YORK, England — The mainstream EV is still a bit too young to be easy to find in the car graveyards I frequent (though I have documented a few, including Toyota’s RAV4-based competitor to the GM EV1), but I remain hopeful that I’ll run across a discarded Mitsubishi i-MiEV during my junkyard travels. This might be difficult, since Mitsubishi sold just over 2,000 examples of the short-range electrified kei car
Yes, I traveled to Northern England in January with the primary goal of visiting one of only two American-style self-service scrapyards in Great Britain (that’s what they call them over here): the U-Pull-It in York
The i (there ought to be an international treaty forbidding the use of a single lower-case letter as the designation for a vehicle model, as well as vehicles with punctuation marks in their names
It appears that the internal-combustion-powered i was built only in right-hand-drive configuration, so Mitsubishi limited exports to drive-on-the-left places such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The MSRP for a new 2008 i in the UK was £9,084, or about £14,173 after inflation
It seems that the i was just too weird-looking and too slow to appeal to many British car shoppers. Today’s
Junkyard Scrapyard Gem was one of a mere 303 examples of the Mitsubishi i exported to Europe.
The i was available only with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The engine compartment refused to open, and I grew tired of beating up my frozen fingers trying to force it open in the 29°F chill of North Yorkshire on a January morning … so here’s the best shot of the turbocharged DOHC three-banger
The problem with electronic odometers for your intrepid searcher for high-mile junkyard odometer readings is that you need to power up the vehicle’s ECM in order to display their final readings. Fortunately, the employees of U-Pull-It York are kind enough to shoot photos of gauges with the ignition turned on while processing new arrivals, so we can see that this car had 50,803 miles on the clock
The i-MiEV went into production in 2009, and left-hand-drive versions were built for export. Here’s the one entered by Mitsubishi in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which was stock except for safety gear (it finished sixth in the Electric Vehicle class, with a time of 15 minutes and 10.557 seconds).
The electron-fueled version of the i remained in production for eight years after curtains for the gas-burner, with nearly 30,000 sold worldwide. It was the innovative i (not to be confused with the hungry i) that opened the door for those cars, so I’m proud to have found an example of this bit of automotive history.
Featuring music by Yumi Matsutoya.