During 2009, the Mitsubishi i MiEV will become the world’s first truly viable, fully featured, zero drive-time emission, city commuter vehicle to go into volume production and be available for sale in Japan.
Car companies are delivering on the dream of electric vehicles, and it is happening sooner than many people think. The Mitsubishi i MiEV is the first of what will become, in the next five years or so, an avalanche of electric vehicles from all manufacturers.
Commencing in February this year, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is bringing the i MiEV to Australia so key stakeholders and decision makers can experience the reality of an electric car for the first time. The technology is ripe. The product is ready.
Our question to Australia; “Is the nation ready to leverage the environmental benefits of this technology?”
Do we have sufficient sources of renewable energy to re-charge these cars in growing numbers? Do we have the infrastructure in place to enable full utilisation of electric vehicles? Are the incentives in place to encourage the early adoption of this cutting edge technology? These are the sort of issues that need to be addressed now, in order to create the market and the rationale to bring these cars to sale in this country.
Following display of the i MiEV in February at the Melbourne International Motor Show, Mitsubishi Motors will be moving this ground-breaking technology around the capital cities of Australia in a motorcade of public demonstrations, specialist briefings and individual drive experiences for key government officials, fleet managers, environmental opinion leaders and the media. Later in the year we will build on this initial exposure program with a diverse range of longer term trials of the i MiEV in government and private fleets across the nation.
With this i MiEV program, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) will be seeking to prove to key stakeholders the true viability of this cutting-edge technology, and in doing so lay the foundations for the proposed sale of the vehicle in the Australian market.
As one of the company's initiatives for reducing global warming and dependence on fossil fuels, MMC plans to bring the i MiEV electric vehicle to market in Japan in 2009.
i MiEV utilizes a large-capacity lithium-ion battery system and a compact, high-output electric motor in place of the traditional gasoline power train.
MMC is currently working with several electric power companies in Japan in conducting
i MiEV fleet testing programs with a view to making EV technology commercially viable and electric vehicles a common sight on roads as soon as possible. (Japan: Tokyo Electric Power Company, Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd., Chugoku Electric Power Co.,Inc., Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd., Okinawa Electric Power Company, Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc., and the Hokuriku Electric Power Company.)
MMC is also conducting market research and test programs in several countries outside Japan designed to test the viability of the technology in a variety of markets. In Europe, MMC and the government of Iceland are in discussions to start fleet testing sometime in fiscal 2009.
In North America, Mitsubishi Motors and two power companies, one in California, have started fleet testing. In New Zealand the company is working with state-owned electric power company Meridian Energy in a promotional tour directed at gauging local interest in the vehicle. Today, Australia joins the study program.
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