“Staff will undertake an extensive training programme so that there is a very clear understanding of the demands and requirements of electric vehicles for consumers, as well as an awareness of the wider industry issues relating to the EV marketplace,” he says.
“Dealers’ aftersales departments will also comply with compulsory manufacturer training and require specialist tools to enable the service and maintenance of electric vehicles.”
It means Mitsubishi EV Centres will have Mitsubishi i-Miev demonstrator vehicles that will be available for customers to thoroughly test and experience over a prolonged period so they can fully experience what it is like to drive and ‘own’ an electric vehicle in real-life conditions.
Bradley adds that it will make Mitsubishi the largest EV dealer network in the UK providing sales and aftersales coverage.
“The majority of i-Miev sales have been to fleet customers, who tend to be more knowledgeable about new technology than some of our retail customers and more willing to try it,” he says.
“Some fleets can justify some of the extra spend for an electric vehicle because of what having a zero-emission vehicle does for their image. Fleets are going to continue to be important to Mitsubishi with our plans to expand the i-Miev across our entire dealer network.”
For the immediate future, the focus is on the new Outlander and the small car to be launched this year.
But the plug-in hybrid powertrain has significant implications for the replacements for models that Mitsubishi has become renowned for.
The four-wheel drive Outlander plug-in hybrid suggests the technology could be applied to other 4x4s, possibly the ASX and perhaps the next-generation Shogun.
Bradley says 20% of Mitsubishi’s vehicles will be plug-in by 2020, with hybrids in the larger vehicles and pure EVs in smaller models.
Although it’s still a relatively small player for now, tapping into the strong appetite for low-CO2 fuel-efficient vehicles among fleet operators could see Mitsubishi’s position and its reputation strengthen.
Intelligent Motion explained
The ‘Intelligent Motion’ environmental strategy sees the manufacturer combine the use of alternative fuels, such as electric and plug-in hybrids, with improvements to conventional vehicles.
For petrol and diesel cars, Mitsubishi has adopted high-efficiency alternators and revised gear ratios and valve timing, as well as improved aerodynamics, reduced rolling resistance tyres, start-stop and regenerative braking in their greenest models.
Intelligent Motion technology has so far been applied to Colt, ASX and Outlander.