The U.S. EV market will become wider next year with the appearance of the 2012 Mitsubishi "i" electric car, itself wider than those available across international markets.
Early reports suggested the American market wouldn't take well to the original's Japanese kei-car dimensions and relatively low performance and interior quality, so the model arriving on U.S. shores is wider, quicker and better equipped.
Mitsubishi Motors Corportation (MMC) has announced today that the European-spec Mitsubishi "i", revealed at the Paris Motor Show and still known as the i-MiEV to avoid confusion with the gasoline version of the same name, will go on sale in 15 European countries.
Production of the European i-MiEV commenced in October last year, though small numbers have been undergoing trials for over a year now, the British trial having ended last month. 2,500 i-MiEVs have been produced to date.
Thanks to the initial trials the i-MiEV is currently enjoying a high profile in Europe and you're almost as likely to see the electric vehicle as you are the low-volume gasoline version, which uses the same 1-liter engine as the familiar smart fortwo. In addition to the fifteen initial countries the car is to be sold in, Finland, Serbia, Turkey and Slovenia have all also made requests for the car to be sold in their countries. MMC now has plans to ship to these countries in the near future taking the tally to 19.
The European "i" is much more similar to the Japanese-spec version than the altered U.S. spec car, with European space requirements being more pressing than those in the States. As a result, the urban nature of Mitsubishi's jellybean is more likely to be a blessing than a curse.
Check out our Ultimate Reference Guide for a full run-down of AllCarsElectric's Mitsubishi "i" stories.