The Republic of Estonia kicked off its drive to lead the world in plug-in vehicles (on a per capita basis, anyway) by inking a deal that had Mitsubishi ship 507 i-MiEVs over to the northern European state in exchange for ten million CO2 credits. In addition, Estonia would install approximately 50 quick-charge stations, allowing the i-MiEV and most other battery-powered rides to be charged to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes or less. There's just one problem: people don't want the i-MiEV.

Out of the 507 zero-emissions i-MiEVs in Estonia, only 336 were claimed by municipal workers. The application round to secure one of the government's i-MiEVs ended September 3, but low interest means that 171 of the electric hatchbacks remain unclaimed. Merle Ploompuu, project manager at Estonia's Ministry of Social Affairs, says municipalities doubt the vehicle's ability to function in harsh winter conditions.

So, next spring, Estonia will hold another application round to try and get the remaining i-MiEVs into driver's hands. Perhaps with the spring thaw, municipalities will be more willing to try out the pint-sized electric.

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