Wednesday, 20 August 2008

MMC partners SCE and PG&E for its electric vehicle

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is gearing for testing and evaluation of the new i MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle) electric vehicle.

MMC has signed a letter of intent with Southern California Edison (SCE) to forge a unique collaboration for the vehicle. As a result, the small, four-passenger Mitsubishi i MiEVs will enter SCE’s prototype testing and evaluation programme.

Tohru Hashimoto, corporate general manager of the i MiEV Business Promotion Office of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation said the collaboration will provide a technical feedback on i MiEV vehicle and battery performance, as well as vehicle connection and integration into the electrical system.

MMC is to also partner with Pacific Gas and Electric Co to test its zero-emission electric car for use in the US. The company shared that the joint partnership with PG&E will yield valuable data and a greater appreciation of the practicality of an all-electric vehicle in California.

The i MiEV electric vehicle, which is based on Mitsubishi’s “i” gasoline-powered mini car on sale in Japan, adapts a zero-emissions state-of-the-art electric drivetrain.

For its part, SCE hopes to help Mitsubishi Motors gauge how electric vehicles will most effectively connect to the smart grid of the future and the next generation Edison SmartConnect advanced meters. In addition, the collaboration may explore future requirements for vehicle communication and connection, helping enable new customer values associated with home energy management and control. The collaboration also complements SCE’s existing work on plug-in hybrids and next-generation advanced batteries and their effective connection and control by Edison’s next-generation meters.

According to MMC, the company has been involved in testing of i MiEV has been occurring over the past two years with seven major utility companies in Japan. These programmes have quickened the pace and prompted Mitsubishi Motors to begin selling the electric vehicle in the Japan market. According to, Mitsubishi will begin selling the i-MiEV in Japan starting in August 2009 for between $45,000 and $50,000, not including government incentives of more than $15,000. A non-electric version of the car retails in Japan for about $20,000.

As per the information available, the four-passenger vehicle is smaller than a Toyota Scion xD or Honda Fit, but larger than Mercedes’ Smart car. In the i MiEV vehicle, a durable 330-volt lithium-ion battery system is located under the floor deck and powers a permanent magnet electric motor. The battery, which can be charged in five to seven hours using 220-volt current, gives the i-MiEV a 75-mile range and a top speed of 81 mph.

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