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It’s not easy buying a car out of state, especially one that can’t drive more than 50 miles at a time. I purchased a fully electric, battery-powered 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV last year on New Year’s Eve, and it was located an hour north of Detroit with no real way to get the damn thing home. Fortunately, my crafty good sense prevailed, and two weeks later, the thing was towed a whopping 237 miles home. Now that I have it in my possession, I’m wondering, “What next? What’s up with the i-MiEV?”

Firstly, I had to transfer the i-MiEV into my name. Ohio’s out-of-state inspections are a joke, so not much is required. They simply record mileage and make sure the VIN on the vehicle matches the VIN on the out-of-state title. The Honda dealer five minutes from my house did an inspection in 45 seconds, for the grand total of $3.50.

Kevin Williams

After that, I was good to transfer the Michigan title to an Ohio title in my name, all simple, easy-peasy stuff. Not so nice, however, was the exorbitant electric car registration fee, which cost a whopping $200 on top of the regular plate and registration fee. Oh well, I’m not paying an Ohio gas tax, so I guess that’s fair. Sort of.

Kevin Williams

Now, the car is officially mine. It’s insured, plated, and almost ready to drive.

If you’ve read about my past car-buying adventures, you know I can never buy a car that runs 100 percent, it has to have some sort of defect I need to fix. In the i-MiEV’s case, it has a few little issues that I’m morbidly excited to diagnose. The car drives fine in Eco and B modes, but it can’t drive faster than 30 mph in D. The EV “check engine light” is intermittently on, the interior is dirty, the previous owner spilled paint on the back seat, the shifter doesn’t correctly go in the gates, and the car desperately needs a wheel alignment.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get this paint out of the upholstery. Kevin Williams

Still, the car is remarkably not rusty, despite living its life entirely in Michigan. I’m the third, owner after an elderly lady, passed it on to her son. He rolled around in it for a while, then dumped it when he was over it. Coincidentally, he’s a Car Bibles reader. Not gonna lie, I was pretty stoked to hear, “I’ve read nearly everything you’ve written,” from a complete stranger.

My example is a 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV SE, which is one trim higher than the base model ES. I’ve got goodies like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, alloy wheels, and an upgraded stereo. I don’t have all upgrades, though. My example doesn’t have the CHAdeMO fast-charging port, nor Bluetooth, either. Still, I only paid $3500, not so bad for an electric car with less than 35,000 miles. 

Brand new, the i-MiEV was rated for 62 miles of pure electric range. The pitiful 16 kilowatt-hour is smaller than the 20 kWh battery installed in the forthcoming 2023 Outlander PHEV hybrid. That dinky battery sends electrons to a rear-mounted motor, that puts 66 horsepower and 145 ft-lbs of torque to the backmost wheels. 

I’m excited to get some miles in my sporty, rare egg. Mitsubishi only sold about 2,100 of these in the United States, and I got my hand on one of them. It’s gonna be a fun ride as we answer some hard questions about used EVs, home repairing, and ownership of such a low-range vehicle. At the very least, it should prove to be an offbeat, cheap to run city commuter, keeping miles and salt off my Abarth.

Stay tuned, it’s gonna be an exhilarating ride.

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