Mitsubishi Motors Corporation President Osamu Masuko today confirmed that Mitsubishi is setting a path to an electric future.
"The petrol engine will not be able to compete (with electric cars in the future)," he said in Adelaide yesterday.
And, in a remark certain to have been pointed at the Australian Government, he said that those countries with a high percentage of EVs and PHEVs are supported through incentives for consumers and environmental regulation.
"Also in China, they are bringing in strict regulations (favouring electric cars) for the environment," Mr Masuko said.
Since the introduction of the i-MiEV in 2009, Mitsubishi has invested heavily in EV technology. But its involvement in the development and production of electric vehicles extends over more than four decades.
Now it has committed to a target of 20 percent of its production being EV and PHEV vehicles by 2020. That's just six years off, but its forward model plans reflect that target.
Coming in 2014 is a new Mitsubishi Triton, with a hybrid model planned to later join petrol and diesel variants in the range.
Mr Masuko, and Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, is clearly confident that it's on the right path for both consumers and the environment.
Driving consumer acceptance, according to Mr Masuko, will be the lower price of entry for electric vehicles.
Also driving their acceptance will be an expected seven-fold increase in vehicle range over the next decade (and beyond) with new generation battery technologies.
EV batteries are now one-third cheaper than they were with the introduction of the i-MiEV in 2009. At the same time, and over the same period, the range of vehicles has been extended by a third.
In markets like Japan, such is the acceptance of the technology that Mitsubishi will offer the next-gen ASX in that market with just one drivetrain option: a plug-in hybrid.
While Mr Masuko said that Mitsubishi "saw its future" in clean technologies and environmentally-friendly electric vehicles, it would continue to invest in more efficient petrol and diesel vehicles.
With Toyota's hybrid technologies continuing to make inroads with consumers, and a very capable PHEV Outlander now extending the appeal and practicality of electric vehicles for families, we may be witnessing the widening of the trickle to a stream.
Mr Masuko's electric future might yet be a decade or more distant for Australian consumers, but there is little doubt there are many more companies that share the same views.
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