Mitsubishi and Isuzu join forces to create new electric vehicle

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

SIM-Drive Corp., a Japanese startup firm, will collaborate with 34 partner companies to develop a prototype electric vehicle and popularize its technology by sharing its engineering. Included in this list of companies are Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., a pioneer in electric vehicles.

Founded in September by CEO Hiroshi Shimizu, SIM-Drive Corp. aims to leverage the know-how of automakers, suppliers and trading companies to jointly create the electric vehicle by next year and bring it into mass production by 2013.

The 34 companies, which were announced on Jan. 22, include Sanden Corp., Pioneer Corp., Teikoku Piston Ring Co., THK Corp., Tokyo Electric Power Co., Mitsui & Co. and Iriso Electronics Co.

Each company contributes ¥20 million (about $221,000) and will appoint one engineer to help in the development of the prototype vehicle. What these companies gain is the right to adopt any technology that has been developed.

SIM-Drive intends to make money by licensing the technology to third parties. The group is targeting an electric car that is able to travel 190 miles on a single battery charge (about double the performance of today's electric vehicles).

This electric car would also have to be cost-competitive with cars that run on gasoline. Mitsubishi's four-seat i-MiEV electric is set to arrive in the US in mid-2011.

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