When Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car will be eligible for a £5,000 government grant for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2011, it will be priced at £33,699. The current price is £38,699.
This grant is substantial but it still leaves the price of the i-MiEV to be higher than other premium models, including the mid-spec BMW 5-Series, an entry-level Jaguar XF or the top-spec Lexus IS or Lotus Elise.
Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi Motors UK's managing director, acknowledged the high asking price. He said that new technologies command a premium and that while others make price claims and estimations, Mitsubishi's vehicle is available now and is proven in the real world.
The i-MiEV is an all-electric version of the i four-seater, with the combustion engine and fuel tank replaced by a 63bhp electric motor and a large battery pack. It has a range of 80 miles and top speed of 81mph.
Mitsubishi seeks to emphasize the low running costs of the car to potential buyers. The carmaker claims that 12,000 miles' worth of electricity costs only £115.
Its other attractions include the low servicing costs, its road tax-free status, and in fact, it is congestion charge-free and attracts no benefit-in-kind company car tax.
Its personalization program allows buyers to specify the exterior colors and they can opt for items such as floor mats made from bio-degradable bamboo fiber.