Test Drive: Mitsubishi i Electric Car and Chevy Volt

Electric cars are coming to dealers near you. The question is, should you buy one?

After testing driving the Mitsubishi i Electric Car and the Chevy Volt the encouraging answer is yes. These cars will provide us with energy independence at a lower cost than gasoline, and they are fun to drive to boot.

I chose these two electric cars to drive because the Mitsubishi i Electric Car is a low price entry level model for electric cars while the Volt is a higher end model, having won the 2011 Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. Both offer strong competition to their gasoline fueled competitors.

The Chevy Volt is very cool. It looks modern and fast. And it is. I handed it over to a couple of friends who are long term members of the Porsche Club of America. They drove it hard and came away impressed. The car stacked up as a reasonable daily driver for a Porche aficionado.

Plus, this Volt draws favorable attention. I parked it at an upscale restaurant with a parking lot filled with BMWs and Mercedes. The car immediately drew a crowd. What was really fun was to see a $200,000+ Bentley convertible drive by without notice from the enthralled Volt crowd!

At a sticker price of approximately $40K before $7,500 of Federal Tax Credits the Chevy Volt is a very price competitive and cooler alternative to the Mercedes C class or BMW 328. The Volt is not a Prius using electrons. This is a fun to drive car that can go 350 miles before needing a recharge and fill-up that also has as much style as upscale German automobiles.

The Mitsubishi i Electric Car is a value-category killer. It costs $20,500. For that price you get a car that tracks on the road like my college MGB with the ability to seat five.

The reason this car handles so well is that the battery pack is located below your feet. This low center of gravity gives the car great balance on twisty roads. It also accelerates quick enough that you have to keep an eye on the speedometer. The quite ride will fool you into thinking you are doing 30 miles per hour when in fact you are doing 60!

This video interview with Don Herring Jr. an Irving Texas Mitsubishi dealer explains it all. The i Electric Car is a great value that will sell even in the Heart of Texas!

In summary, there are no more technology excuses for America to be addicted to oil. If we want to stop the bleeding measured by the hundreds of billions in negative trade deficit incurred from importing oil, measured by the lives and dollars lost to protecting foreign oil supplies and measured by higher health insurance premiums driven in part from the negative health impacts of tailpipe emissions then Mitsubishi and Chevy are offering us technology solutions that are price competitive, fun to drive and the answer our country has been searching for since the 1974 oil embargo.

Bill Roth is the founder of Earth 2017, a company that connects businesses to customers searching for smart, healthy and green solutions. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles green best practices by businesses that are making money and a difference. During 2011 he is implementing Green Builds Business, an 11-city coaching program created by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation with funding by Walmart.

[Image screenshot from Mitsubishi’s website]

First Green Business Coach for Entrepreneur.com. Founder of EARTH 2017, a website posting economic analysis on disruptive trends impacting communities and businesses. President of NCCT, a consulting company that coaches CEOs and business owners on pricing and marketing best practices proven to win the millennial generation, and their moms, as customers.