The production of the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero has been temporarily suspended due to lack of demand for the diminutive, but very expensive, electric cars, according to Japanese business daily, Nikkei.

The two models are actually made by Mitsubishi in Japan, as the i-Miev, and then sold under the badges of the two French companies. A recent price cut of £5,000 to £21,216 does not seem to have helped much, given that the much larger and far more convincing Nissan Leaf is priced at £25,990.

Mitsubishi agreed to supply 100,000 of the cars to PSA Peugeot-Citroen in 2010. Sales of the two models in the UK are currently running at around 100 per year, so that just leaves another 99,900 buyers to find in other European countries – in the middle of the continent's worst recession for 80 years.

The "French" twins are basically the old Mitsubishi i city car converted to run on electric power. The cost of the petrol-engined i used to be £8,800 in 2009. Hence buyers are being asked to pay over £10,000 extra for the battery conversion, even after a £5,000 government grant. That would buy a lot of AA batteries.