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USA: Electric cars’ arrival in area sparks choices

Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Volt, Leaf won’t initially sell themselves

Robb Brown doesn’t expect to sell truckloads of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV — he’s projecting maybe two a month — but he’s excited to have the plug-in electric on his Central Avenue Strip lot.

“We just felt this is where it’s all going,” Mr. Brown said Wednesday. “The price of gas is going up. It is a limited resource. The technology [for gas alternatives] is there and we wanted to be part of that wave.”

His dealership, Brown Mitsubishi, took shipment of its first demo i-MiEV on Monday. The car has been available in Japan for about eight years. It was first introduced to the U.S. market on the West Coast, and is moving into the Midwest market. Its arrival marks the second all-electric vehicle for sale in the Toledo area. Nissan expanded availability of its all-electric Leaf nationwide on March 1. The Chevrolet Volt is also available here, though with its gas engine, it isn’t a pure electric.

The i-MiEV is about 145 inches long and 62 inches wide — dimensions vary comparable to the subcompact Fiat 500. It’s about two inches narrower, four inches taller, and 20 inches shorter than the compact Honda Fit.

Mitsubishi says the car has a range of 62 miles — less than the Leaf’s 100-mile range, but more than the Volt’s 35-mile range on all electric power. (With its gas engine, Chevy says the Volt has a total range of 375 miles.) The dealership’s sales team figures the car to fit in as a family’s second or third car, used mainly by people with a short commute.
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