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100% Electric Mitsubishi i MiEV Confirmed in 2009 - (Australia)
July 18th, 2008
According to the Herald Sun newspaper, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Managing Director Rob McEniry has announced that a full electric ‘plug-in’ car will be on sale in Australia by the end of 2009 at a price starting from approximately $30,000. Unlike Toyota, Lexus and Honda, who are currently the only manufacturers in Australia selling petrol electric hybrid cars, the Mitsubishi “i MiEV” is a pure electric vehicle, making this announcement an industry surprise.
Mr McEniry was quoted as saying “Mitsubishi don’t make hybrid cars. They make electric cars. And we will have one here as soon as we possibly can. We’ll have the i-Car initially, but it doesn’t go into volume production until next year. How many we get depends on the reaction by some of the key fleets in Australia and governments. We would dearly like to have a number of them here in 2009.”
“Mitsubishi is determined to retain its leadership in electric cars. Mitsubishi is very environmentally focused, and with the products we have, and the products coming, we will be in a position to strengthen our brand” he also stated. Regarding pricing Mr McEniry added “some of the hybrids were very expensive to start with, but that changed as they became more accessible, and this should be the same. Initially, because these vehicles are at the cutting-edge, they will be sold through a lease arrangement. They have them running in Japan with test fleets, such as government departments. That would probably be the way to go here, too.”
Mitsubishi wants to be the first manufacturer to have an all electric car on sale downunder. “I would definitely like to be first. In a similar way to the Lancer Evolution, it demonstrates the leading technologies that Mitsubishi has and the importance of them.”
The i-Car was launched in 2005 initially for the Japanese market and came with a compact 660cc three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mounted in front of the rear axle. The new “i MiEV” variant will use high-energy density lithium-ion batteries with unique in wheel motors to power the front wheels and a single motor in the back. The five door, 4 seat hatchback measures 3395mm in length, that’s almost 50cm shorter than Mitsubishi’s Colt 5dr hatchback. Of note is that the i-Car is only 1475mm wide, significantly 20cm narrower than the Colt, which is almost certainly going to be the narrowest car in Australia when it goes on sale.