Plug-in electric cars have been getting quite a lot of press, but their numbers are still low. The main contender in the market for 2012 is the Nissan Leaf, but a smaller, less expensive five-door minicar from Mitsubishi may attract its own following among folks who don't drive particularly long distances and are comfortable in a car about the size of a Mini Cooper.
The new 2012 Mitsubishi 'i' carries a starting price of $29,125 before any incentives, meaning it's $6,000 cheaper than the cheapest Leaf. That means it's the lowest-priced electric car on sale in the U.S. this year.
It's also the most efficient; the EPA has given it an official rating of 112 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent), based on the distance it will travel electrically on the amount of energy contained in 1 gallon of gasoline. As for range, the EPA rates the Mitsubishi i at 62 miles--though like all electrics, that figure can vary significantly with driving style, temperature, and accessories used.