Check Your Mirrors

By Kevin Miller

04.23.2009

mit2009042257758_pvMitsubishi has been trotting their iMiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle) to various locations across the US in the name of green partnerships, and they celebrated Earth Day under cloudy skies in Portland, Oregon, showing off the electric transportaion pod to the state’s governor, Ted Kulongoski. The visit was made to highlight a new ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) partnership between Mitsubishi, the State of Oregon, and electric utility Portland General Electric (PGE).

While I spent Earth Day roaring around Portland in Autosavant’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8-powered 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Lariat, Gov. Kulongoski took his first test drive of the all-electric vehicle from PGE’s headquarters at Portland’s World Trade Center.

PGE continues to partner with Oregon businesses and governments to roll out its network of charging stations to support these next-generation electric vehicles and plug-in electric vehicles. During my drive around the Portland metro area, I drive past two municipal EV charging stations, so the partnership is bearing visible fruit.

Mitsubishi plans to deliver its i MiEV to Oregon for fleet testing in late this year. Powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery, the Mitsubishi i MiEV will be one of the first of the new generation of lithium-ion-powered electric vehicles to be developed by a major automobile manufacturer that will be available to the public.

ai_fusion_extFord: Did you ever wish you had a karaoke machine in your car? Did you ever wish you had a car with special details inspired by your favorite TV reality show? Me neither. If you aren’t like me, though, the perfect Ford Fusion might be just a few mouse clicks away.

Ford has introduced the American Idol 2010 Ford Fusion with those features, which will be awarded the lucky winner of the Ford Music Video Challenge, which is available at www.americanidol.com/ford. Seriously, the car is a 2010 Fusion (which boasts best-in-class fuel economy) with built-in Karaoke machine and American Idol-logo floormats and an American Idol logo sticker on the trunklid.

All of this makes you wonder what’s next- a Susan Boyle edition Ford Fiesta? While I would suggest that the Fiesta can’t arrive quickly enough, I think that Ford’s new small car, much like its new Fusion, can stand on its own; neither of these cars needs the special edition to lure buyers into the showroom; they’ve got the merits to lure buyers of their own accord.

British government officials have passed a scrappage incentive which is intended to stimulate new vehicle sales. Consumers will be given a £2000 ($2915) if they trade in a car ten years old (or older) on a new vehicle. The £2000 will consist of £1000 from the British government, and £1000 from manufacturers or dealers.

Similar incentives which took effect earlier this year have increased vehicle sales in Germany, Italy, and France. A similar measure is under debate in the US; points of contention include whether the new car would need to be manufactured in the US, and the required age of the traded vehicle.

The British government has set aside a fund of £300 million. The program is set to start in May, and run until March 2010, or until the fund is depleted by the purchase of 300,000 cars.

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Author: Kevin Miller

As Autosavant’s resident Swedophile, Kevin has an acute affinity for Saabs, with a mild case of Volvo-itis as well. Aside from covering most Saab-related news for Autosavant, Kevin also reviews cars and covers industry news. His “Great Drive” series, with maps and directions included, is a reader favorite.

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4 Comments

  1. RE: Scrappage programs. These successful programs have existed in other countries for months. So why hasn’t the U.S. Government done something similar?

    Cannot understand it for the life of me.

  2. I want to gag when I see an American Idol edition Ford Fusion.

  3. I would do away with the AI logos, but a karaoke machine in a car is AWESOME!!

  4. You won’t have to wait too long for the scrappage thing because it looks like the Obama admin is going to do it.

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