Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Delivers 25 of its i-MiEV New-Generation Electric Vehicles to a UK

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced the delivery of 25 of its i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicles (EV) to a demonstration program for electric and ultra-low-carbon vehicles run by the West Midlands region in the United Kingdom (UK) viathe UK MMC distributor Colt Car Company, Ltd. *1 (CCC). The delivery commenced on December 12th. A delivery ceremony was held in Birmingham with the officials from the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board*2 (TSB), the West Midlands government, CCC, and MMC.

*1 Colt Car Company, Ltd.: A 100% subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation.
*2 Technology Strategy Board: a business-focused organization dedicated to promoting technology-enabled innovation across the UK.

The demonstration program that the i-MiEVs were delivered to will begin this month, led by the TSB, and works with municipalities, electric power companies, automobile makers, among others, in a collaborative effort to promote ultra-low-carbon vehicles. The program puts electric and other ultra-low-carbon vehicles that meet certain standards for CO2 emissions and cruising range into the hands of individuals to actually experience them on the UK’s roads. By doing so, the program aims to ascertain the practicality of these ultra-low-carbon vehicles while promoting the construction of infrastructure for these types of vehicles.

MMC launched its i-MiEV in Japan in July of this year. Looking to move towards full-fledged global distribution in 2010, MMC is currentlyinvolved in global testing and promotional activities.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is the fifth largest automaker in Japan and the fifteenth largest in the world by global unit sales. It is part of the Mitsubishi keiretsu, formerly the biggest industrial group in Japan, and was formed in 1970 from the automotive division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Throughout its history it has courted alliances with foreign partners, a strategy pioneered by their first president Tomio Kubo to encourage expansion, and continued by his successors. A significant stake was sold to Chrysler Corporation in 1971 which it held for 22 years, while DaimlerChrysler was a controlling shareholder between 2000 and 2005. Long term joint manufacturing and technology licencing deals with the Hyundai Motor Company in South Korea and Proton in Malaysia were also forged, while in Europe the company co-owned the largest automobile manufacturing plant in the Netherlands with Volvo for ten years in the 1990s, before taking sole ownership in 2001.

The i MiEV is a zero-emissions vehicle. Even when taking into account CO2 emissions at the power plants that generate the power needed for charging the car, it emits only approximately 30% of the CO2 of a gasoline minicar.

Mitsubishi iMiev electric cars will be launched in 2010 and will be the first car to adopt the technology having its Lithium-Ion batteries recharged to 80 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes. The car will be propped by a 200 x 100 x 80cm fast charger made by Tokyo Electric Power Company. As per reviews, the charger has the capability to fully fill batteries to 80 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes.

With such a convenient option now available, Mitsubishi would look at placing chargers at motorway service areas or car parks in retail zones. It may be noted that the UK Department for Transport has already initiated a plan christened Plugged in Places, and this strategy might well be of help to iMiev too.

The cost per kilometer to drive the i MiEV is one third that of a comparable gasoline vehicle. Depending on the cost of electricity, cost per kilometer can drop as low as one ninth that of gasoline, for example when charged during off-peak or night-time hours.

Strong acceleration is achieved through a compact and highly efficient permanent magnet synchronous motor that generates high torque from a low speed.

Using the on-board charger, the vehicle can be charged with a 100V or 200V power source in the home. In addition, if quick-chargers currently being developed by power companies are used, it will be possible to charge the vehicle in a short time.