The Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car will cost £33,699 from 2011, when it will be eligible for a £5000 government grant for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Currently, it costs £38,699.
However, even with the grant the price it is still higher than those of many premium models, including the mid-spec BMW 5-series, an entry-level Jaguar XF or the top-spec Lexus IS or Lotus Elise.
Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi Motors UK’s managing director, conceded that the asking price was high, saying, "We are aware that, by their very nature, any new technologies always command a premium, which has been true for anything from plasma televisions to cars.
"Others make price claims and estimations, but we have a real vehicle that is available now and is proven in the real world."
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. Mitsubishi claims a range of 80 miles and top speed of 81mph.
Mitsubishi is keen to highlight the low running costs of the car to potential buyers, including the fact that 12,000 miles' worth of electricity costs just £115, the low servicing costs, the fact it is road tax-free and that it is congestion charge-free and attracts no benefit-in-kind company car tax.
Mitsubishi has also announced a personlisation programme so that buyers of the car can specify any exterior colours they want, and items such as floor mats made from bio-degradable bamboo fibre.