TOKYO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T) said on Thursday it would aim to launch a small business-use electric vehicle (EV) in Japan by the end of 2011, with a target of selling 10,000 units as soon as possible.
Mitsubishi Motors President Osamu Masuko said initial demand for zero-emission electric vehicles may be greater from businesses than from individuals because of companies’ growing drive to reduce their carbon footprint.
Mitsubishi Motors aims to offer the electric vehicle for less than 2 million yen ($24,450), initially relying on subsidies from the government. Japan has yet to decide whether or how much in subsidies it would earmark for the purchase of pure electric cars beyond the fiscal year ending in March.
Masuko was speaking at a ceremony to hand over an all-electric van for a one-year trial by Yamato Holdings Co (9064.T), Japan’s top parcel delivery company.
Mitsubishi Motors became the first major carmaker to begin selling all-electric cars to individuals this year. It plans to produce 9,000 i-MiEV electric cars in the business year to March 31, ramping that up to 40,000 units in the 2012/13 business year.
Masuko said the commercial EV would have a range of 100 km (62 miles) on a full charge compared with the i-MiEV’s 160 km to lower costs, but enough to meet businesses’ needs.
Yamato Transport President Makoto Kigawa said the company’s parcel delivery vehicles drive about 30 km a day on average in Tokyo. (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Joseph Radford)