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Mitsubishi and Meridian launch electric car trial

Media Release: 10 February 2009

Mitsubishi and Meridian launch electric car trial

Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand and Meridian Energy today launched a trial of the first mass produced new generation electric vehicle to come to New Zealand - the revolutionary Mitsubishi iMiEV.

Mitsubishi New Zealand chief executive John Leighton says Meridian is an ideal partner for the iMiEV project because the power company produces renewable energy and has a strong focus and commitment to sustainability.

“The iMiEV is a whole new way of thinking about transportation. It’s a new and exciting car that challenges convention, and embodies the latest developments in technological innovation. The high-power, low-noise electric engine, delivers a drive unlike any vehicle on New Zealand roads.”

The iMiEV is a four-door hatchback with a maximum speed of 130 km/h and a driving range of up to 160 kilometres.

Its fuel costs are one-third the price of a petrol vehicle.

This is the first joint venture in New Zealand between an automotive company and an electricity company.
Meridian chief executive Tim Lusk says the project is a rare opportunity for a renewable electricity company and a producer of electrically-powered vehicles to work together to showcase a new era of clean, and environmentally-responsible personal transport.

“With the growing awareness of both the economic and environmental cost of burning fossil fuels the search for viable transport alternatives has taken on a new urgency world-wide. Our goal in this evaluation project is to get New Zealanders excited about electric vehicles, so that we are one of the first countries to adopt them once they go into mass production.

“With so much of our electricity produced from renewable sources, electric vehicles offer New Zealand a real opportunity to reduce harmful emissions and make a real contribution to a cleaner, healthier environment.

“Together with Mitsubishi we have secured these two prototypes of the iMiEV, some of the first available outside of Japan, and as a result New Zealanders have an opportunity to get a sneak preview.”
The iMiEV evaluation programme runs until late March and will involve demonstrations around the country.


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