Easily Distracted

Easily Distracted

I was doing some research earlier today for a book project called Climate Change for the Rest of Us. It’s aimed at those people who sit and fret at dinner parties that they don’t know enough and aren’t doing enough recycling. I had planned to finish writing it last year but I’m easily distracted. Today’s distraction was provided by the Mitsubishi website. I had gone there to get some details of the i-MiEV but thought the Evo X looked more interesting.

It’s a shame. The i-MiEV is a perfectly decent wee car. It looks intriguing, a bit like Smart that’s had a few lessons in practicality and its quoted range of 93 miles is more than enough for it to work as an everyday proposition around town. Robert Llewellyn certainly loved the one he had on loan from Mitsubishi as part of the pilot programme last year. I followed his reports on it in his Fully Charged podcasts. He was so enthusiastic about it I was carried along. I like it more than the Nissan Leaf. It’s smaller, slightly cheaper to buy and has an official range which is only a dozen or so miles shorter than the Nissan.

I don’t like it as much as the Evo X. The FQ-300 would cost more or less the same as the i-MiEV were the tax payer not stumping up five large to each and every early adopter of electric cars. Both the electric car and the petrol-driven insanity ride are conversions. The Mitsubishi i was available for a short period in the UK. It was an unusual choice in comparison with the competition and a little cheap inside. The Evo is a Lancer with all the everyday oily bits taken out and left in a skip and the drivetrain of a rally car put in their place. The service intervals have gone up on the Evo X to 10,000 miles from the rather silly 4,500 miles of earlier generations but that’s still rather short.

I like electric cars. I like what they promise. I don’t like that we as taxpayers are subsidising them quite as much as we are. Most people who want a Leaf or an i-MiEV or its Peugeot or Citroen analogues would buy them without the subsidy. They’ll buy them because they are enthusiasts or ideologues or want the latest fashionable, hot car and electric cars are very hot just now. More people will be able to buy them as the price comes down. The Leaf is over £30,000 before the subsidy. The petrol Mitsubishi i was between a half and a third of the price of the electric i-MiEV and most of the difference is down to the cost of the batteries. Battery manufacturers are ramping up supply in new factories (including one in the North East to supply Nissan when they start building Leafs in Sunderland). Until batteries come down in price, then the cost of electric cars will continue to be prohibitively high.

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