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Mitsubishi Oz says it is "fighting like hell" for Japan's i-MiEV electric car

26 Aug 2008

MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited president and CEO Robert McEniry has told GoAuto that he is “fighting like hell” for the i-MiEV electric vehicle to be sold in Australia following a strong reaction from prospective private and corporate customers, including governments.

“I am fighting like hell for it,” Mr McEniry told GoAuto last week. “It is not on the market in Japan yet. They do have a fleet of demos on the road and the president uses one as his company car.

“They are doing that evaluation at the moment and next year they go to volume production and those cars will go into fleets they have already signed up in Japan.

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“Volume will be ramped up later in 2009 and into 2010 – and then they will start going into some of the other markets.

“We are actually getting a lot of interest in that car now – probably thanks to your articles – with governments looking at them. The government interest is not to have a fleet of them but to demonstrate the technology.” Based on Mitsubishi’s ‘i’ mini-car which Mr McEniry has long held the ambition of selling in Australia, the zero-emissions MiEV version – an acronym for Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle – uses a 47kW electric motor powered by a 330-volt lithium-ion battery system housed under the floor.

The company claims the packaging is almost identical to the petrol version, with the added advantage of a lower centre of gravity for better handling.

“It is a fantastic little car,” Mr McEniry said. “It has a range of about 140-160km with a top speed of about 140km/h. In a straight line it is faster than the turbo i-car.” Recharge is seven hours for a complete charge on a plug-in cord and 20 minutes on the fast charge from special high-capacity electric ‘bowsers’ that are currently being installed in Japan.

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