What are my impressions?
The first thing I would expect people to want to know is "Do you like the car after having spent that amount of time with it?" The answer is, "Definitely!" A rough-average use is 10 miles per day. That is based on 1000 miles after around 100 days. Most days are closer to 4-5 miles if I just drive back and forth to work only. So there are plenty of days where the driving is much higher than 10 miles to bring the average up that high.
It is encouraging to have spoken with many open-minded people about the advantages of owning an electric car. I don't think I've been able to convert anyone I know to electric yet. Hopefully I've been able to lend some helpful insight to those who are reading this.
When I drove one of my gas powered cars regularly, fuel efficiency was on my mind. But is was mostly when refueling that I gave it the most consideration. I would fill the tank and compute the average gallons by comparing the amount of fuel added to the trip odometer. I didn't stay conscious over the range of the tank about getting the best economy out of the car. Maybe this is more a reflection of me, but my mentality was to make sure traffic wasn't getting in front of me and slowing down my progress. I would analyze the traffic ahead and behind to make sure I wasn't going to get "boxed in" by surrounding cars. Now I find myself content to behind someone driving at a reasonable pace and grateful that any finger-pointing for holding up others in traffic will be directed their way.
The range I've experienced to date has been 4 miles per kilowatt hour. The range has been on the decline since colder mornings in Illinois have meant using the defroster on the way to work. I expect the "winter" range to decline to a number closer to 3 miles per kW hr. The other factor for my range being around 4 miles per kW hr is my usage of the Eco driving mode for most of my accelerating and selecting "Brake" mode while slowing down. I'm a little surprised that I am still trying to achieve a higher range and haven't given in to enjoying the thrill of using all the torque available when accelerating. Perhaps "in the name of science" I will try to determine how low the range can go when accelerating aggressively and using the climate controls with reckless abandon.
Some other Likes
If a person doesn't want to like the car, the style is an obvious target. However, if a person is seriously considering an electric car, then my conclusion is they will be impressed by the fact that the car is not overloaded with features that add weight without adding benefit. An extreme example that comes to mind is the fitting of high end RV's with quarried tile floors. I'm not trying to say that an RV shouldn't have marble floors. My point is that in a vehicle like the i-MiEV, it wouldn't be justifiable. Mitsubishi has done a good job of keeping the weight down, which is critical considering that energy consumption and therefore range is impacted by the amount of energy that is required to accelerate a mass.
I like the small physical footprint the car is able to achieve while still maintaining a cabin roomy enough for a driver that is 6'3" (about 2 meters). Others may think it's too small. Of the looks the car gets, I often wonder how many are due to the style of the car and how many are from people that recognize it is an electric vehicle? Honestly though, I think most people are noticing the style because most people I talk to are amazed to discover it is 100% electric. There was one guy that comes to mind that may have realized it is electric. My wife and I were watching him from our table inside a restaurant. He circled the car a couple times and bent down behind the car to look for a tailpipe.
I like the fact that I am not reliant on remote charging to get around. Along with that comes the satisfaction that my cost to recharge is just under 2 cents per mile. Which is another reason I'm surprised that I pay such close attention to the cost. Given that a car getting 25 MPG with a cost of gas at $3.50 per gallon is paying 14 cents per mile for fuel; I could pay 4 cents per mile and still be 3.5 times lower for the cost of energy per mile. Maybe in the back of my mind I'm trying to get to a self-imposed break-even point versus gas powered cars for the purpose of either defending myself against critics or for promoting electric to an accepting audience.
And should things change in the future to where I was driving distances that required recharging before returning, I would like the fact that the recharging infrastructure is steadily growing.