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Vancouver, BC Hydro will test drive electric cars

The City of Vancouver will get to test drive the world's first production-ready electric car, Mistubishi's i MiEV, when it makes its Canadian debut.

Mayor Gregor Robertson arrived at a press conference this morning driving a red i MiEV four-seater. The city, the provincial government and BC Hydro announced a memorandum of understanding with Mitsubishi to add one demonstration car to BC Hydro’s fleet and one to the city's fleet.

Officials aren't sure when this could happen, but Robertson said he was hopeful that Vancouver would have an i MiEV in use in time for the Olympics.

Robertson said the car was "sporty and peppy, but felt safe," and said the vehicles will bring the city one step closer to becoming the greenest city in the world. Vancouver was the first municipality in Canada to change local building and parking bylaws to allow for plug-in vehicles.

The i MiEV is powered with lithium-ion batteries and can travel 120 kilometers on a full charge. They will go on sale in Japan this summer, retailing for approximately CND $35,000, but still have to pass federal safety testing here.

Koji Soga, CEO of Mitsubishi Motor Sales Canada, said Vancouver is a good Canadian pilot city for the vehicle because it is compact and has a mild climate.

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