The introduction to the i-Miev on the Mitsubishi website states that the journey to a “new world where cars are clean and quiet” has begun.
The arguments are compelling: £270 to charge for 12,000 miles (even less if you’re using Economy7; low servicing costs and downtime, with only four major working parts compared to more than 300 in a typical internal combustion engine, road tax exemption, zero benefit-in-kind tax and London congestion charge and a three-year service plan for £300.
And in the metal, the car is an incredible proposition. It is a doddle to drive – just watch the reversing speed as it is surprisingly spritely in the ‘wrong direction’ – and charge the battery, using a run-of-the-mill three-pin plug from flat to full in seven hours, ahead of the introduction of a fast-charger which will reduce the time to 30 minutes for 80% full.
The underlying concern is range anxiety. It’s inevitable, Mitsubishi says, when coming to terms with new technology.
This is true, but having only around 90 miles in the tank before having to plug in for hours is disconcerting on anything but the shortest journey.
You watch the power gauge like a hawk and in this respect EVs mirror what high pump prices do – make you consider every journey.
Then there’s the added consideration of advice given by Mitsubishi to flatten the battery completely and recharge fully in order to maximise its life, in the same way you’re advised to with a mobile phone.
Sensible, but a reason for anxiety to ramp up further.
The solution could be in the marketing: electric vehicles for city driving; plug-in hybrids for a mixture of city and long distance driving with increasingly efficient, smaller petrol engines for high mileage drivers.