16 Sep 2011

NZ seen as important electric car market

3:00 pm on 16 September 2011

Mitsubishi Motors president Osamu Masuko says cheaper battery technology has strengthened the company's commitment to producing electric cars.

Mr Masuko was in Wellington on Thursday to meet Mayor Celia Wade-Brown after the city council added an electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV car to its fleet.

He says Mitsubishi took a considerable risk in manufacturing electric cars when it began making them two years ago.

But they have been coming down in price every year since, he says, and the risk is now longer there.

Mr Masuko says only a handful of i-MiEVs have been sold so far in New Zealand.

However, he believes consumer demand is growing and New Zealand is an important market for electric cars because of New Zealanders' concerns about the environment.

Mr Masuko says Mitsubishi is currently developing a five-seater hybrid that runs on electricity and petrol.