In an indication that Mitsubishi is serious about building a production electric car, sooner rather than later, it entered into a joint venture with Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa to make large lithium-ion batteries. We've seen Mitsubishi's MIEV technology on cars at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show and the 2006 Detroit Motor Show, and it's pretty cool. Mitsubishi developed in-wheel electric motors that can be used in all four wheels of a car. The result is a very flexible all-wheel-drive car where torque can be finely tuned for each wheel, depending on the current driving conditions. Mitsubishi has already made a name for itself in World Rally Championship races with its all-wheel-drive Lancer Evo, so the company is no stranger to high-performance drive systems.
New production lines for the large lithium-ion batteries should be up-and-running by 2009, just in time for Mitsubishi's promised 2010 launch of an electric car. There are, of course, no details yet about range or what sort of electric cars Mitsubishi will produce. And we wonder if WRC races will be nearly as exciting without the growl of high-revving engines.