Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) oversees the North American operations of Japan's Mitsubishi Motors. It develops, manufactures, markets, sells, distributes, and finances (through Mitsubishi Motors Credit of America) Mitsubishi brand cars and SUVs through a network of about 400 US dealers. MMNA's manufacturing division in Normal, Illinois is Mitsubishi Motors' only passenger car assembly plant in North America. There, it builds the Eclipse coupe, Eclipse Spyder convertible, Galant sedan, and Endeavor SUV. MMNA also sells the Outlander crossover and Lancer sportback. MMNA will launch its fuel-efficient Mitsubishi i, a 100% electric-powered vehicle, to North America beginning in 2011.
Hawaii will be the first state to receive the North American version of the Mitsubishi i (called the i-MiEV in other markets), followed by the western US. By March 2012 it is expected to enter the northeastern market and will be available nationwide by the end of 2012. The Mitsubishi i is the culmination of roughly four decades of research and development at the company, beginning with its first electric vehicle -- the Minica EV -- built in 1971.
To support the launch of its i electric vehicles, MMNA, in collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, debuted a solar-powered charging station for the i and other compatible electric vehicles in 2011. MMNA also teamed up with leading US energy producer NRG Energy to provide owners of the Mitsubishi i access to NRG's eVgo (ee-vee-go) privately-funded electric vehicle recharging network. The initial rollout will be in Houston and Dallas, followed by other major cities in Texas in 2012.
These efforts are part of parent company Mitsubishi Motors' larger environmental initiative program, which sets interim targets for 2015 along the way to achieving 2020 targets. The program calls for electric-powered vehicles to account for approximately 5% of total production volume, thus helping to reach a goal of 25% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and 15% reduction in emissions during production (compared to fiscal 2005 levels).
MMNA's contributions to this program are spearheaded by Yoichi Yokozawa, who was named president and CEO of MMNA in 2011. Departing president and CEO Shinichi Kurihara will be returning to parent Mitsubishi Motors. – less