Click above to view a high-res gallery of the Mitsubishi i MiEV

The long-awaited New Zealand road show featuring the all-electric iMiEV is underway. Mitsubishi kicked off the trial with a gala event on Tuesday, where over 100 people from the government and other "key stakeholders" were invited to Zealandia, a 252-hectare wildlife preserve, to give the zero-emission jellybean a quick drive. The nice thing about Mitsubishi's New Zealand test is that the juice is provided by local utility Meridian Energy, which produces all of its energy from 100 percent renewable power (called "carboNZero" and is made from hydroelectric and wind sources).

Meridian has been pro-electric cars for years, and has its own Electric Vehicle Programme that is "tasked with researching EV technology and implementing strategies to help NZ unlock a more sustainable personal transportation future, using renewable electricity." This is the first time an automaker and a utility have worked together in New Zealand on EVs. The iMiEV will launch in Japan this summer and is currently testing there and in the U.S. and Europe in addition to New Zealand.

[Source: Mitsubishi]


PRESS RELEASE:

Mitsubishi i MiEV rolls into New Zealand

Tokyo, February 12 - As part of a data-gathering campaign aimed at studying the feasibility of its electric vehicle project in markets worldwide, Mitsubishi Motors kicked off the New Zealand trial of the zero-emissions i MiEV*1 electric vehicle along with local partner Meridian Energy at a gala event February 10.

More than 100 government representatives and other key stakeholders were invited to drive the car and discuss its potential for the New Zealand market. Mitsubishi Motors was proud to welcome keynote speaker Hon. Dr. Nick Smith, New Zealand's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

Smith said of the vehicle:
"This is the beginning of an exciting energy revolution as significant as the economic transformation from the steam engine to the internal combustion engine more than a century ago. congratulate and Mitsubishi for their announcement today."

The event was held in the lush surroundings of Zealandia, a 252-hectare wildlife preserve of which Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand is a long-term principal partner.

Announced in October 2006, the i MiEV represents the pinnacle of Mitsubishi Motors' green technologies. Currently involved in testing and promotional activities in Japan, New Zealand, the United States and across Europe, the i MiEV will be launched in Japan during the summer of 2009.

*1 Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle