It seems that Nissan isn’t the only automaker suffering from low electric-car sales figures: Mitsubishi is too.

Yesterday, the Japanese automaker announced a temporary halting of shipments of its all-electric i minicar to French automaker Peugeot Citroen.

Slightly smaller than the U.S.-spec 2012 Mitsubishi i, the European version of the four-seat car is available under the Mitsubishi brand as well as rebadged for Peugeot as the iOn and Citroen as the C-Zero. 

One of the first all-electric cars to hit the market, the Mitsubishi i was the highest selling electric car in the world for a brief time. 

But tough competition from better-equipped, larger cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf, 2012 Opel Ampera (Chevrolet Volt) and 2012 Renault Fluence Z.E. -- combined with the volatile Euro --  has meant European sales of all three versions of the tiny electric car have become glacial.

U.S.-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV

U.S.-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV

In fact, in the U.K. during 2011, Peugeot Citroen only managed to sell 171 of the rebadged Mitsubishi i-Mievs.

As a consequence, the automaker decided to offer a massive $11,000 discount on both cars to encourage more car buyers to make the switch to electric. 

In France, Peugeot has gone even further, offering its iOn for a limited time for just €10,900 ($13,453) until the end of August. 

However, it isn’t just Europeans who are slow to buy electric cars. Even in the U.S, automakers like Nissan and Chevrolet are offering low -price lease deals in an attempt to get consumers into plug-in cars

With sales of plug-in hybrids now eclipsing sales of 100 percent electric cars, we think more automakers and dealers will offer “money on the hood” incentives to encourage drivers to buy electric, especially battery-electric vehicles without a gasoline engine backup to alleviate range anxiety.

But will it work? And why are mainstream consumers still reluctant to buy electric cars?

Let us know in the Comments below.


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