Right now, most major manufacturers are desperate to slap a “hybrid” badge on their car’s bottoms. Smart and MINI might be testing their electric vehicles (EV) but Mitsubishi is one of the few auto companies that have been focusing on getting one on your drive as soon as possible.

Mitsubishi has been working on battery-powered cars since the 90s and it’s now launching its first EV. The MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) is an electric version of its spacious 4-seater petrol ‘i’ city car.

Mitsubishi has basically replaced the mid-rear engine of this striking Japan-built car with Lithium-ion batteries, so it feels like you’re driving a regular car.

In fact it actually handles better than the petrol version because the heavy batteries give it a low centre of gravity.

With speeds of up to 140 km/h it’s not scary taking a blast on the motorway, and if you’re crawling through city traffic, the “eco” mode reduces power from 47kw to 18kw.

The most noticeable difference is the silence, mounting to a space-car whiz when you boost towards 100km/h. And of course you have to plug it in – seven hours for a full charge, or to 80 per cent in 30 minutes if you buy a Quick Charger.

The MiEV is cheap to run even if it won’t be cheap to buy. It has a range of up to 160km, the qualities of a mainstream car including dealers to service it and eco-brownie points all packaged up in cool Japanese design.