May 21, 2010

Mitsubishi Unveils New Electric Car In Hong Kong

As competition speeds up in the clean-energy auto industry, many car makers are rushing to launch greener vehicles, including Japan's Mitsubishi Motors, which unveiled its new I-MiEV in Hong Kong on Thursday.

The compact electric car will go on sale for the equivalent of 50,000 US dollars. The company aims to sell 50 of the high tech vehicles by the end of the year, as it reaches out to a bigger market.

Mitsubishi has been testing its fleet in other countries around the world and "plans to launch left-hand drive I-MiEVs in Europe from the end of this year," it said in a statement.

The market for electric cars has seen a slow growth because of doubts about the vehicles' performance, higher costs and the absence of re-charging stations. But breakthroughs in the development of long-lasting lithium-ion batteries have brought prices down, also increasing their speed and how far they can travel.

Nearly 1,400 I-MiEV vehicles were sold to Japanese municipalities and companies last year, with sales to individual consumers beginning last month, Mitsubishi said.

EU Auto Technology, the maker of the electric MyCar, which was the first car of its kind to appear on Hong Kong streets, said it plans to sell the automobile in the United States beginning next year.

Japanese car maker, Nissan, announced this week that its electric car, called Leaf, would be sold in Europe for under 37,000 US dollars. And luxury carmaker BMW said it planned to launch its first electric urban vehicle in 2013, two years earlier than initially planned.

Volkswagen and Daimler also have versions of clean-energy cars in the works.


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