I Bought a Rear-Engined RWD Car for Basically Nothing | Autance

I got this little gem for only $3,500.

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I Bought a Rear-Engined RWD Car for Basically Nothing | Autance © I Bought a Rear-Engined RWD Car for Basically Nothing | Autance

According to my calculations, I owned nine cars in 2021. But I couldn’t let the year end without making that a nice round number, so I spent some of my hard-earned cash to add one more vehicle to my fleet. After a four-hour drive on New Year’s Eve I have acquired a rear-wheel drive, Japanese, four-seat rarity. Only about 2,000 examples made it to America. It is… a Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

i-MiEV front
Kevin Williams

Now, I know we’re still in the midst of the Car Autance Midwest EV test, home charging is just as much of a question mark now as it was a few weeks ago. But you know what? I don’t give a shit. I think. These i-MiEVs are odd, egg-shaped early attempts at EVs, and secretly, I’ve been trying to buy one for around a year now. Last year, pre-used car insanity, a used i-MiEV popped on Facebook marketplace, but I was too slow and it sold to someone else. Over the next year or so, other examples would pop up, but they were more money than I wanted to pay. Imagine my surprise when the cheapie example I saw more than a year ago showed up for sale again.

I Bought a Rear-Engined RWD Car for Basically Nothing
Kevin Williams

This 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV has done about 35,000 miles, has a newer traction battery, good tires, and a clean title. Unfortunately, it was not equipped with the optional DC fast charging CHAdeMO port, AC charging for me only.

Right now, the car is parked in Flint, Michigan, not quite a four-hour drive from my front door. The i-MiEV’s 62-mile range, (about 35 in the cold, on the freeway), isn’t enough to meaningfully leave Flint, without needing to stop for six hours to charge at a Level 2 station. Probably not the most usable car in the Detroit or Flint area, where distances are long, and speed limits are fast. Thus, it’s been kind of a stinker on the Flint area used car market.

i-MIEV rear
Kevin Williams

Yet, here in Columbus, the i-MiEV could be a fairly usable car for a suburbanite in search of a spare go-getter errand-running car or a city dweller who wants something to drive when they don’t feel like walking or using public transportation. It can’t do much, but what little it can do, might be worth it to someone. Or me. Maybe me. Can I work with the i-MiEV’s limited range? Or will I get annoyed? I’ll probably get annoyed. We’ll see.

i-MiEV Profile
Kevin Williams

Not quite everything is okay with the i-MiEV, there are a few quibbles with the gear selector, and the EV equivalent of the check engine light is on, but from what I can tell, they look to be fairly simple fixes. We’ll see. My most immediate goal is to figure out how to get the car out of Michigan and to my front door. 

This probably is one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever acted on. I’m excited to see it blow up in my face.

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