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Mitsubishi Green Lights i MiEV Electric Car for Global Markets

April 14, 2009

NEW YORK --- Mitsubishi Motors announced plans to develop the pure electric, four-passenger Mitsubishi i MiEV for global markets. 

Mitsubishi Motors North America President and CEO Shinichi Kurihara confirmed the i MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle) is being developed for sale in world markets, including the United States. 

"Electric vehicles are one branch of the automotive landscape, and we are dedicated to providing these technology-sourced solutions as an important path for the world's clean-air options," explained Kurihara, who stood alongside a left hand drive i MiEV during his address to journalists at the New York International Auto Show. "We believe the i MiEV delivers on the promise of sustainability, suitable range, performance, and innovative packaging and styling." 

Kurihara also announced that the state of Oregon and Portland General Electric (PGE) are joining Mitsubishi in the i MiEV partnership program. Details of the programs are being finalized, but the findings from these independent tests will play an important role in further advancing the car's development for the U.S. market. 

"Oregon welcomes the partnership with Mitsubishi as we transition to the next generation in vehicle technology. Together, we can build a consistent and reliable infrastructure so consumers can make the switch seamlessly to electric vehicles," Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski said. "The partnership shows that a state can create opportunity for its commitment to a greener future -- wins for our economy and our environment." 

PGE is rolling out a network of charging stations across its service territory in Oregon. The company currently has more than a dozen charging stations up and running. 

"We are developing a model charging station infrastructure across our service territory to advance the electric vehicle market in Oregon for our customers," said Jim Piro, president and CEO of PGE.

Based on the successful Japanese market "i" car, the electric version replaces the i's conventional gasoline engine, transmission and fuel tank with an advanced lithium-ion battery system, electric motor and onboard charging system. Rear mid-ship architecture allowed Mitsubishi to integrate the new components under the seats, luggage compartment and floor deck. 

The i MiEV's battery pack consists of 22 modules, each one consisting of four cells that can be installed in either a vertical or transverse position under the i MiEV's floor. The i MiEV's onboard charger automatically adapts between a standard 110 outlet -- which takes 12-14 hours -- or half that time on 220. There is also a fast charge connector that allows the battery to reach 80 percent of capacity in just 30 minutes. 

The proprietary lithium-ion batteries are built for automotive applications. The batteries are produced by Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture among GS Yuasa, Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors.

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