All of Mitsubishi Motors franchised dealers in the U.K. will serve as fully functioning Mitsubishi Electric Vehicle Centres beginning in January 2012. When March 2012 ends, Mitsubishi’s approved dealerships should already have two fully trained EV sales personnel and aftersales technicians. Mitsubishi Motors is also excited about the arrival within the next 18 months of its first plug-in hybrid technologies in the UK.
Mitsubishi Motors is the first manufacturer ever to implement the mass production of an electric vehicle. Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi Motors in the UK’s Managing Director, confirmed the company’s aim to continue to promote and launch the EV and plug-in hybrid technology in the UK.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV demonstrator vehicles will be displayed at all Mitsubishi EV Centres where potential consumers could test the vehicle for a longer time so that they could discover how it feels to drive and ‘own’ an electric vehicle in real-life conditions. What this means is that Mitsubishi is the biggest EV dealer network in the UK that offers sales and after-sales coverage.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation revealed that for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which is its next generation EV project, it has chosen the pioneering A-Segment "i" to serve as the platform. With this, it is expected that it will be able to fully utilize the mid-ship architecture.
The "i" was initially shown as a concept car during the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show after which it was officially launched three years later, in January 2006, in Japan. It was well-received by both customers and the media and garnered a number of awards. Months later, in October 2006, the company revealed the “i MiEV”, the non-hyphened version, as an EV research vehicle.
Powering it was a lightweight and compact motor containing lithium-ion high-density batteries. This vehicle was the result of the company’s research into electric powertrains going as far back as 40 years. Almost three years later, the development was almost finished. Once testing totalling 500,000 km was done, it was released to fleet customers as the "i-MiEV" by July 2009 in Japan.
It was then offered to private customers with deliveries starting in April 2010. While production is slated to start in October at its facility in Mizushima, the next commercial is actually scheduled to be in Paris today.
Depending on the country, deliveries to customers in Europe will commence starting December 2010 in 14 selected markets. The Europe version, which will have both right-hand and left-hand drive, will be officially shown during the 2010 Paris Motor Show. As a background, Mitsubishi started the development of electric vehicles, and later its production, in October 1966.
It was during this time that it was then known as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., and was contracted by the Tokyo Electric Power Company to make prototype versions of electric vehicles and then perform a series of tests with the improved battery technology.
After that the EV program was launched and followed by a number of similar programs, all of which set the groundwork for what was to become the “i-MiEV” production car. The name Mitsubishi Motors Corporation was a result of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. spinning off its automobile division in 1970.