By David F. Rooney
You could almost see the wheels turning in Mayor David Raven’s head as took a new Mitsubishi i-MiEV pure-electric car for a spin on city streets Wednesday.
“I could see getting one of these for the building inspectors,” he mused, adding — somewhat wistfully — “if only we had the money in the budget…”
Well, at $30,000 to $40,000 a unit that might be possible some day, if not right away, as the City moves towards a greener, cleaner fleet of municipal vehicles.
The i-MiEV, which stands for Intelligent Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle, is an all-electric, charge-at-home/office commuter car. Fifty of the surprisingly spacious vehicles are being tested by Hydro Quebec in the City of Boucherville and BC Hydro is acquiring two of the cars to highlight green energy-efficient options.
Andrew Bardwell, a member of the Mitsubishi team that has been driving the vehicle from Canada’s eastern-most point at Cape Spears, Nfld., to Victoria, said the i-MiEV has a range of 120 km between charge-ups to its lithium batteries, which can take as few as 21 minutes.
“It handles remarkably well and we had no problems in the mountains or Rogers Pass,” he said.
Of course, there wasn’t any snow in the pass and while this vehicle “is really a city vehicle,” you can get snow tires for it, Bardwell said.
The vehicle will also be one of the stars at the annual EV 2010 VÉ Conference and Trade Show on Sept. 13.
So are electric cars like this one really the shape of things to come, vehicle-wise?
Dave Cobb, BC Hydro’s president and CEO thinks so.
“Electric vehicles are coming and they have the potential to revolutionize the transportation industry while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said in a statement.
“We are particularly interested in highlighting clean energy options – like electric vehicles – that we know are of great interest to our customers and their desire to use energy efficiently. We are working with industry partners and auto manufacturers to increase awareness of these cars in B.C. and help our customers see how they operate in real-world conditions. It’s exciting to showcase the Mitsubishi i-MiEV in B.C. through this tour and we wish them success as they continue to be innovative in clean transportation options.”