Monaco's Prince Albert Gives Mitsubishi's EV a Royal 'Thumbs Up'

By John O'Dell December 18, 2008

If his majesty gets what his majesty wants, Mitsubishi may have made a sale.

The Japanese automaker took a preproduction model of its battery-electric car, the i-MiEV, to Monaco recently to show it off to various government agencies, utility companies and what not.

iMiEVVeh750.jpg Among those who took the tiny car for a spin was His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco. 

The 50-year-old ruler of the tiny principality is considered an environmentalist with a special attachment to programs aimed at cleaning up the marine environment.

In a statement released this week by Mitsubishi, the prince is quoted as saying that the i-MiEV is the kind of car that represents "the future, and I am happy that your company is going forward in this direction."

He further commented, according to the statement, that the i-MiEV seemed "ready for practical use in a city area" and closed his comment with the kind of remark that usually gets results when uttered by a monarch: PrinceAlbertl.jpg

"I would like to see this kind of zero-emission vehicle in Monaco in the near future."

We imagine Mitsubishi would, too.

The company currently is field testing the car in Japan, New Zealand, Europe and the U.S. and has said it intends to market it in Japan in 2009 and in Europe -- depending on the outcome of the ongoing feasibility study -- "sometime after" 2010.

Mitsubishi has been working on electric propulsion since the 1970s, and introduced its first test model electric car publicly in 1993.

The i-MiEV -- which stands for i-Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (the i in front is the designation of the gasoline-fueled "i" car on which it was based), was introduced in 2006 and has been in testing ever since.

John O'Dell, Senior Editor 

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