Mitsubishi’s miserly motor

Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Mitsubishi’s electric model should cost peanuts to run.

MITSUBISHI’S new i-MiEV electric car will cost £33,699 when it arrives here next January.
That’s a hefty price tag for a supermini-sized four-seater hatchback, even if running one costs just peanuts.
The recently-announced UK Government incentive will knock a sizeable £5,000 off the Japanese car’s price, but the i-MiEV – Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle – will still only be capable of 80 miles between charge-ups.
Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi UK’s managing director, justifies the asking price by pointing out that any new technologies always command a premium.
He says: “This has been true for anything from plasma televisions to cars. Others make price claims and estimations, but we have a real vehicle that is available now, which is proven in the real world.
“These are exciting times for the UK motor industry. This is the biggest change in the automotive industry since it began more than 100 years ago, so to be able to offer our zero emissions car for this price is a truly great achievement.”
January 1 2011 is the i-MiEV’s on-sale date and Bradley’s argument over the car’s cost gains much credibility when you learn that Mitsubishi’s newly-opened electric vehicle centre in central London has already taken its first orders.
But any vehicle that can run up an electricity bill of just £115 to travel 12,000 miles – with a single full charge costing just 96 pence – is bound to attract considerable attention. That’s without mentioning the i-MiEV’s freedom from road tax, its low servicing costs and zero benefit-in-kind company car tax levy.
And there’s even better news for anyone living or working in London – the little Mitsubishi is exempt from the capital’s £2,000-a-year congestion charge and there’s free parking for electric cars in many London boroughs.
Anyone who wants more information on the i-MiEV can phone Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle centre on 020 7546 8331, or send an email to imiev@mitsubishi-cars.co.uk.
Nissan, meanwhile, claims its Leaf electric car will be the world’s first affordable mass-produced zero emissions car. However, it doesn’t go on sale here until the middle of 2013.
The firm is building the car here in Britain, at the existing Sunderland site. Construction of its battery-producing plant begins this April.
Nissan and electric-vehicle partner Renault say together they aim to produce half a million electric vehicles for sale worldwide.
Finally, Vauxhall is giving light-footed drivers the chance to win one of its Ampera electric cars, which goes on sale in the UK early in 2012.
The firm is now hunting for Europe’s greenest driver in a competition run jointly with sister firm Opel.
From April 1, Vauxhall wants people who think they have tip-top environmental driving credentials to test their skills in an online quiz – before going on to prove their eco-motoring mettle on an internet simulator.
The web trial will test virtual driving and fuel-saving skills. The best UK entrant will be invited to an event in Malmo, Sweden, this summer, to face other European hopefuls.
The winner will be awarded one of the very first Amperas, and motorists can register immediately for the contest by visiting www.ecoFLEX-experience.co.uk.

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