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Auto blogTue, 21 May 2013 18:01:00 EST
It's been about a month since we first saw the Mitsubishi Concept G4 at the Shanghai Motor Show, but now the automaker has revealed the first images for the sedan in production trim. Wearing the Mitsubishi Attrage nameplate, this sedan will go on sale this summer in Thailand and could eventually makes its way to the US. Despite being essentially a sedan version of its subcompact Mirage, Mitsubishi refers to the Attrage as its next-generation global compact sedan, suggesting it's a fair bit larger than its hatchback counterpart.
We only have this single image to go on, but the new Attrage obviously has the same overall look as the Concept G4. As expected, it does lose some of the more conceptual bits, including the fancy headlights, grills and wheels. While the styling has us thinking back to the late 1990s, the true advantage of the Attrage is likely to be its fuel consumption. US fuel economy for the Attrage hasn't been released, but the closely related 2014 Mirage is expected to return 37 miles per gallon in the city and 44 mpg on the highway using the same 1.2-liter inline four-cylinder engine paired with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. Scroll down for the brief press release for the Thai-built Attrage.
Mitsubishi is stretching the electric jellybean. For years, the i-MiEV was regular presence at Mitsubishi's auto show booths around the world, and the car rightfully earned its nickname because of its rounded shape. Today, at the Geneva Motor Show, Mitsubishi finally unveiled a version of the i-MiEV that looks much more more at home among the alternative-powertrain car fleet of the near future.
But there's more being elongated here than just the shape. The official range of the standard i (as the i-MiEV is known in the US) is 62 miles. The Concept CA-MiEV - where the CA stands for Compact and Advanced - is supposed to be able to go 300 kilometers (186 miles) from a 28-kWh lithium-ion battery and lightweight 80-kW motor/inverter/charger unit. This is kind of astonishing, given the range estimates of other compact and midsize EVs on the market today - most are in the 80-100-mile range. Of course, the specific test used to get the 186-mile result matters, too, since the regular i received 98 miles on the LA4 driving cycle range. The US-i has a 16-kWh pack.
The increased distance means that Mitsubishi is talking about the Concept CA-MiEV as the "suburban EV," with enough range for "about one week of driving for an average European driver." If you need more, Mitsubishi hints that the flat battery pack leaves room for a range-extender. Add in convenience features like WiTricity wireless charging and the ability for the car to send an emergency email if it's stolen, and you've got the commuting vehicle of the future. With a coefficient of drag of just 0.26 and boomerang lights, of course.
It seems every time the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV makes the news the information concerns a delay, and the reason always centers on its batteries. Four months ago the culprit was restricted battery supply from Lithium Energy Japan, pushing the arrival to 2015. This time it's no different, with Automotive News reporting that a battery-related request made by California state regulators will push the Outlander PHEV arrival back to "late 2015 or early 2016."
CA authorities want all plug-in hybrids to be fitted with a monitor for the lithium-ion batteries that will be on the lookout for degradation, the concern being that diminished batteries could change the vehicle's emissions. Getting the technology fitted and tested means something like a 16- to 22-month delay.
The extra time, however, should let Mitsubishi figure out what it's going to do about its battery supply since the current level of 4,000 per month isn't enough to support a US launch; the Automotive News article says Mitsubishi expects a volume of 63,000 plug-ins for 2016. The company hasn't said how it plans to make up the balance.