Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Breaking: Mitsubishi Motors and a certain ‘tropical island paradise’ ink an MOU for electric cars

by Larry Geller

From today’s press release:

Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) and the State of Hawaii have entered into an agreement that will seek to vastly improve the infrastructure and deployment for the new Mitsubishi i and other advanced 100% electric-powered vehicles (EVs) for residents of America's tropical island paradise.

[PRNewswire, Mitsubishi Motors and the State of Hawaii Demonstrate Their Commitment to the Electric Vehicle With New Cooperative Effort, 6/7/2011]

At first glance, Hawaii doesn’t get all that much. The training goes to the dealership, as it would for any new model. There’s more, but all designed to sell cars.

It will be interesting to see how these EV offerings divide the market and how well each will do.

I know nothing about this particular car, but this is an opportunity to relate a Mitsubishi anecdote that I’ll probably never fit in to any other story.

When we lived in Japan, I was a GE executive. Not a real high mucky-muck, but anyway. So we had a little black Nissan limo. It’s not that I was stuck up or anything, but I really made fun of a certain Mitsubishi limo which executives associated with that company had to ride in. It was called—get ready for this—the Debonair Executive. The model was quite popular actually, remaining in production for more than 20 years. It was inevitably fitted out with white cloth covers on the head rests and—get ready again—white lace curtains on the rear window. The chauffer might well sport white cloth gloves.

I swore I would never be caught dead in a Debonair Executive. It just didn’t coincide with my self-image at that time. I was not the white lace curtain type.

Also, my father had been quite a car nut. His first car was a Caddy, a chick magnet at the time. I learned to appreciate the refinements of real coachwork. Mitsubishi, on the other hand, had long abandoned headlining, for example. The interior was hard and cold. But those white lace curtains… and the very name of the car…  I snickered every time one of those was ahead on the road. I really did. I snickered at it bilingually.

When our last day in Japan finally came, we were taken to the airport—in a Debonair Executive. It was the last blow.

(A pic of an old Debonair Executive is here. No curtains in this one, though. Notice the side mirrors. I have always wanted to have mirrors positioned on my American cars in the same way. No blind spot, less head turning, though there are other disadvantages.)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


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