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Electric cars

Mitsubishi to launch electric car in the United States in 2008

Monday, October 30, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: electric cars, clean energy, health news


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(NewsTarget) While many automakers are trying to reduce dependence on fossil fuels by producing gasoline-electric hybrids, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is instead turning to the electric car, but recently announced it has dropped plans to make four in-wheel motors for the vehicle.

Instead, Mitsubishi will use a single electric motor to power the rear wheels of the vehicle, which based on the same body as its "i minicar." The single motor means that the vehicle will be cheaper and require fewer modifications, such as reinforcing the rear chassis to support the weight of the motor and its batteries.

Mitsubishi is set to begin research on the electric-powered minicar next month, with the assistance of three Japanese electric companies. The test cars can travel roughly 80 miles per charge, but Mitsubishi predicts they will be able to travel 100 miles on a charge by fall of 2007, when test fleets will be given to five electric utility companies to examine performance in real-world conditions.

The current test cars obtain 16 kilowatt-hours of energy from their 330-volt lithium-ion batteries, but those should also be improved by the time the test fleets are delivered, estimated to then deliver about 20 kilowatt-hours. The car emits about a quarter of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than a comparably sized gasoline-driven vehicle, and about half of what a hybrid vehicle produces.

For more information about electric cars and their shaky history, watch the DVD "Who Killed the Electric Car?" from Sony Pictures Classics.

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