Mitsubishi Faces New Recalls

mitsubishi-iMiev-side-left
mitsubishi-iMiev-side-left

Mitsubishi Motor Corporation in a recent announcement, said that they would be recalling 14,700 electric vehicles starting this year. The problem arose after a brake problem that is only present in electricity power cars, which would be a safety issue to its users and owners. This recalls is the biggest in the recent history of electric cars in the market today.

The announcement further stated that nearly 3,400 i-MiEV electric vehicles are located in Japan, as well as 2,400 minicab- MiEV vehicles currently on the road. Nearly 8,900 of the i-MiEVs are situated in Europe, sold as either the PSA Peugeot Citroen iOn and C-Zero.

The scale of this recall though is small compared to the normal recalls for conventional internal combustion engines. Unfortunately, the recall covers half of the production of the i-MiEV and MINICAB-MiEV line.

Despite the boost given by the Obama administration the electric car revolution is still undergoing growing pains, with much of the problem still about range anxiety and upfront costs of owning an electric car.

According to Tatsuo Yoshida, Senior Analyst at the Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo, “This is a matter of one part and it’s too much to apply the issue to say there is something wrong with electric vehicles. The cause of the problem is identified and there were no accidents. But the problematic part is the brake, an important part for safety and that means Mitsubishi Motors’ quality check procedure is too weak.”

The problem for the recalled vehicles is the improper shaping or damage to the electric pump that sends the air to the brake booster. The brake booster multiplies the force applied from the foot pedal, making braking much easier. Should the pump malfunction, the braking of the vehicle would require a greater distance before reaching a halt. This measure was to prevent any accidents or injuries to occur, as there have been no reported injuries or deaths as well as no risk to fire.

The spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the overall costs of the recall. The process of the recall would be to remove the problematic pump and replace it with the right sized one. This whole process would take about half an hour at the most. This pump cannot be used in gasoline powered cars as it pushes air into the brake booster.

Other previous recalls made in the industry include Fisker Automotive’s recall to repair a faulty cooling fan unit back in August 2012. General Motors also had a recall in January 2012 for the battery pack of the Volt plug-in hybrids. This current recall though is after charges of inappropriate reporting done by Mitsubishi Motors involving minicars.

Top Ten Plug Ins for 2012

electricsedan
electricsedan

Top 10. The expanded market Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. As new markets in Canada and the UK receive the Opel Ampera, the European version of the Volt, the market base is expected to increase. As for the Leaf, it would also start to show up in Nissan showrooms in the UK and other fifty states in the United States.

Top 9. The SmartforTwo Electric Drive. The Smart Car builder Daimler has said that it would be launching its third generation SmartForTwo Electric Drive car in thirty new markets by the fall of 2012. The delay from the original summer 2012 launch was due to quality control issues with its battery supplier Li-Tec.

Top 8. The Honda Fit EV. This EV from Honda was scheduled to be released in Oregon and some parts of California by the summer of 2012, with only 1,100 scheduled to be built in the next three years.

Top 7. The Mitsubishi i. This is the updated version of the MiEV and is available in both Japan and the United Kingdom since the start of 2012. Costing just about U.S.$29,125 before the application of the incentives from state and federal law, this is clearly one of the most affordable EVs in the market today.

Top 6. The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The Prius Goes Plural campaign in full swing, the Japanese car giant has offered this new hybrid version to its current stable of hybrid models.

Top 5. The Ford Focus Electric. The market ready ones would become ready for the market by the spring of 2012. This is the first pure electric vehicle from one of the Detroit Big Three carmakers.

Top 4. The Fisker Karma. Despite the delays, the Fisker Karma has now become available. The first ones though need to be recalled for some minor repairs but the current issues of the company may eventually make this car an endangered species, especially with its six-figure purchase price.

Top 3. The Toyota RAV 4 EV. This is the joint venture project between Tesla and Toyota. The first few vehicles would become available in California, hopefully by mid-2012.

Top 2. The Ford C-Max Energi. This is a plug in version of the Ford C-Max wagon. This vehicle is scheduled to become available in the United States within 2012 while Europe would have to wait until 2013.

Top 1. The Tesla Model S. This is one of the longest waiting lists for cars in history, with 6,500 individuals placing their order together with U.S.$5,000 two years before its actual availability. This vehicle is one of the most awaited releases for 2012.

Nissan Becomes Picky Seller

NSSANleaf
NSSANleaf

Nissan Motors, in its recent move, may actually turn down potential purchasers of its all-electric Leaf hatchback. The purchasers may need to “qualify” to purchase the Aus$51,500 plus on-road costs all electric vehicle from the Japanese automaker.

The company would assess the purchaser as to the home charging set up, the distance of the daily commute and other items that the company says would only ensure that the Leaf would meet the buyer’s needs and expectations.

According to Nissan Australia Sales and Fleet General Manager, Mr. Ian Moreillon, “We want to qualify you that the car is suitable for you. We don’t want people driving it and then find it doesn’t fit their requirements.”

The first public orders would be received by February 2012 and the Leaf would be much more expensive than the Mitsubishi MiEV, tagged at Aus$48,800 but cheaper than the Holden Volt, which is tagged at Aus$60,000.

