The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is an all electric version of the company's i city car. The standard, petrol engine i is no longer available in the UK, but it not only spawned the i-MiEV, but also the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero.
In layman's terms, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is an all-electric version of the i four-seater, with the combustion engine and fuel tank replaced by a 63bhp electric motor and a large battery pack.
In stop-start traffic in villages and towns, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV excels. It pulls away smoothly, whether in standard mode or the more economical 'Eco' setting, which limits the motor's output to 18kW. A small amount of creep makes low-speed manoeuvres surprisingly easy.
Mitsubishi quotes a range of 80-100 miles, but much is dependent on when, where and how it is driven - turn the air-con to its maximum and the charge won't last as long, but it's easy to imagine commuting to work or doing the school run in this car. The company says that if you plug the i-MiEV into the mains, it will charge fully in seven hours. This drops to 30 minutes if you have access to a 50kW three-phase supply.
Unsurprisingly, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is no sports car, but over a winding 15-mile cross-country route it proved fun to drive and as able to keep up with the traffic as its petrol sibling.
The instant response from the electric motor and rear-wheel drive combine to provide a level of adjustability in corners that is missing from the i-MiEV's front-wheel-drive turbodiesel competitors.
Despite the 200kg of batteries where the fuel tank used to be (actually mounted 80mm lower), the i-MiEV does not feel bloated, with well-controlled body roll in corners.
The i-MiEV is still useful as a city car, and despite its narrow track - making it perfect for threading through traffic - the tall four-door has space for four occupants. Visibility is excellent, and the rear-mounted motor allows a tight turning circle.
It has decent body control thanks to a low centre of gravity. The Soft springs offer a good ride, and the steering is unexpectedly sharp and responsive.
If you are looking for a zero-emissions four-seat city car, the i-MiEV is one of a small number of options. Fortunately the i-MiEV is a polished, if quirky, performer. Even if you're considering a conventional city car, the i-MiEV is at least worth a look, provided you don't need to travel further than 100 miles at a time. Its just a shame it is priced perilously close to the far larger Nissan Leaf.