- Toby Hagon
- The Age, January 30, 2009
AN ELECTRIC car looks set to go on sale in Australia next year for as little as $30,000.
The top secret plan to sell the Mitsubishi i MiEV, codenamed Project Green Drive, has been in the pipeline almost a year, led by a team mostly in their 20s and 30s.
Officially, Mitsubishi is embarking on a feasibility study for the egg-shaped four-seater that goes on sale in Japan this year, but the company's Australian president and chief executive, Robert McEniry, rates as "very high" the chances of it arriving in local dealerships by 2010.
"We think there's quite a groundswell for a vehicle like this," Mr McEniry says.
"We're fairly confident that demand is there . . . but there's got to be some commerciality behind it. But I think we'll be staggered with the support we'll get and that will probably do it."
Mitsubishi is bringing two i MiEVs - innovative Mitsubishi electric vehicles - to Australia on February 12. One will be for display - starting with next month's Melbourne motor show - and the other will be driven by potential customers, many of which could be governments and companies looking to promote a green image.
"Clearly (this will appeal to) companies and fleets that really have the resolve to reduce their carbon footprint," Mr McEniry says.
"Then I think the public will pick them up in places like Sydney and Melbourne. For city commuting they're ideal."
The i MiEV runs purely on electricity, so emits no carbon dioxide. It has a 47 kilowatt electric motor (about 25 per cent less power than a Toyota Yaris) and can be driven up to 160 kilometres on each charge.
It can be recharged in a regular power point in about eight hours, or just 20 minutes in a dedicated higher voltage outlet.