Australian Electric Vehicle sales seem slow

Electric vehicle manufacturers have long earmarked Canberra, Australia as being an electric vehicle hot spot. There’s plenty of people with fairly short commutes, and the city is fairly green-aware – lots of bicycles, farmers markets and the like. But since the Mitsubishi i-Miev came to market in August, Canberrans haven’t been rushing out to buy electric vehicles.

According to a Mitsubishi i-Miev dealer in Canberra, there are only about 10 Mitsubishi i-Mievs driving around the capital city. Since Mitsubishi first put the iMiev electric vehicle on sale in August, it’s sold about 5 per month country wide.

The Mitsubishi i-Miev is the first mass produced electric car available in Australia. With an official range of about 150km in between charges, most of the Mitsubishi i-Mievs in Australia have been purchased by corporate customers. The Mitsubishi i-Miev has a price tag around $50,000, which seems a little steep – even some members of the ACT Electric Vehicle Council board in Australia have stated it’s a very expensive car for what its function is – they also added that prices are expected to come down once battery technology improves.

Even with such a high price and such low sales of the Mitsubishi i-Miev, Mitsubishi’s key account manager Mark Whyte said that if anything, sales of the electric Mitsubishi i-Miev are going better than expected. “There was never any expectation that we would be selling hundreds,” he said.

Competition is set to rev up as Nissan and Renault are due to release electric models to compete with the Mitsubishi i-Miev. Better place is also launching it’s electric vehicle network in Canberra in the second quarter of 2012. Along with recharge points, the Better Place Network will include battery switching stations for vehicles with a swappable battery pack. The Mitsubishi i-Miev battery pack isn’t switchable, so it’s definitely possible that some consumers interested in an electric vehicle will wait for one that is swappable.

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Alan Moeller

By Alan Moeller

EV car evangelist! I read, watch, write, research and chat all things electric cars. Got a lead on a story? Shoot me a message on Facebook.

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