Mitsubishi iMiev is $48,800

Australians can now purchase the fully-electric iMiev for a one-off up-front price of $49K.

Despite the hefty pricetag for what essentially is a sub-light hatch with a battery pack and electric motor, the Mitsu is the cheapest of its kind available locally; the next (and only) fully-electric car being the $200K Tesla Roadster.

Although introduced to Oz in 2009, the iMiev hasn’t yet been available to the public – until now only a select few companies have been able to lease the 110 iMievs imported to this country.

However the iMiev is now available to the buying public. Mitsubishi estimates it will cost approximately $4 to fully charge the iMiev’s batteries, via a 15-amp powerpoint taking eight hours, or a fast-charge recharge station that halves that time. For that, drivers get a range of just over 100 kilometres.

The new up-front pricing coincides with an iMiev facelift – it now scores new alloys, dark-tinted headlights, and the keyless start system has been replaced by a regular insert-and-twist key, after several drivers drained the batteries having not realised their silent iMiev was still running.

Although the iMiev’s cost is high, many predict the price of full-electric cars to fall dramatically in the coming years. In 2012, Nissan will launch its fully-electric Tiida-sized Leaf in Australia, for “top of the range Prius and CT200h prices” according to Nissan. That circa-$55K pricetag will no doubt force Mitsubishi to lower the iMiev’s price even further, since the Leaf is far roomier, better equipped, faster and offers a greater range than its fellow Japanese rival.

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.