/egress - I like to tell the story of the 99-year-old lady who was so enthusiastic about this!

Reliability - perusing some of the other EV forums makes me thankful for our choice of EV.

Cost - this is still the least-expensive electric car on the market, both to purchase and operate (note the 'required' maintenance of some other brands). Used, it's an absolute bargain.

A very minor point, but we can get into the car, turn the key, put on the shoulder harness, and GO with no silly time delays.


CONS

You missed the big one: rear vision obstructed by headrests!

I happen to also think the driver's side rear-view mirror has too restricted a field-of-view (but out government prohibits even slightly convex mirrors on the driver's side - so that's a deficiency in most cars).


COMMENTS ON YOUR CONS

Have to disagree with you on Cruise Control - how often does one travel longer distances in minimal traffic? One more gadget I'm not willing to pay for on this type of a vehicle. Now, if I had a Tesla, that would be a different story...

The different tires (front and rear) is not stupid engineering but instead a very simple solution for enhancing balance/handling. Tire cost is relative and I, for one, am willing to pay a premium for ultra-low rolling resistance tires. If needed, my Gen1 Honda Insight space-saver spare tire fits either front or back.

Regeneration isn't a con, because our i-MiEV's max regen is around 3/4 of our max power, which is higher than most (if not all) other EVs. How it's implemented is a matter of personal preference, and I've become quite adept at shifting into N whenever I want to coast - much easier done and with an immediate response unlike some other EVs. Incidentally, my own latest preference would be to have zero regen (coasting) in D.

Range - have to disagree with you, as the vehicle has a reliable single-charge range of at least 60 miles, almost no matter what the roads you drive on. Range-awareness and altering one's driving style to suit one's needs is all that it takes. Last night I drove to a distant restaurant, conscious that I might not be able to plug in at my destination (no altitude difference) and may need to drive home on that single charge; however, I WAS able to plug in and when we came back to the car to go home my RR = 86 miles!
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV

PV1
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Re: Review from a non-owner with nothing to gain or loose

Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:50 pm

I feel your pain on the outrageous cost of the OEM Dunlop tires. Continental used to make both front and rear tires, but now only make the front. They are decent tires and much cheaper.

From reading on the development of the i-MiEV, smaller front tires were chosen for decreasing rolling resistance and trimming back the grip on the front end. With the same tires front and back, it had a tendency to oversteer and lean (at least on the narrow world version). My silver car, Koorz, has Yokohama tires on the front and will really take some corners.

Regen on the i-MiEV is unmatched, in both force and control. We have three different calibrations that are each variable with the throttle and brake pedals, plus we can disable regen completely with Neutral. Even with that, it would be nice to have a one-foot mode where the car can be brought to a stop without touching the brake pedal (like the BMW i3 and Tesla vehicles). Shifting between the different modes has become second nature.
"Bear" - 2012 Diamond White Pearl ES with QC - 2/21/2013
Solar-powered since 10/10/2013

"Koorz" - 2012 Cool Silver Metallic ES with QC - 1/5/2015

2017 Bolt EV LT in Orange with QC - 7/31/2017

Driving electric since 2-21-2013.

JoeS
Site Moderator
Posts: 3482
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:47 am
Location: Los Altos Hills, California

Re: Review from a non-owner with nothing to gain or loose

Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:02 pm

PV1 wrote:Regen on the i-MiEV is unmatched, in both force and control...
What I think Mitsubishi has done is give us the maximum deceleration possible without activating the brake lights, and thus I think the retardation force is probably less than, e.g., the i3; nevertheless, recognizing that the i3 is a much more powerful vehicle, the regen as a percentage of maximum power I believe is still higher with the i-MiEV.
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV

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