$43k elec­tric­ity bill

This small car doesn’t come cheap, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE price of go­ing green is $43,000. That’s the cost of the new all-elec­tric Mit­subishi i-Miev in the Ja­panese mar­ket, where it is about to go on sale.

The i-Miev will cost more than its big­ger hy­brid ri­vals from Toy­ota and Honda.

De­spite the mi­cro-car’s high price, Mit­subishi Aus­tralia spokes­woman Lenore Fletcher be­lieves it will be pop­u­lar when it ar­rives here, pos­si­bly next year.

Lo­cal pric­ing is not yet con­firmed but Fletcher says the re­ac­tion of 150 peo­ple at re­cent drive days around the coun­try in­di­cates the car will be a hit.

‘‘If we had 20 i-MIEVs to­mor­row they would all be sold,’’ Fletcher says. ‘‘We’ve had peo­ple try­ing to give us firm or­ders for the car.’’

Par­tic­i­pants were sur­prised by the power and re­fine­ment of the lit­tle hatch, she says.

Fletcher is con­fi­dent prices will drop as elec­tric cars be­come more com­mon and greater pro­duc­tion al­lows economies of scale.

Mit­subishi Aus­tralia is buoyed by the in­ter­est from fleet buy­ers who want to sell a green mes­sage.

The rear-drive i-Miev de­vel­ops 47kW, the same as the three­cylin­der petrol-pow­ered Mit­subishi ‘‘i’’, but de­liv­ers 180Nm from zero revs com­pared with the petrol car’s 94Nm.

Its CO2 emis­sions are 70 per cent less than those from a sim­i­lar sized hatch­back.

The car has been cer­ti­fied to Aus­tralian De­sign Rules and Mit­subishi Aus­tralia is just wait­ing for the nod from Ja­pan.

It has a range about 160km from its lithium-ion bat­tery pack and given 85 per cent of com­muters drive fewer than 100km a day, Fletcher says the i-Miev is an ideal city car. Only 2000 i-Mievs will be built in Ja­pan this year, but the car’s pop­u­lar­ity has prompted Mit­subishi to lift pro­duc­tion. Next year it will build 5000 and by 2013 it hopes to build 30,000 a year. Mit­subishi, like many lead­ing car­mak­ers who are push­ing the elec­tric but­ton, faces a short­age of bat­tery com­po­nents for its ve­hi­cles.

The Toy­ota Prius goes on sale next mon­t­hand is ex­pected to cost slightly more than the Honda In­sight.

Honda Aus­tralia plans a sub$30,000 price for the In­sight. It had hoped to have the car on sale here this year but its pop­u­lar­ity over­seas has de­layed its lo­cal launch to the sec­ond half of next year.

In Ja­pan, the i-Miev will ini­tially be sold to fleets and pri­vate sales will start later this year. It will be sold in Europe and North Amer­ica as well as Aus­tralia.

Mit­subishi and Nis­san Aus­tralia want the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide in­cen­tives to en­cour­age peo­ple into elec­tric cars.

Pow­er­ful at­trac­tion:

the Mit­subishi iMiev has been pop­u­lar at drive days around Aus­tralia.

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