Mitsubishi is donating 30 i-MiEV electric cars (along with Triton pickups) to help with the disaster relief efforts in Japan. Apparently, the thinking is that with the current fuel shortages in some areas, being able to run vehicles on electricity could be an advantage to groups using them to provide relief and support to earthquake survivors.
Now, Mitsubishi is to be applauded for its generosity and desire to help in this time of crisis in Japan. That said, the fact is that electricity is also in short supply due to the damage suffered by the infrastructure and specifically the nuclear power generation capacity. Tokyo and other areas far from the earthquake zone are having to endure scheduled power cuts to keep a lid on demand. Now, I am not on the ground, so perhaps having electrically powered vehicles will be a significant advantage, but on the face of it there are questions about how well this donation of electric cars has been thought through.
It just shows how the current situation in Japan cuts to the heart of the debate about electric cars: It is all very well to have cars that run on “clean” electricity, but then there is the question of where that electricity comes from. If it is supplied by coastal nuclear power stations straddling major fault lines, then you have to wonder whether this is really preferable to using gasoline for power.
Source: MSN (Japanese-language)leave a response, trackback from your own site