Mitsubishi Confirms it Will Sell i MiEV in the U.S.

After months of continued hint dropping, Mitsubishi Motors North America President and CEO Shinichi Kurihara officially announced that the mini-compact i MiEV electric vehicle will be sold in a number of international markets, including the United States. Standing beside a left-hand drive version of the diminutive four-passenger i MiEV, Kurihara told reporters at the New York Auto Show that his company was committed to using a variety of technology-sourced solutions to expedite a path to sustainable, zero-emissions designs that match style, performance and range into an innovative package. While offering no formal intro date for the U.S.-spec i MiEV, a 2012 calendar year debut appears likely.

Based on Mitsu's current gasoline-engine "i" mini-car sold in Japan, the i MiEV is fitted with a rear-mounted high-torque electric motor powered by an advanced Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery that gives it a range of 80 miles. An on-board charger allows the battery pack to be replenished in 12-14 hours from a standard 110V outlet or half that time on a 220V line while a dedicated fast-charge connector can pump in an 80 percent recharge in just 30 minutes.

Kurihara also used the press conference to announce a new partnership program with the State of Oregon and Portland General Electric (RGE) aimed at creating a suitable support infrastructure and providing real-world assessments of the vehicle that will help Mitsubishi tailor the final i MiEV design details to best meet the needs of U.S. consumers. In welcoming the opportunity to help with this challenge, Oregon's Governor Ted Kulongoski noted that in addition to over a dozen charging stations currently online in the state, PGE has already begun expanding the network that will support the iMiEV program as well a the needs of other next-generation electric vehicles that will be evaluated there.

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