The lowest priced EV currently in the Australian market is the Renault Fluence ZE (Zero Emissions) sedan that currently sells for less than Aus$40,000. This basement price though does not include the battery array, which the company would offer to its purchasers through a leasing agreement. Renault is Nissan’s sister company.

Comparatively, the Leaf’s price includes the battery array but there is no charging dock that is included for the home. This is one of the recommendations of the company to potential purchasers of the electric vehicle. The company further added that the set-up costs for the home charging unit would depend on the home wiring configuration, within Aus$1,200 for a home with modern wiring. For greater complexities or older homes, the cost can run up to a couple of thousand of dollars.

He adds, “You don’t just buy a Nissan Leaf, get it delivered, take it home and then ask what you’re going to do about charging it. We want to have charging equipment integrated into the process — how we do that is what we’re still discussing. So when a customer does take their car home, the charger is there on the wall ready to go.”

Nissan is also concentrating on upcoming fast charge networks that would become commonplace in shopping centers and business car parks. These chargers are able to recharge up to 80 percent of the capacity in just thirty minutes. On the other hand, its sister company, Renault would be focusing on an entirely different EV infrastructure set up featuring battery swap stations.

Nissan maintains that the Leaf is the highest selling electric car in the history of the car industry with more than 20,000 cars sold worldwide in just its first year.

The New York Auto Show of 2011

movingtousaIMAGE
movingtousaIMAGE

It is without doubt the year of the electric car. It has shown up in Frankfurt and now in New York, it clearly has stolen the show. Last year, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt were launched to a lot of fanfare. This year, three more pure electric cars would be hitting the showrooms throughout the world. Major automakers and start up companies are jockeying for position in this increasingly lucrative market. This year’s show has also highlighted the following announcements:

Nissan North America Chairman, Carlos Tavares, has announced that the first Nissan all-electric vehicle to the United States with a faster charger. This would cut charging time from seven to four hours using a 240-volt level 2 charging station.

Mitsubishi on the other hand stated that its MiEV would cost $27,990 before taxes. With the current federal tax rebate, the price would fall to $20,490. Mitsubishi North America President Yoichi Yozokawa has said that the company would unveil more plug-ins until 2015.

BMW also showcased ActiveE, the second-generation electric car designed from the 1 Series coupe. The company intends to lease 800 units to individuals at $450 per month. This is much more inexpensive compared to the Mini E lease program. The ActiveE’s electric power train would be the basis for the BMW full electric, the carbon fiber i3.

Porsche has taken the hybrid route with its 380 hp Panamera S-Hybrid. The unit costs $95,000 and goes from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds. The model is pegged to be the most efficient Porsche, with a fuel efficiency of 6.8 liters per 100 miles under European standards.

Other announcements include the Lexus LF-Gh hybrid among others. Clearly, the electric car and the hybrid vehicle have made its mark and the future belongs to them.

The Coming of the New Electric Cars

Electric car made from batteries
Electric car made from batteries

For the past year, the interest in owning an electric car has grown in the United States. Disappointingly, the only available true electric car in the market is the Nissan Leaf and only offered in a few states. Hybrids, such as the Chevy Volt are well above the price capabilities of the common man. This landscape would change very soon as more and more electric cars and hybrids become available to the market and consumers.

The Ford Focus EV.

The compact EV would become available in California and New York near the end of 2011. Afterwards, the sedan would be made available to Chicago, Atlanta, Boston and Houston by the middle of 2012. The car is touted to be able to travel seventy (70) miles on a full charge. The Ford Focus EV charges using a 240 volt charging station, thus being able to go on full charge between three to four hours. As a whole, Ford is planning to unveil five more electric vehicles in the next three years.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Already available in Japan, England and Australia, this four passenger EV would become available by early 2012. Weighing a lightweight 2,600 lbs, this EV is the lightest of current cars in the market. It also has a unique bubble shaped design making it a true green statement to the electric car owner. It is also projected to become one of the cheapest ones in the market once made available.

The Toyota RAV 4 EV.

While many carmakers tend to go smaller, Toyota chooses to go larger with the RAV 4 EV. The mini-SUV would become available in 2012. Since Toyota is the premier car maker on hybrids, their venture on a fully electric vehicle is much anticipated.

There are other electric cars that have also become available in the market. These though, may be a bit off the cuff for the regular car owner, but still an option for many electric car owners.

The Volkswagen Single Seater EV. 

This single seater EV is designed for the commuters and would have an optional renewable power source. The final design is still up in the air, but it is predicted to look very much like the VW L1 concept car introduced a few years ago.

The Schluckspecht E.

This is a university developed concept car. The vehicle is designed to run at 28 mph and is a one seater. It is very energy efficient as it was supposedly able to run 1,013 miles on full charge.

The KTM E3W.

This is a three wheeler with scissor style doors very similar to a Lamborghini. The full body is made of plastic and one of the best looking E3W or electric three wheelers. The manufacturer is KTM, an Austrian motorcycle maker. The vehicle has a twenty horsepower engine, travels a distance of sixty two miles per charge.

So consumer, wait for these electric vehicles to hit the nearest showroom in your area.