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By DEE-ANN DURBIN
AP Auto Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is testing U.S. reaction
to an all-electric car at this week's New York International Auto
Show.

The four-door iMiEV can run for 80 miles on a full charge.
Mitsubishi plans to begin selling the car in Japan to fleet
customers in mid-2009 and to the general public in 2010, the
company's managing director for product development, Tetsuro
Aikawa, said Tuesday. The car will cost between $25,000 and $30,000
in Japan, or up to $7,000 more than its high-mileage, gas-powered
counterpart, the i minicar.

Aikawa said Mitsubishi will consider bringing the car to the
U.S. or Europe after 2010 if there is enough demand for a small
electric car. The iMiEV is smaller than a subcompact, about the
size of a four-door Smart car.

"I hope such a market will exist," Aikawa said.
The iMiEV takes 14 hours to charge completely on a 110-volt home
outlet, or seven hours to charge on a 220-volt outlet. Japan is
developing quick-charge stations that will allow the car to be
charged in 30 minutes, Aikawa said.

Mitsubishi has been developing the iMiEV since 2005. To build
it, the company put a five-by-three-foot lithium-ion battery under
the front and rear seats of the gas-powered i minicar, which is
already on sale in Japan. The car makes no sound, even when it
starts, but otherwise drives normally. It has no tailpipe
emissions.

Some automakers have expressed concern about the safety of
lithium-ion batteries, which have overheated in cell phones and
laptops. But Aikawa said Mitsubishi is confident in its battery,
which is made by GS Yuasa Corp., the biggest battery maker in
Japan. He said GS Yuasa is already providing lithium-ion batteries
for Boeing 787 jets, among other customers.

The number of iMiEVs produced in Japan will be limited at first
to the number of batteries the company can produce. Aikawa said
Mitsubishi plans to build 2,000 iMiEVs in 2009 and 5,000 the next
year.

The iMiEV puts Mitsubishi squarely in the race to develop a
mass-market electric car. General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor
Corp. are among the other companies developing cars powered by
lithium-ion batteries. GM has said it wants to have its electric
Chevrolet Volt on U.S. roads by 2010.

The New York show opens to the public Friday after two days of
media previews.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APTV 03-18-08 1935EDT
 

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As soon as I read "smaller than a compact, about the size of a four door Smart car" I immediately lost interest. This was my reaction:eek:

I saw a Smart car in the wild over the weekend that thing was so small I bet if belched in it's direction it probably would have blown over. I've seen more cavernous golf carts in my day. No thanks!
 
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