Mitsubishi has been running field tests with its iMiEV electric micro-car in Japan and elsewhere for some time now with an eye toward a market introduction some time in 2009. In addition to the field tests, the company has been drumming up interest for the car in the United States, the UK and Europe in hopes of getting interest from consumers and governments for both infrastructure and purchase incentives. The latest addition to the itinerary is New Zealand where Kiwis will get to check out the lithium ion-powered four-seater thanks to cooperation with local utility Meridian Energy. Unlike most utilities, Meridian also has the claim to fame of being a 100 percent renewable power provider with hydroelectric and wind generation. If there is enough interest in the iMiEV after the February 2009 tour, New Zealand could be high up on the list to get the production version since, like Australia and Japan, it's a right hand drive market and the car would not have to be re-engineered.
Mitsubishi Motors to evaluate zero-emissions i MiEV electric vehicle in New Zealand
- Cooperation planned with 100% sustainable power provider Meridian Energy -
Tokyo, September 16, 2008 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), in cooperation with its New Zealand subsidiary Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand (MMNZ), will show the zero-emissions i MiEV*1 electric vehicle in New Zealand as a preparatory step toward a possible future introduction to the local market and to create greater public awareness of electric vehicles.
The move will be carried out in cooperation with state-owned electric power company Meridian Energy, New Zealand's largest energy provider, which generates 100% of its electric power through renewable resources such as hydroelectric and wind generation.
Mitsubishi Motors and Meridian will launch a promotional tour of the country sometime after February 2009. Representatives from national and local government will be given the chance to drive the car, in order to spur discussions about possible subsidies as well as developments in infrastructure and marketing considerations.
MMC is currently working to bring the i MiEV electric vehicle to market in Japan during 2009. Because vehicles in New Zealand have their steering wheels on the right side of the car, the same as Japan, MMC will consider the country a likely candidate for early introduction of its zero-emissions electric vehicle if market conditions prove favorable.