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Mitsubishi i-MiEV UK price and specs revealed

Tue, 23 Mar 2010

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV goes on sale in the UK in January 2011

As part of Mitsubishi’s wish to be thought of as the maker of eco-cars and the saviour of fluffy-bunnies and polar bear cubs, they’ve been pushing forward with their urban milk-float – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV – for all they’re worth. They launched the i-MiEV last year in Japan and have been softening up the public with bits of info this year such as the mad assertion that four policemen and all their kit would fit in an i-MiEV.

So we all know the little electric Mitsubishi is coming, and in Japan – with a thumping big Government subsidy – it costs £20,000. In the UK it will list at a whopping £38,699 which even with the UK subsidy on electric cars from next year will still mean paying £33,699. Big ouch.

But there are upsides. You may be paying a ridiculous amount for the car, but until the Government starts to tax electricity used to power cars (and they will – soon) the running costs are minuscule - just £115 to do 12k miles. You won’t pay any road tax, it’s exempt from congestion charging, servicing costs will be low as long as the motor is reliable and you can write down the whole cost in the first year if you’re a business. And if you’re an employee you can have the i-MiEV as a freebie company car – no BIK tax will be due.

You can also ‘personalise’ the i-MiEV with a “Range of environmentally friendly and premium accessories” which includes – wait for it – floor mats made from bio-degradable bamboo fibre. Oh, goodie. That’ll polish the green halo nicely.

So there are some big pluses to the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and if you are a self-employed, VAT registered, 50% taxpayer living in central London you might be tempted. But on an environmental cost it’s no more environmentally friendly than a Toyota Aygo, will only do 100 miles from a six hour domestic charge and is nothing more than a novelty, pandering to the idiotic notion of man-made global warming.

When we reported on the launch of the i-MiEV in Japan last year  we said:

Interestingly, Mitsubishi are claiming that the Mitsubishi i MiEV emits around one third the Co2 of its petrol driven equivalent. But we reckon that would only apply if the electricity used came from the cleanest of sources, such as nuclear, solar or wind. If you took the electricity from a coal-fired power plant we reckon the Co2 would actually be higher than the emissions on the petrol car. A disingenuous claim by Mitsubishi, which does nothing to justify the car. Give us the unambiguous facts, and let us make the decision. Don’t obfuscate.

Still, it’s always good to see the boundaries of technology being pushed, even if we don’t necessarily agree with the direction or the justification.

And I’m afraid nothing in the interim time has changed our minds. Or is likely to.

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