Maui News

Hawaii Couple First to Receive Mitsubishi 100% Electric Vehicle

December 12, 2011, 5:12 PM HST
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Mitsubishi Motors makes first customer delivery of 2012 Mitsubishi i EV to Hawaii couple. Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.

By Sonia Isotov

A Hawaii couple took delivery today of the first Mitsubishi Motor’s 100% electric vehicle made especially for North America.

At the state capitol today, Bryson and Bridget Nishimura of Waipahu were presented with the keys to their new car, the 2012 Mitsubishi “i”, by Governor Neil Abercrombie. The Governor, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA), and Cutter Mitsubishi of Aiea hosted the ceremony.

The ceremony was the culmination of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that Governor Abercrombie and MMNA President and CEO Yoichi Yokozawa signed on June 3, 2011 to formalize cooperation on statewide electric vehicle (EV) and EV infrastructure development and deployment.

“With the cost of gas still on the rise, these vehicles offer our consumers an option that will be cost-effective in the long run, and at the same time allows our state to reach its energy independence goals,” Governor Neil Abercrombie stated in a written statement.  “In Hawaii, our climate and energy priorities make us best suited for these types of vehicles.”

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As part of the agreement with MMNA, the State of Hawaii agreed to work towards improving its existing infrastructure in preparation for widespread conversion to EVs like the Japanese manufacturer’s all-electric Mitsubishi i.

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The state also agreed that it would pursue and implement strategies to support consumer incentives that aid in the purchase of EVs, and foster an ecosystem that includes deployment, marketing, promotion and sales of the vehicles.

“The State of Hawaii is definitely one of the leaders in North America when it comes to the acceptance of vehicles that are 100% electric,” stated MMNA Executive Vice President Masatoshi Hasegawa, also in the written statement.

“The state has taken its agreement with our company very seriously, and has made great strides in preparing its infrastructure so that businesses and consumers can enjoy these vehicles on a grand scale.”

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Delivery of the first Mitsubishi i to a customer in Hawaii fulfills part of the company’s commitment to the state.  Moving forward, Mitsubishi Motors will continue providing information and recommendations on strategies to support EV ownership in Hawaii, including standards for EV charging infrastructure.

“This day marks a significant milestone in our effort to attract emerging businesses and business models related to EV development and deployment,” said Richard Lim, Director, State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

“As electric vehicles become more mainstream, so will technologies that accompany them, including those that aid in the storage of energy generated through renewable sources such as wind turbines, bioenergy or solar photovoltaic systems.  All viable options are needed as we work towards our goal of 70% clean energy by 2030.”

The City and County of Honolulu and Hawaii Electric are among the first fleet customers to take advantage of the reduced operating costs, high efficiency and environmental benefits provided by adding the Mitsubishi i to their respective fleets.  Vehicle deliveries will occur later in the month.

For Hawaii residents interested in vehicles like the Mitsubishi i, the state is offering a clean energy rebate of $4,500 toward the purchase of such vehicles.  That, coupled with a federal tax credit of $7,500, subject to availability of funding, reduces the i’s out-of-pocket cost to under $16,000 after rebates and credits.

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