Electric car given green light in Australia
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April 08, 2009 12:00pm
THE Federal Government has given an electric car the green light to drive on Australian roads.
The Mitsubishi i MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) was designed and produced in Japan, and can be driven 160km at speeds of up to 130km/h when fully charged.
Unlike hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, which run on a combination of fuel and battery power, the MiEV is an all-electric car which can be charged from a household electricity supply.
The MiEV is the first such car to receive federal registration approval after passing 83 safety requirements.
Subaru and Toyota are also eyeing the Australian market, Toyota with its all-electric FT-EV, which is not expected to be on sale here for at least another three years.
The Subaru Stella is a better chance to reach these shores earlier, but it is likely to carry a prohibitive $100,000 price tag.
While Mitsubishi have so far refused to put a price on the MiEV, it is expected to be around the $30,000 mark.
Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the MiEV's all-electric design brought Australia a step closer to emissions-free driving and the design was a win for the challenges of climate change.
"If powered by 100 per cent green energy (the car) would result in no emissions,'' Mr Albanese said.
He admitted there was no infrastructure for electric car drivers at service stations to recharge.
Because of longer distances, the current model is unsuitable for country dwellers, and would be targeted towards city commuters.
"Given that 85 per cent of Australians drive less than 100km a day, this vehicle would suit the lifestyles of most in our community,'' Mr Albanese said.
"Australia is the most urbanised country on earth - most of our citizens live in our cities around the coast.
"In terms of dealing with issues of reducing carbon pollution ... but also the effect of smog in our cities, the effect of noise pollution, all of those are advantaged by this vehicle.''
While the initial cost of the car might seem high, long-term savings could be made without petrol bills.
"The Government has not been asked to provide incentives - this is a commercial operation by Mitsubishi,'' he said.
Mitsubishi in Japan will enter large-scale production in June for the domestic market, but approval to sell the car in Australia has yet to be granted.