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UPDATE: Peugeot, Mitsubishi Eye New Electric Vehicle Link


TOKYO (Dow Jones)–Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (7211.TO) said Wednesday that it and French partner PSA Peugeot-Citroen (UG.FR) are considering jointly developing power train technology for small commercial electric vehicles.

The move builds on existing ties between the two auto makers in the field of electric vehicles. In March, the two companies said PSA Peugeot-Citroen would start selling electric cars based on Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV model by the end of 2010.

If the feasibility study is conclusive, it would deepen the two companies’ existing industrial collaboration. Earlier this year, Peugeot-Citroen shied away from creating a more formal alliance with Mitsubishi that could have involved cross-shareholdings, saying the conditions weren’t right.

Mitsubishi Motors President Osamu Masuko said at that time that the two companies could pursue more joint operations without a capital tie-up. Peugeot-Citroen’s chief executive said last month that the deal fell apart because of financing issues.

The two companies also assemble vehicles in Russia at a joint assembly plant, and Peugeot-Citroen sells sport-utility vehicles based on Mitsubishi’s Outlander. In April, the two inked another accord for the French company to start selling vehicles in 2012 based on the same platform as a Mitsubishi vehicle called RVR in Japan and ASX in Europe.

The Japanese car maker has a plan to launch a small commercial electric vehicle model to be developed based on the i-MiEV by 2012. Other car makers are also developing such zero-emission cars as gas-emission regulations are becoming stricter. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.TO) recently teamed up with U.S. electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. to develop electric cars.

If the latest project goes ahead, Mitsubishi and Peugeot-Citroen will manufacture the power train, develop power-management systems and assemble batteries, and the first application would be for small electric commercial vehicles. At present, Mitsubishi makes batteries in a joint venture with Japan’s GS Yuasa Corp. (6674.TO).
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Source: wsj.com

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