Mitsubishi has bowed to the inevitable and reduced the price of its i-MiEV electric vehicle (EV) due to be delivered to customers in the UK from January next year. The company announced in March that the car would sell for £38,699, before applying the government's planned £5,000 subsidy for electric vehicles; while this price was considered expensive, it probably only became impossible to sustain once Nissan announced shortly afterwards that its UK-built Leaf EV would sell for some £10,000 less.
Now Mitsubishi has announced that it will sell the i-MiEV at £23,990 (after subsidy), exactly the same price as the Leaf; while the Leaf will still provide very stiff competition, the new pricing at least gives the i-MiEV a sporting chance of establishing itself in the market. One major difference between the Leaf and the i-MiEV is that the Leaf has been designed from the ground up as an EV while the i-MiEV is an adaptation of an existing petrol-powered model, albeit one of the most convincing; unlike some other EV conversions, the i-MiEV doesn't sacrifice any passenger or luggage space in order to accommodate its batteries or electric propulsion system.
The Mitsubishi pricing switch demonstrates that at this early stage in the attempt to take EVs into the mass market, nobody really has much idea what price customers will be prepared to pay for them – and that the market probably isn't going to take off without a fair bit of support from manufacturers and governments.