back to article Mitsubishi eyes Middle Earth for 'early' electric car roll-out

Mitsubishi's auto division is to demo its "zero-emission" electric car in New Zealand in a bid to see if the country's ready for 'leccy motoring. The i MiEV - it stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle - will be shown off in Middle Earth next year. The timetable's a little vague: "sometime after February 2009", …

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Unhappy

Let me guess...

...it weighs around a tonne, does 100mph and prices start from £11,000? Car makers just don't get it: why don't they just make a simple, lightweight electric vehicle with a top speed of 40mph, maybe based on one of the French 'sans permis'? Mass production should be able to get it down to around £4000.

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Unhappy

Hmmm....

Isn't that a Toyota Aygo???

Why on gods green earth (no pun intended) do all electric cars look like a pigs arse?

I'd love an electric, no chance of buying one until they look 'normal' though. Only decent 'lecky car about is the lightning, shame it costs more than than my house.

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Thumb Up

Finally

Finally, an electrical vehicle that is designed to comply with proper safety regs and does not try to sneak through various EU-specific loopholes introduced by French to keep Ligier and its bretheren afloat.

Pity it does not have a solar roof. I guess that the ones that do not cater for Big Oil definitely cater to Big Power.

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Happy

About time too...

I'm sick of the car companies pushing out 'hybrid' cars that are, in effect, a normal car with batteries and motors added on. So you still have the cost, complexity and weight of a large four-stroke engine which just incidentally happens to need much more garage maintenance than a pure electric powertrain ever will.

In my book a Hybrid car simply needs to be one that can charge itself - and you can achieve that with a small generator - say an optimised version of the portable generators already available.

All the designers have to do is ensure that the power output of the generator exceeds the maximum power consumption of the powertrain - or if that is unfeasibly high, limit the car's available power to something slightly less than the generator can produce if the batteries are getting low.

You'd only need a small petrol tank - say two or three gallons at most - to supply the generator and we could still have the option of charging from the grid when the car is at home or in a charging-friendly environment.

Trouble is the mainstream car manufacturers have too much invested in both the use of hydrocarbon based power trains, and the servicing and spares that our complex engines require.

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Rob
Coat

Had to be said

So nothing to do with Hobbits and Orcs testing this vechicle out then?

(Yup mine's the one with plate mail on it and a sword in the pocket)

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Ash
Joke

Middle Earth?

They're releasing it in Edgebaston?!

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RE: Let me guess...

There is a cheap 40mph electric only car available - http://www.nicecarcompany.co.uk/my-car.html

shame it looks like a dogs dinner though!

I'll wait for a Tesla for my 1p/mile motoring. It'll probably take a few years to save up the stupid £92,000 price tag though. The Yanks get it for only $108,000 (today's exchange rate makes it £60,000) - and its built in the UK by Lotus!!!

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Paris Hilton

Clever

Releasing a 'leccy car at the start of a bitterly cold winter (remember 'down under' their summer is out winter). Techincally it'll be autumn ('fall' for the USA readers) but by the time it's generally available you'll be needing the 4x4 version with snow chains. When summer does arrive, the flies and other bugs that hit the windscreen will double it's weight. In NZ, the petrol pump attendants give a free windscreen/headlights/grill wash'n'go - now whose going to clean the gunk off the car?

Paris likes 'leccy toys I hear (buzzzzzzzzzzzz)

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Gold badge

@Neil Hoskins

They do, it's called a G-Wiz and it sells like gold-effect plated dogshit (in comparison to sales of more conventional vehicles) which is probably why nobody else bothers.

It also makes a pig's arse look rather attractive by comparison.

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Paris Hilton

FAO Neil "I'm not on this planet" Hoskins

I have a Family.. My In-laws live in Lincolnshire, and MY parents live in Bedfordshire. I live and work in Wiltshire.

Yeah lets have a 40MPH Car.. that'll mean that I can spend all week driving to see them, and then all week driving back again.. as it is at 70MPH, it's take the betther part of 4 hours to get to Lincolnshire

I also have a kid, and a lot of stuff to take everytime we go out as a family... I don't want to have to spent 5 hours in the car just to get to somewhere that could be reached in 3 hours. Also Battery cars have to be big family saloon cars with bootspace, and proper seats with aricon, and CD Players... not these cheap little POS they are churning out ATM. Otherwise no-one will be them apart from sniff your own farts types, who are hollier than thou.

