Auto industry First Major Auto Company Has Begun Electric Car Production

Published on June 5th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

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First Major Auto Company Has Begun Electric Car Production


Yes! The Oil Age has officially ended: Autoblog green reports that Mitsubishi has just begun production of the first freeway speed EV from a big auto company.

EV fans have suffered for years through stops and starts in the roll-out of the obvious and necessary vehicle to drive us into our glorious low carbon future: Sure, brave little electric car start-ups like Tesla now deliver gorgeous EV models – to those with unlimited money, and of course there are plenty of 25 mile-an-hour NEVs – for those with unlimited patience.

But most of us have limited time and money: Where is our regular highway speed electric car that can get you all the way to work and back? With more than 3 wheels? Seating more than 2? And with a hood to keep out the rain? So far, it’s been just promises and strange contraptions and showroom vaporware for us.

Our future after the carbon age, was looking grim, indeed… So today, great news…

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Mitsubishi has begun the production of its iMiEV electric car today at its factory in Okayama.

It’s a tough little car. Here’s a great video of a test-drive several years ago of a  prototype iMiEV ascending the steepest mountain range in Japan.

Mitsubishi is the first of the major automakers to kick off full scale production of a new EV and will be followed (in theory) by most other automakers over the next two years. However high gas prices last year and the econo-apocalypse has driven these majors to bankruptcy in the meantime, so we’ll see…

But Mitsubishi will complete the first 2,000 through the remainder of this fiscal year and speed up to 5,000 next year. The iMiEVhas a range of about 100 miles from its lithium ion battery pack. The batteries are produced by a joint venture between Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa.  With the government incentives available in Japan, it will cost about US$31,300 at current exchange rates.

Japanese Government incentives halved the cost of the Prius to its earliest adopters too; they helped Toyota ease the first Prius off the assemblyline with hefty rebates, and we know how that turned out. Seems government can pick winners and losers, despite what our polititians say…

Via Autoblog green


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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • onesojourner

    Great news.

  • onesojourner

    Great news.

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

    Love the way Reuters assumes the iMiEV is just another hybrid – they see hybrids as “rivals” as in this lede:

    Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s electric vehicle is twice as expensive as popular hybrid cars by rivals Toyota and Honda, and they overstate the price too. I trust Autoblog green as the more careful assessment of the price.

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

    Love the way Reuters assumes the iMiEV is just another hybrid – they see hybrids as “rivals” as in this lede:

    Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s electric vehicle is twice as expensive as popular hybrid cars by rivals Toyota and Honda, and they overstate the price too. I trust Autoblog green as the more careful assessment of the price.

  • Emilio Bansil

    With the upcoming EV, it still needs to be plugged in for x-number of minutes, either at home or at charging stations.

    In my opinion or this can be a suggestion in some sort.. instead of stopping at a charging station, an inverter can be installed and plug in the battery charger…

    I use this kind of system as an emergency power supply..

  • Emilio Bansil

    With the upcoming EV, it still needs to be plugged in for x-number of minutes, either at home or at charging stations.

    In my opinion or this can be a suggestion in some sort.. instead of stopping at a charging station, an inverter can be installed and plug in the battery charger…

    I use this kind of system as an emergency power supply..

  • russ

    The price is probably correct in both places – one before incentives/subsidies and one after.

    Neither article mentions the real attraction commercially as being the reduced operating costs for years to come.

  • russ

    The price is probably correct in both places – one before incentives/subsidies and one after.

    Neither article mentions the real attraction commercially as being the reduced operating costs for years to come.

  • Ken Bosar

    With its size and very limited range, I couldn’t take it to my usual business meetings in the neighboring town! I also couldn’t take it to Lowes and bring home my yard supplies. I’d be afraid to drive it home late at night from our country cousins, and what about the range after the battery has been charged a couple hundred times, or when you use lights and air conditioning.

    It’ just ain’t suitable for America!

  • Ken Bosar

    With its size and very limited range, I couldn’t take it to my usual business meetings in the neighboring town! I also couldn’t take it to Lowes and bring home my yard supplies. I’d be afraid to drive it home late at night from our country cousins, and what about the range after the battery has been charged a couple hundred times, or when you use lights and air conditioning.

    It’ just ain’t suitable for America!

  • http://maxhedrm.montebellopark.com/blog/ MaxHedrm

    The price I saw over on TTAC.net “¥4.38 million, or $45,660 according to Automotive News”. But of course that would vary day to day based on exchange rates. And Russ has a point as well, incentives will likely play a role. Like Tesla’s $49,900* Model S. The * leading to some REALLY TINY grey on grey print (it actually shows a lot better here @ home on Safari than @ work on Firefox) about the $7500 tax credit.

