Japan's first mass-marketed electric car goes on sale

2010-04-02 08:35 BJT

Japan's first mass-marketed electric car, has gone on sale. Its debut has also set off a price war, with Mitsubishi slashing its cost on the first day by around a fifth.

The four-seater bubble-shaped i-MiEV from Japan's fifth-biggest automaker, costs about 30,000 US dollars.

That price follows government incentives bringing the price down from about 40,000 US dollars.

The company says it has received about two thousand advance orders in Japan for the i-MiEV, which stands for Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle.

Proud buyer Chitoshi Okunuki, placed an order in August. He runs a convenience store and has been developing his own electric car. He says the i-MiEV is very quiet.

Japan's first mass-marketed electric car, has gone on sale. Its debut has also set off a price war, with Mitsubishi slashing its cost on the first day by around a fifth.
Japan's first mass-marketed electric car, has gone on sale. Its 
debut has also set off a price war, with Mitsubishi slashing its 
cost on the first day by around a fifth.

Chitoshi Okunuki said, "I have been developing an electric car myself using a conventional car. But, this is a mass marketed one and it feels safer and more reliable to drive than my own invention."

The i-MiEV, with a cruising range of 160 kilometers on a single charge, can be recharged from a regular socket at home but that takes 14 hours.

It takes just 30 minutes using a more powerful charging station. But there are only 60 across Japan.

Nissan, Japan's third largest automaker, says its Leaf, due to go on sale in December, will cost just 32,000 US dollars with government incentives.

Also this week, Chinese BYD began selling its new electric vehicle, the F3DM, for the equivalent of 25,000 US dollars.