I want a Family Saloon car that does 115 MPH, goes the same distance as my current car on 1 charge, and is copfy has room for the family in comparft and is fun to drive... Christ on a stick... Why do you have to be pushed into the realms of "Small and slow is better" .... no Big and Fast is better.... Big, fast and clean is even better than that.

I WILL NOT be buying a Battery car, until a See one that meets mine and my families needs. Otherwise what is the point!?!

Paris: well she has needs too, and people jump over themselves to forfil her needs... don't they??

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Go

@Steven

What about the Tesla Roadster? There was also an electric version of the MEV R2 kit-car (Google "LiFeBatt"- it's the orange one) at the Stoneleigh kit-car show this year. Or the Wrightspeed X1, which is a 'leccy Aerial Atom.

All rather nice looking vehicles. But yeah, most of them look like crap.

The big problem wtih 'leccy cars is energy storage- at the moment you can only really get 2 out of 3 from decent range, decent performance and decent cost. The electric R2 conversion, for example- over 100mph top speed, about 5 second 0-60 IIRC and a range of... 35 miles. Perfect for commuting, I guess. It'd make great sense if the trains were any good in the UK for getting around the country.

Anyway, they should have called it the Aygo On Batteries.

"GO" because they can. Just no very far...

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Unhappy

£4,000 40mph 40mile range cars ...

For my daily commute to work (along the A10) a 40mph car would cause the same sort of traffic chaos and annoyance as the tractors that occasionally join that route do ... so I'd have to drive slower *and* take a longer route to work ... *and* I'd still want to have a car that could get me down to London and shift my guitars and amps around etc. so I'd end up having to have two cars (all those people who go on about "oh just rent one when you need it" haven't faced the hassle of hiring, collecting and returning a car when you live a distance from a hire company and they don't open late Friday evening or late Sunday evening for collection/return ...

... but if I were living in the centre of London then a 40mph 40mile range car would be great, aside from traffic jams and parking, so I might as well use the great public transport (insert your view of TfL here!) except for late night carousing :-)

It's a great idea that sadly doesn't meet *my* use cases :-( ... an 80mph car with 100mile range, decent acceleration and good luggage carrying capability (including uphill for those bits of the M40/M4 that really need it, e.g. coming into town before High Wycombe/Princes Risborough) would be fantastic and I'd be happy to spend £4,000 on such a car ... but they won't be £4,000 for a few years yet ... and in the meantime I can't afford to buy a car with really cheap running costs (and battery life comes in here somewhere as well I believe!)

I'm all in favour of the technology, I just wish it would get here sooner

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Paris Hilton

Tesla Roadster... WTF???

Again.. great if your a single women or Male Hairdresser... not much good for the Family....

They just need to make a decent family type car. It's can't be that hard....

I mean we got to the moon on less computing power than a Pocket calculator, yet we can't make a decent size family car that runs on Batteries...

PS. Trains are awful.... Lets face it. Ok for the daily commute shite for anything else.

The bootful of our Car when we go on long road-trips is as follows:

Highchair, Pushchair, Toys (both for the journey, and for my son to play with when he gets there) Baby food, Nappies, clothes 2x Cases of some description, camera, and bady carrying rucksack thing.

You try getting all that on a First late Western Train, then off again onto the tube, to get around London, then back on again the Silverlink Line, or the Kings cross line... common' don't be so daft and get your head out of your ass.

Paris: Becuase she runs on batteries too you know!

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Stop

@various

@Andy: £9000 starting price? I don't think so. And I don't care what it looks like: it's a means of transport, not a fashion accessory.

@TeeCee: G-Wizz starting price is around £10,000. Still far too much for what you get, which is probably why they don't sell too well. And I still don't care what it looks like: it's a means of transport, not a fucking fashion accessory.

@Matthew: Nice rant, but I was thinking more in terms of a second car for town/city use. An electric private vehicle for those sort of distances is still a long way off. I wouldn't hold your breath.

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@ Matthew Terrell

'They just need to make a decent family type car. It's can't be that hard....'