    The Model S does look interesting. 2011 is a long time away though. :^(

  • http://maxhedrm.montebellopark.com/blog/ MaxHedrm

    The price I saw over on TTAC.net “¥4.38 million, or $45,660 according to Automotive News”. But of course that would vary day to day based on exchange rates. And Russ has a point as well, incentives will likely play a role. Like Tesla’s $49,900* Model S. The * leading to some REALLY TINY grey on grey print (it actually shows a lot better here @ home on Safari than @ work on Firefox) about the $7500 tax credit.

    The Model S does look interesting. 2011 is a long time away though. :^(

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

    @russ: mea culpa

    “neither mentions the real attraction commercially as being the reduced operating costs for years to come.”

    Yeah, actually, initially I did bring this (rather huge) advantage of EVs up – but then being too lazy to track down the exact dollars you could expect to save by not buying gas, so I just cut the paragraph…

    But, you are correct. A $31,000 EV because it is running on cheap night time electrons is much cheaper to run than a gas car.

    Whether that equates it to a $10,000 car with twenty years of gas purchases, or a $15,000 car and ten years of gas…someone else can do the math.

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

    @russ: mea culpa

    “neither mentions the real attraction commercially as being the reduced operating costs for years to come.”

    Yeah, actually, initially I did bring this (rather huge) advantage of EVs up – but then being too lazy to track down the exact dollars you could expect to save by not buying gas, so I just cut the paragraph…

    But, you are correct. A $31,000 EV because it is running on cheap night time electrons is much cheaper to run than a gas car.

    Whether that equates it to a $10,000 car with twenty years of gas purchases, or a $15,000 car and ten years of gas…someone else can do the math.

  • Pingback: First Major Auto Company Has Begun Electric Car Production : Gas 2.0 | welcome2green.com

  • http://gas2.org don steinke

    If you want to go more than 80 miles, use your other car.

    My round trip commute is 62 miles. This car would be perfect for that.

    Most families have two cars that can hold four people. Most families don’t need two cars that hold this many. We cater too much to young people who think they need to run around a lot.

  • http://gas2.org don steinke

    If you want to go more than 80 miles, use your other car.

    My round trip commute is 62 miles. This car would be perfect for that.

    Most families have two cars that can hold four people. Most families don’t need two cars that hold this many. We cater too much to young people who think they need to run around a lot.

  • Captain Morgan

    “Yes! The Oil Age has officially ended”

    While I appreciate the significance of the first mass-produced EV from a major auto manufacturer, I think I’ll wait to declare victory until there are more choices on the market than a 100-mile electric jelly bean.

  • Captain Morgan

    “Yes! The Oil Age has officially ended”

    While I appreciate the significance of the first mass-produced EV from a major auto manufacturer, I think I’ll wait to declare victory until there are more choices on the market than a 100-mile electric jelly bean.

  • Blogmeire

    Those number are hardly mass production. More like small market test. Oil will be with us for 30 years. Put that away and remember where you heard it.

  • Blogmeire

    Those number are hardly mass production. More like small market test. Oil will be with us for 30 years. Put that away and remember where you heard it.

  • Tim Cleland

    I’m going to wait for the Volt. I don’t like the idea of an

    all electric vehicle unless there is a back up power source.

  • Tim Cleland

    I’m going to wait for the Volt. I don’t like the idea of an

    all electric vehicle unless there is a back up power source.

  • Pingback: CS.no » Mitsubishi starts production of freeway speed EVs

  • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

    I believe it is a full five person car. I think the Volt is a four person car. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong (too lazy to Google it).

    I have always liked the look of this car. I don’t think they plan to sell it in the States next year. Looks a lot like the Blue Car, which will have capacitors:

    http://biodiversivist.blogspot.com/2009/03/outgreening-your-neighbors-competition.html

    “…Seems government can pick winners and losers, despite what our polititians say…”

    Maybe the Japanese government…

  • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

    I believe it is a full five person car. I think the Volt is a four person car. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong (too lazy to Google it).

    I have always liked the look of this car. I don’t think they plan to sell it in the States next year. Looks a lot like the Blue Car, which will have capacitors:

    http://biodiversivist.blogspot.com/2009/03/outgreening-your-neighbors-competition.html

    “…Seems government can pick winners and losers, despite what our polititians say…”

    Maybe the Japanese government…

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