Mitsubishi's i-MiEV In High Demand In Australia

An initial shipment of 40 of Mitsubishi's new electric vehicle will arrive in Australia later this month, though the company received applications for more than 100 of the cars.

SYDNEY (Kyodo) -- Over 40 Australian companies and government departments have applied for the initial shipment of Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd. said Thursday.

Banks, energy companies, the Department of Environment and Google are among some of the organizations and bodies to receive Australia's first electric car.

"Each of these organizations will receive an i-MiEV electric vehicle for use on their company fleet, with employees and staff amongst the first Australians to experience the ground-breaking zero drive-time emissions technology on a daily basis," the company said in a statement.

An initial shipment of 40 i-MiEVs will arrive in Australia later this month, though the company received applications for more than 100 of the cars.

"With the arrival of the vehicles, MMAL will officially become the first volume-production manufacturer to market electric vehicle technology in this country," Mitsubishi Motors Australia said.

Masahiko Takahashi, MMAL's CEO and president, said in a statement that the company has received an overwhelming response to the Australian launch.

"The proof of Australia's acceptance of the electric vehicle comes down to whether people are ready to purchase the vehicle -- and there is no doubt that they are," Takahashi said. "'We have three times as many applicants as vehicles at this point."

Initially, the company will retain ownership of the car, with organizations and bodies signing a leasing agreement for A$1,740 (around $1,537) per month.

With top speeds of 130 kilometers an hour, the car can be recharged in less than eight hours from a 15 amp power point.

Early studies show that recharging the i-MiEV will cost around A$4 per 100 kilometers, a company spokeswoman told Kyodo News. The car has a quiet electric motor and lithium-ion battery system, and boasts "zero drive time CO2 emissions."

"When you consider that 85 percent of commuters in urban Australian environments travel less than 100 km per day, the i-MiEV represents an excellent solution to reduce our environmental footprint when green-energy is utilized," Takahashi said.

The i-MiEV, or Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle, was first released in Japan last July and has also been trialed in the United States, Europe and New Zealand.

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