Mitsubishi Electric i Draws Crowd In Hawaii

Just days after Mitsubishi fulfilled its very first fleet delivery of its new, all-electric i model to a San Francisco Bay Area car-sharing nonprofit, the company announced that the very first individual customer has taken the keys of the five-seater hatchback.

The lucky customers? Well, Mitsubishi couldn’t have asked for two more willing spokespeople. The first i was delivered to Bryson and Bridget Nishimura of Waipahu, Hawaii, a retired couple who absolutely gushed about their purchase during a ceremony at the state capitol attended by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Mitsubishi execs and a gaggle of reporters including CBS News, according to Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi in Hawaii

image via Mitsubishi

“We purchased the 2012 Mitsubishi i primarily to save on gas – we currently spend about $70 a week on fuel. But it should cost us only around $3 for a full charge of electricity – that’s going to be a great savings for us! Long-term, the Mitsubishi i should save us at least $3,000 a year,” said Bryson Nishimura.

“I think the car is so cute,” Bridget Nishimura added enthusiastically. “Plus, I like that it’s roomy and it’s a hatchback. It’s going to be so good for the earth – we’re both way on board with it.”

In Hawaii, there’s more to just driving an electric vehicle than just reduced operating costs. Hawaii offers people who buy electric cars a $4,500 tax credit. Consumers who take advantage of the state credit and a $7,500 federal tax credit should wind up paying about $16,000 for the car. As an added bonus,  EV drivers on the islands don’t have to pay for parking in metered spots and they are also able drive in carpool lanes on freeways no matter how many passengers are in the car.

Mitsubishi will now begin the i rollout in California, Washington and Oregon, where it is available for test drives at certified Mitsubishi i dealers, and the majority of the U.S. will get the vehicle by summer 2012.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.