Formerly a dark horse, Mitsubishi appears to be taking the lead in the race to electrify. The Japanese automaker is starting sales this July of the all-electric iMiev in Japan, and signed this week a Memorandum of Understanding with the Principality of Monaco to receive a fleet of iMiev by the end of the year.
The Memorandum signified the Principalities intention to become a testing ground for the electric vehicle, and will be used by community services and businesses. Mitsubishi is gaining traction with other countries that are eager to jump on the (electric) bandwagon, and is testing the car in Australia and New Zealand.
However, the company's future isn't all electric-only; Mitsubishi is also developing a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV). The concept PHEV is expected to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. Many are speculating that the vehicle will look a lot like the Concept cX, which appeared in the auto show circuit in 2007. However, the prototype is rumored to be using Mitsubishi's global GS platform, already in use in the Lancer and Outlander. Sources say the car will most likely be a PHEV version of the two-row Outlander, a vehicle that already has a global presence.
According to AutoCar, a U.K. automotive news Web site, production is at least three years away, the company's fast move into the EV market with the iMiev and a PHEV strategy that leverages an existing platform and chassis may increase the timetable.
(Sources: AutoSpies and AutoCar)