Long boring philosophical discussion follows - feel free to skip.
Sandy, you put into writing what had been on my mind ever since siai47 took apart his two i-MiEVs and did the transplants.
We are truly being held hostage by the manufacturers using digital locks which preclude even the simplest electronic subassembly swapping. I'm sure they hide behind the guise of 'safety'. In reading some of the threads it seems that in some cases even the Mitsu techs using the MUT3 tool are unable to reprogram the system or devices to get them to work together.
A situation where "there ought to be a law"...
During my lifetime I have never thought of cars as investments since they are usually depreciable assets. Hindsight tells me that indeed they would have been 'investments' if only
I had kept my Austin Healey 3000, Lancia Flavia Vignale convertible, or Lancia Fulvia Zagato..., but I'm wandering off-topic.
Those of us who bit the bullet and bought new i-MiEVs six years ago have indeed taken a huge depreciation hit. I like to think that the operating cost savings over these years has softened the blow, and we are probably no worse off than a typical ICE purchaser. Besides, we've been saving the world and having loads of fun driving our little workhorses.
Certainly, picking up a very inexpensive used i-MiEV to keep as a spare is one alternative. Over the years I've had excess cars (most were bargain-basement purchases), and I've been fortunate in having a place to keep them. There was a certain comfort in this 'reliability through redundancy'
, and it served my family well for years and years as we were simply never stranded when one one car got sick. For a while I had three i-MiEVs and I must say it was nice, as before the Tesla we had a number of occasions needing to take the third i-MiEV when the other two were discharged. I also used that third i-MiEV as a loaner to friends contemplating buying an EV, and it was a highly successful marketing tool!
But, back on topic, what to do when an i-MiEV gets sick? Looking forward, what are our prospects?
We have had negligible reports of mechanical parts going bad on our i-MiEVs. I tend to think these will be no worse than ICE vehicles and hopefully we will be able to inexpensively buy wearout items such as suspension parts. We should start seeing parts wearing out in the next few years, so let's share our experiences.
I'd sure like to know where those wrecked i-MiEVs end up so they could be parts sources.
The high-ticket electronics are the issue on the table
, and I really feel sorry for the astute person hoping to save on their automobile operating costs and thus buying an i-MiEV, only to have a major component go out on them.
Our friends in Europe (being earlier adopters) are beginning to see a few issues. On the face of it these should be readily solvable yet the manufacturer's interlocks stymie swapping out modules. Buying an expensive used module and not knowing if it will work in our car is simply daunting.
We are fortunate to have a number of astute technically-minded individuals on this forum. Until one of our electronic modules conks out, we have little impetus to start digging in and developing a fix or workaround. Perhaps, with time, people like Kenny (kiev) will be able to continue helping out. I suspect that there are simply too few of these cars around to entice a 'professional' to hack and decode our systems and set up an independent repair facility.
As long as all that manufacturers want to do is swap modules, it would be an interesting exercise to assess the future needs of an ever-expanding out-of-warranty EV community to see if a viable business case can be made for a nationwide independent Electric Vehicle repair network - or even a single mail-order facility. As an example, those sprung up to meet the hybrid car battery replacement market and seem to be thriving.
At some point dealerships will start feeling the impact of such high component replacement prices when people decide to simply walk away without fixing their cars.
Whenever any of us come up with a fix for an i-MiEV problem, it behooves of us to post it here so that our body of knowledge continues to expand.
As an aside, if anyone knows of a Mitsubishi dealer going out of business, it would be great to be able to latch onto a factory MUT-3 computer plus software plus adapters. I'd be inclined to buy such a complete system and get it to Kenny so we have a safety backup.I, for one, am still fighting to avoid being trapped in the disposable society mentality.