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EVs for Geeks


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While some people in the auto industry might argue that electric vehicles, technological tour de forces by any measure, are really cars for geeks, apparently these vehicles really are, well, for geeks. Whole squads of them.

That is, Best Buy Corp. has leased four Mitsubishi i-MiEVs, electric minicars. These vehicles are actually for sale in Japan. Best Buy will be running them out of its store in El Segundo, CA.

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The i-MiEV uses a high-capacity 330-v lithium-ion battery system that provide a range from 80 to 100 miles. The electric motor has 133 lb-ft of torque and 61-hp output. The mid-engine (motor) rear-wheel-drive car can travel at up to 81 mph. While you might think that this would be a rather too exciting proposition given the someone diminutive nature of the vehicle (actually, for the left-hand-steering versions for Best Buy, the car is wider than the right-hand-steering setup (59.8 in., a 1.7-in. increase). The vehicle has an overall length of 133.7 in. and a 100.4-in. wheelbase.

The batteries are placed beneath the floor, which lowers the center of gravity (which means the vehicle is more planted) and also increases passenger and cargo room.

The car has a three-way battery charging system:

  1. 220-volt system, which permits a full recharge in about seven hours
  2. 110-volt system, which permits a full change in about 14 hours
  3. Quick-charger system, which uses a three-phase 220-v power supply that can charge the battery to 80% in about 30 minutes

The battery pack consists of 22 modules, each of which comprises four battery cells. The batteries can be located in vertical or transverse orientation, which, admittedly, is sort of a geeky thing to know.

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