Friday, January 16, 2015

Pile it in

When you drive a car the size of a pill-box on the outside, it’s sometimes hard to believe what you can carry on the inside.  While my car is about the length of a Mini Cooper, inside there is much more room, especially with the rear seats folded flat.  Unlike the Mini (and most other tiny cars), the Mitsubishi i-MiEV was optimized for an electric drivetrain.  There is no bulky three- or four-cylinder engine, no transaxle with spinning cogs and flywheels, no muffler, and no gas tank.  The car is propelled by an efficient electric motor that is installed between the two rear wheels, with the batteries stored beneath each of the seats.  By raising the roofline to compensate for the batteries underneath, nearly the entire length of the car can be devoted to passenger (and cargo) space.  Admittedly, the car will carry only four people, which is an acceptable limitation for me.  (I can squeeze six into my four-door pickup on those rare occasions that I need the extra people capacity.)  But the real value of this car’s interior dimensions lies in its ability to accommodate cargo with the rear seats folded down.

On the few occasions I have taken my car in for service, I always toss my bicycle into the back with the front tire removed.  The bike fits easily like this.  (When taking my old 1987 BMW 325i to the mechanic, I would have to remove both wheels to fit the bike into the trunk.)  That the bike would fit came as no surprise.  What surprised me was when I undertook a repainting project that spanned a few weekends.  Even though I brought supplies to this apartment being repainted in multiple loads, I was astounded that I was able to return with all the supplies in one load.  See for yourself in the photos below, but the load contained several storage bins full of supplies, a few paint cans and a five-gallon can, drop cloths, cleaning gear, and a full-size dolly.  And, as you can see, my view to the rear was not obstructed by the cargo either.  Since that job, whenever I check out an electric car, I first look at the rear cargo area and whether the seats fold flat before I even consider the car for my future.  (Sorry Ford Focus, but this was a major deal-breaker.)
All this stuff just came out of the I-MiEV (see next picture)
All the stuff that fits easily inside the I-MiEV with the rear seats folded flat

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