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Mitsubishi warns fleets to move fast for electric model

Date: 06 May 2009

Mitsubishi i-Miev

Mitsubishi is expecting huge demand for its new i-Miev electric model, and is urging fleets interested in running one of the four-Seat fully electric models to express their interest quickly to avoid missing out.

The first 50 UK cars have been confirmed for production later this year, with a further 150 scheduled to be allocated to Britain.

"We've only got 200 in the first 12 months; if anyone wants one then they've got to let us know now," said a spokesman.

Unlike Smart in the UK and Mini in Germany and America, this is a full production programme, not a trial scheme, and Mitsubishi's Japanese HQ is about to confirm warranty and servicing detail.

At the moment the price is predicted to be between £20,000 and £25,000, although Pound/Yen currency fluctuations mean it won't be tied down until nearer the October launch.

But to counter the high price, the car costs significantly less to run thanks to electricity replacing petrol, with the company predicting around 0.45p per mile in electricity cost.

Servicing is also kept to a minimum by the absence of an engine.

The firm predicts most models will go through the contract hire route, and public sector fleets have already shown strong interest, with the police fleets also on Mitsubishi's hit list.

"We're ahead of the game," said the spokesman. "Mini and Smart are launching in 2012; we'll have 40,000 or 50,000 cars produced by then."

The firm's production plans worldwide are for around 2000 vehicles in 2009/2010, then building rapidly to 40,000-50,000 cars in 2012.

"That's massive compared to everyone else," said the spokesman.

There are also plans for an electric small off-roader model, though confirmation is still some way off.