By 2010, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. are expected to start production of a compact electric vehicle at the French company's plant in Spain, according to a report from Japan's Nikkei business daily that cited unnamed sources.
This vehicle is intended for the European market. The output will start with a few thousand units a year but this will eventually go up to as high as 30,000-50,000 vehicles.
However, Mitsubishi Motors denies this report and released a statement that it doesn’t plan on entering a joint production of electric vehicles with PSA. In addition, the report said that the two carmakers will target postal firms, freight companies and government ministries.
The vehicle is likely to sell for lower than 20,000 euros ($25,750) after government subsidies. The Nikkei report also said that the car will be produced at the French company's plant in the northwestern Spanish town of Vigo on a dedicated production line using Mitsubishi's technology stemming from the development of its i-MiEV passenger electric cars.
Currently, Mitsubishi Motors has a broad-based alliance with PSA that covers a deal for the Japanese firm to supply electric cars under these two French brands.
Spanish Economy Minister Elena Salgado revealed last week that Spain is engaging in talks with Mitsubishi Corp. over constructing a factory for electric car batteries in Vigo, PSA's largest production site when it comes to volume.
Spanish newspapers reported that the 400 million euro plant has the potential to create about 1,500 jobs. Mitsubishi Corp and affiliate Mitsubishi Motors have a joint venture with Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa Corp. to supply lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. This venture, Lithium Energy Japan, is 51% owned by GS Yuasa. [via autonews - sub. required]