Mitsubishi has announced the initial US markets for its all-electric vehicle on the first press day of the LA Auto Show, November 17.

Referring to the vehicle as the "i", instead of the "i-MiEV" previously employed, the automaker confirmed that the EV will be available in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii next year, followed by northeastern states and nationwide availability by the end of 2012.

It is already on sale in Japan and production has started in Europe ahead of a planned introduction later this year.

However, Mitsubishi also confirmed that it is not expected to become available for at least a year, with the western US models appearing in November 2011 and the northeastern market following in March 2012.

It will face stiff competition from the Ford Focus and now-delayed Coda Sedan, as well as from its traditional adversary the Nissan Leaf, which is reportedly facing supply problems that could see widespread sales delayed.

However, with Mitsubishi promising an expected retail price of around $30,000 (€22,255), the "i" will be cheaper than both its international cousins and the Chevrolet Volt, perhaps even beating the $33,000 (€24,480) Nissan Leaf.

The Japanese automaker also revealed November 17 that it has signed a deal with Best Buy to use the electronic dealer's "Geek Squad" to install and manage residential charging stations, manufactured by electrical firm Eaton.

The tactic is similar to the approach Mitsubishi has also used in Japan, where it this week signed an agreement  to sell the vehicles in the stores of one of Japan's largest electrical appliance retailer, Bic Camera.

The retailer's President Hiroyuki Miyajima told reporters in Tokyo, "EVs can be considered a type of home electrical appliance."

http://www.mitsubishicars.com

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