For a time, the 2012 Mitsubishi i was the cheapest electric car on sale in the U.S.

When smart announced its third-generation Electric Drive would retail from $25,750 for the coupe model, it made the $29,975 Mitsubishi look a bit expensive. Even if it does have two extra seats.

Now, Town & Country Mitsubishi in Milwaukie, Oregon, is selling the Mitsubishi i at a discounted price, undercutting the smart.

With a discount of $5,075, the 112 MPGe Mitsubishi can now be had for only $24,900.

That's before you take any local and federal incentives into consideration, too. If you're able to benefit from the full $7,500 federal tax credit, then the electric jellybean could start to look a little more tempting.

The 2012 Mitsubishi i remains one of the most efficient electric vehicles on sale, with energy use of 30 kWh per 100 miles translating into 112 MPG-equivalent.

The 2013 smart fortwo Electric drive on the other hand, uses 34 kWh per 100 miles, for a combined figure of 100 MPGe.

Official range of the Mitsubishi is 62 miles in combined EPA testing, or 98 miles in city driving. The smart has no official range estimate yet, but is expected to achieve between 60-75 miles. smart itself claims 87 miles, on the more optimistic European cycle.

Performance is similar for both--the Mitsubishi will reach 60 mph in 11.9 seconds, the smart manages 62 mph in 11.5. The i will manage 81 mph flat-out, the smart is limited to 78 mph after a recent power boost.

So which would you choose? The practical, discounted Mitsubishi, or the funky smart?

(Hat-tip to Brian Henderson)


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