Large-scale electric vehicle trial gets go-ahead

January 15, 2010
by Purchasingb2b Staff

The streets of Boucherville, Québec are about to get electric.

This autumn, under the terms of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed January 14, the municipality will play host to a pilot project conducted by Hydro-Québec and Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc.

Hydro-Québec will test the performance of up to 50 Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicles (i-MiEVs) on the road under a variety of circumstances, including winter conditions.

Throughout the trial, local businesses will integrate the vehicles into their fleets. Hydro-Québec will monitor charging behaviour, the driving experience and driver satisfaction.

Theirry Vandal, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec, says the project will help the utility gauge the level of infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles.

“This new pilot project is part of our action plan for the electrification of vehicles,” Vandal said.

“It will allow us to advance our knowledge of the technology and its integration into our grid, which in turn will help us plan the necessary charging infrastructure for homes, offices and public places.”

Boucherville was selected to host the project largely because of its proximity to Hydro-Québec’s research institute. The city is also home to a local Mitsubishi dealership, which will oversee the maintenance of the i-MiEVs.

The pilot project will cost stakeholders $4.5 million.

As for the vehicles themselves, the i-MiEVs are being marketed by Mitsubishi as all-electric, highway-capable, charge-at-home commuter cars with enough space to seat four adults.

While this is the largest trial of the i-MiEV so far in Canada, it is not the first.

In November, Mitsubishi provided three i-MiEVs to the City of Vancouver and BC Hydro for testing and evaluation.