The first batch of Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars has arrived in the UK via Portbury Docks near Bristol. The 25 cars are destined for the West Midlands where they will be taking part in a government trial being carried out in cooperation with Coventry University.

The i-MiEV probably comes closer than any other electric vehicle so far to offering a package that could replace mainstream family cars – but still has its limitations. While it's a comprehensively equipped full four-seater with a top speed of 81mph, its range between charge-ups, at 100 miles, is comparatively limited. The i-MiEV has zero tailpipe emissions, but its overall environmental impact depends of course on the mix of fuels used in the power stations feeding our electricity supply system.

The i-MiEV design is also being borrowed by Peugeot which will offer it as the i0n; as we recently reported, the French company recently started taking pre-orders for its version of the car.

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