You'll be wanting the Chevvy Volt then - a plug-in hybrid which if you're a regular commuter will let you spend most of your time tootling around on electric power, but gives you the extended range and performance of a small (1.4l) petrol engine. When you get home, plug it in to the household supply and recharge it overnight.

Due Yankside late 2010; likely to be built in Europe by Vauxhall or Opel the year after.

http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt

Looks horrible (like almost all American cars) though.

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Happy

@Neil Hoskins....

Whew, when I saw "French 'sans permis' ", I read it as French sans penis; which would be substantially different and I'm sure get a lot worse mileage.

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Unhappy

WTF?!?!?!

What is it about the Japanese and buttugly micro cars? Do they not know how to design on their own rather than poorly copy the ugly Mercedes A series only to mess it up? The classicc Mini (not the fake modern one) was the quintessential micro car.

@Mike Richards. At least the Volt looks like a car rather than a mutant jellybean on toy car wheels. The front of the Volt looks OK although could do with a small amount of restyling. But the back end of it ceretainly does need to be fixed. What is it with Yanks and fat asses.

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0

All for leccy, but...

I'm all for clean green (apart from the copious amounts of oil used to grease it) leccy cars but why can't they build good looking ones? They always look girly and soft. Make it look like a man's car, maybe men will buy them.

Also, get that torque sorted. If I can't tow that one ton of gravel home to line my driveway I don't want it.

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Coat

Clever?

"Releasing a 'leccy car at the start of a bitterly cold winter (remember 'down under' their summer is out winter). Techincally it'll be autumn ('fall' for the USA readers) but by the time it's generally available you'll be needing the 4x4 version with snow chains"

Er, two points: one is that they already have a couple of these cars running around Auckland; which makes sense, as these cars are more at home doing coffee runs around city CBD than a Hilux replacement on the farm. While it rains here more than enough, chances of needing snow chains in northern New Zealand is about 0%.

Secondly, NZ does get snow as well as weather hot enough to melt the odd plastic car, so given that they are beta testing the car, it makes sense to have some running around a country with the odd mountain and a bit of snow & ice. Wouldn't want to release them on mass in Europe & find the battery dies after a bit of ice.

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Alien

@AC - maybe you need to visit NZ sometime

"Techincally it'll be autumn ('fall' for the USA readers) but by the time it's generally available you'll be needing the 4x4 version with snow chains. "

Erm, what about the fact that it mostly only snows in high altitude regions or to sea level in the far south of the South Island, where you can pretty much see Antarctica? I think contending with the rain will be more of a hassle in winter.

"When summer does arrive, the flies and other bugs that hit the windscreen will double it's weight. In NZ, the petrol pump attendants give a free windscreen/headlights/grill wash'n'go - now whose going to clean the gunk off the car?"

Whereabouts? In fairy land (not Middle Earth)? I've been driving in NZ for over 20 years, and not once have I seen one of these "petrol pump attendants" of which you speak, much less one who actually gives something a *wash*. I have vague memories of getting your windscreen done if you "filled 'er up" in the 70s....?

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Coat

Zero Emissions?

Am I the only person who thinks that companies selling electric cars as 'Zero Emission' is frankly lying through their teeth? For me, and I appreciate I may be misinterpreting this, the phrase zero emission suggests that in running the car, you (that is to say the car, I doubt car manufacturers can be held responsible for your beer / curry session the night before) produce no harmful emissions, which , lets face it, simply isn't true. Ok, so nothing is produced at the point of use, but if we all switched to electric cars tomorrow, we'd need huge quantities of electricity to be produced, which means more sources of generation.

So what are the options here? Well, the NIMBYs have vetoed nuclear power which produces very few emissions, the odd accident aside, renewables are not yet reliable enough and the whole country would be covered in wind farms, again which the NIMBYs would veto anyway, so looks like we're back to good old gas and coal, which are hardly good for the environment, and will result in Russia basically owning the UK.

Mark my words, the electric car will be the death of us all.

Mines the one with the unread copy of "How to Make Friends and Influence People" in...

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Thumb Up

Petrol prices

Petrol's now about the same price in Iceland as it is in the UK - the Lonely Planet must be a little out of date.

Looking forward to this car and those that follow it. Praying to the great FSM for better battery tech.

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