2012 Mitsubishi i most fuel efficient vehicle in U.S.

2012 Mitsubishi i Deemed Most Fuel Efficient Car in America

The EPA has deemed the 2012 Mitsubishi i the most fuel efficient car in America in its list of "Fuel Economy Leaders: 2012 Model Year" in the governmental agency's annual Fuel Economy Guide.

The 2012 Mitsubishi i earns the title thanks to its EPA-rated 112 combined/126 city/99 highway MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). According to Mitsubishi, its electric vehicle has a range of 62 miles.

The MPG equivalent puts it well ahead of the 2012 Nissan Leaf, which is rated at 99 mpg combined but has a much farther range at 90 miles. After that, the nearest competitor is the Ford Transit Connect Electric Van at a combined 62 mpg. The Chevrolet Volt is rated at a combined 60 mpg while the granddaddy of hybrids, the Toyota Prius hatchback, comes in at 50 mpg combined.

Not only is the Mitsubishi i the most fuel efficient ride in the U.S., it is the most affordably-priced mass-produced electric vehicle available in the United States. It has an MSRP of $29,125 – about $3700 less than the Nissan Leaf - for the base ES model before a federal tax credit of $7,500 and available state financial incentives.

The next-generation U.S.-specification Mitsubishi i – available in either an ES base model or upgrade SE trim package – is just now becoming available to test drive at dealerships beginning with the first scheduled customer vehicle deliveries set to commence in early 2012.

This U.S.-spec electric vehicle will feature an even roomier interior and improved safety features than its European and Japanese counterparts, thanks to a 4.3-inch wider track and redesigned front and rear bumpers, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) to warn pedestrians of the approaching EV. A redesigned center console featuring improved materials will also feature prominently on the new North American Mitsubishi i.

This zero tailpipe emission production vehicle makes use of a more powerful 49 kW AC synchronous electric motor (66 bhp), an 88-cell 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and includes an onboard battery charger. The vehicle’s batteries can be recharged in approximately 22 hours by the included 120v Level 1 portable charging cable, 7 hours by a dedicated 240v Level 2 EVSE charger (available for home installation by select retailers or utility companies), and receive an 80% charge in under 30 minutes from a public Level 3 quick charging station via the optional charging port.

By the way, those charging times for the standard 120v system are slow. Basically, to obtain full charge off the standard plug, the Leaf needs to be charged for an entire day. Most owners will likely upgrade to the 240v chargers for sanity's sake. After all, it's no fun to own the most fuel efficient vehicle in America if your Mitsubishi i is always plugged into the charger.

Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.

Share this content.