We don’t quote 0-10mph acceleration times much. There’s little point when most ordinary road cars do it within a couple of tenths of one whole second. The i-MiEV Evolution does it in 0.5sec, pulling a peak 0.85g. An Ariel Atom V8, complete with launch control, is no faster at that. A Bugatti Veyron Supersport is a tenth slower.

That gives you a flavour of the sheer brutality bludgeoned out when this car’s right-hand pedal is flattened from a stationary start. What does 443lb ft feel like when it’s available the instant the driving wheels start to turn on their hubs? Cruel. It’s the kind of power delivery you should prepare for with a non-aqueous and particularly spongy breakfast. 

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
Its high-speed performance is a limiting factor only down the straight of the Okazaki circuit

But after launch it becomes seamlessly smooth and perfectly linear. It hits 50mph in 2.9sec and 60mph in 3.8sec, so it’s as quick as most supercars off the mark, as well as the last Evo FQ-400.

By that point, however, the electric motors’ power and torque outputs are beginning to tail off. Which is why getting from 60mph to 100mph takes another 8.1sec. Top speed, limited by the redline of the motors, is 115mph. 

Flying past in full cry, the i-MiEV Evolution blends wind rustle, road roar and screaming motors like nothing you’ve ever heard. It taps into frequencies that could probably subdue an angry Rottweiler at 500 paces. Beyond 50mph, from the driver’s seat, the wind howls hard enough around your helmet to totally drown out that turbine symphony.

Stopping is something the car does exceptionally well, even without anti-lock brakes. The iron-hard pedal inspires absolute confidence once you’re used to the effort that it can soak up, and you can bring the car to rest from 70mph in less than 40 metres. That’s a 20 percent shorter distance than in most road cars.

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