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Pensioners will push electric

Low emission cars, such as the Leaf EV, are expected to attract older buyers.

Just as the ageing Woodstock generation took to the Toyota Prius hybrid, they will also take to EVs, says Nissan regional electric vehicle manager Michael Hayes.

He says their Leaf EV, arriving about this time next year, will mainly attract buyers aged over 50.

"It's the same early adopters who bought hybrids," he says.

"They will predominantly be older empty nesters with good educations, professionals and a household income from $150,000 to $200,000."

He says prices have yet to be finalised, but speculates that the the Leaf will cost "about the same as the top-level Prius or Lexus CT200h".

The Prius i-Tech is listed as $53,500 and the Lexus CT200h from $39,990-$55,990.

However, EV prices are expected to radically drop in the next few years with the Holden Volt arriving next year at around $40,000.

RACQ technical services manager Steve Spalding says elderly drivers are "not overly shocked by the cost" of electric cars.

Electric cars may be initially expensive to buy, but much cheaper to run and their prices are expected to come down as more hit the market, he says.

"They are very interested in the technology," he says after observing aged drivers attending RACQ's Gold 50 member morning teas.

"They like the style and the seating position. They have been overwhelmingly positive about them."

His claims are backed by Mitsubishi Motors Australia head of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher who says EVs are "perfectly suited to the senior driver".

Mitsubishi is the first to introduce a mass-produced electric car to Australia, but it is only available on lease at $1740 a month for three years.

That's $62,640 and the car then goes back to Mitsubishi.

"I know it is really expensive at the moment, but that price will reduce in the coming years, as the economies of scale ramp up," Fletcher says.

"The one-box design of the i-MiEV gives it an extremely spacious interior, with seating for four, plus cargo room.

"Of course, the biggest benefit to owning an i-MiEV is the almost non-existent running costs - and this will be a very important factor for seniors who are trying to live economically."

Spalding says the revolutionary concept of an electric car that requires long charging times and short range will not faze older drivers.

"Drivers over 50 have seen so much change over the years they are used to it and they will be comfortable with the concept of electric vehicles," he says.

"Gen Y will not be the first to pick up electric vehicles."