Mitsubishi Motors has announced that the i-MiEV city car will be on sale to the general public from August onwards, making it the first all-electric car to be available to private buyers in Australia.
Final pricing has yet to be locked in for the 2012 i-MiEV, but Mitsubishi is confident that the final retail price will be "within the vicinity of $50,000". That makes the 2012 model roughly $13,000 cheaper than the 2010 model, which was only available on a lease basis to government and business fleets.
Newly-appointed President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Australia, Genichiro Nishina, said that the arrival of the 2012 i-MiEV is a significant milestone for environmentally-conscious motorists.
“This is the first time in Australia’s history that environmentally aware citizens will be able to purchase their very own zero drive-time emission, mass produced fully electric vehicle – the i-MiEV," Mr Nishina said.
“Considering that about 95 per cent of commuters in urban Australia travel less than 100 kilometres per day, the i-MiEV is an excellent real-world solution to help reduce the population’s environmental impact."
The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV brings a slew of specification changes, with stability control, traction control, side airbags and curtain airbags being added to the standard equipment list.
Auto-on headlights and multi-mode keyless entry are also new for 2012, with the latter replacing the previous model's keyless start feature with a traditional keyed ignition - reportedly to stop owners from accidentally leaving their cars running while parked.
The car's rear-mounted electric powertrain still produces 49kW and 180Nm and delivers drive through a single-speed gearbox, while maximum range remains 155km.
A Lithium-ion battery pack sits under the passenger compartment and can be fully charged from a 15-amp household plug in seven hours, however a specialised quick-charger system is being rolled out that can charge the battery to near-full in just 30 minutes.
In addition to Mitsubishi's standard 10 year powertrain and 5 year vehicle warranty, the i-MiEV will be sold with a 5-year battery warranty. However, Mitsubishi expects batteries to retain 80% of their capacity after 10 years.
Initially, the i-MiEV will be sold from a single selected dealership in each major city, with further dealerships to offer the i-MiEV from the start of 2012.
Official retail pricing will be confirmed in the lead-up to the 2012 i-MiEV's August.