Yes, Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is to come out with its first zero-emission mini -car. The i-MiEV or the Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle” is run on electricity and not on petroleum and has no engine or a muffler. It runs quietly. The running cost is just one- third of that of a petrol-powered car or less which looks attractive. While it can run 160 kilometers on a fully charged lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged overnight on a domestic power source, right now, it takes 14 hours to fully recharge the battery aagain. Technological breakthrough in lithium-ion batteries is expected as a normal corollary to this project. Though the cost may be prohibitive now at around $47,000 or 4.6 million yen, it may come down with mass production. Mitsubishi Motors plans to sell this green car initially to corporate and government customers in 2010 and then to the general public. The company hopes to offer about 15,000 units to the general public by 2011. There is no carbon emission from this car at all, a sure way to curb global warming, which is the need of the hour. The Japanese government has offered tax concessions to potential buyers.
The present recession in world economy may not be a limiting factor in the success of this car as the emphasis now is on reducing carbon emissions. Efforts are on in Japan to produce fuel cell cars that produce electricity with hydrogen and oxygen with water being the only byproduct with no carbon emissions at all. The emphasis now is on clean cars that run on biofuel or clean diesel as well as electricity.