Japanese automaker Mitsubishi manufactures vehicles at a facility in the central Illinois town of Normal. In fact, the automaker officially confirmed that it will transfer production of its Outlander Sport from Japan to Normal, joining the Galant, Endeavor and Eclipse that currently run down the Illinois site's assembly line.
Aside from manufacturing vehicles in Normal, Mitsubishi has announced that it will supply the Bloomington-Normal communities with 1,000 battery-powered "i"s – a slightly larger version of the i-MiEV – by the end of 2014. The Japanese automaker, along with the Bloomington-Normal Electric Vehicle Task Force, will orchestrate the delivery and deployment of the battery-powered vehicles and charging station manufacturer Eaton Corp. will work with local officials to install a citywide network of chargers by year's end.
The first batch of 300 "i"s should hit dealerships in central Illinois by the end of 2011, with hundreds more scheduled for delivery in subsequent years. Prior to the i's arrival, the city of Normal will lease a pair of Euro-spec i-MiEVs for testing and evaluation purposes. Mitsubishi hopes that its partnership with Bloomington-Normal will "usher in the era of the electric vehicle."
Fri, Feb 04, 2011 - NORMAL, Illinois -
Taking the first major step toward fulfilling its goal of getting 1,000 electric vehicles on local roads by 2014, the Bloomington-Normal Electric Vehicle Task Force joined with Mitsubishi Motors North America on Friday, February 4 to announce Mitsubishi's commitment to make its electric-powered vehicle Mitsubishi "i" a significant part of the local electric vehicle mix. Mitsubishi Motors North America President Shinichi Kurihara announced that the company has committed to supplying 1,000 of its new, fully electric Mitsubishi "i"s to the Bloomington-Normal community by 2014. Local deployment of the Mitsubishi "i" is slated to begin in late 2011, with at least 300 units of the electric vehicle supplied to the community per year.
Governor Pat Quinn also joined with President Kurihara to announce a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Illinois and Mitsubishi. The MOU memorializes the commitment of both parties to maintain a strong, mutually supportive relationship as Mitsubishi continues its role as a critical player in the state's manufacturing base.
To further the Task Force goal of educating the public about EVs, Chairman Jeff Pritts, also the General Manager of the Bloomington-Normal Marriott, unveiled the new "EVTown" logo and website. Currently under construction, the website at www.evtown.org will be fully operational in March 2011. According to Mr. Pritts, "The EVTown website will serve as a one-stop shop for people interested in purchasing an EV. In addition to providing information about EVs, the site will have links to participating EV manufacturers offering online ordering." The Task Force is actively reaching out to several EV manufacturers, attempting to facilitate their partnership in the EVTown initiative.
The formation of the Bloomington-Normal EV Task Force, consisting of various community leaders representing the business, education, government and labor sectors, was announced on January 18, 2011, by Chairman Pritts. Task Force goals include analyzing EV charging infrastructure needs, educating the public about EVs, and working with EV manufacturers to deploy at least 1,000 electric vehicles to Bloomington-Normal by the year 2014. To that end, the Town is working with the Task Force and the Eaton Corporation to implement a charging infrastructure throughout Normal in 2011. Eaton's core business is diversified power management, including electric vehicle charging and its impact on the electric grid.
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for all manufacturing, finance, sales, marketing, research and development operations for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States. MMNA sells coupes, convertibles, sedans, sport utility vehicles, and light trucks through a network of approximately 400 dealers. For more information, contact the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at (888) 560-6672 or visit media.mitsubishicars.com.