Up to 50 electric vehicles will be tested in Quebec as part of a bid to bring all-electric vehicles to the province, Hydro-Québec and Mitsubishi Motors say.
The trial, described as the largest electric-car pilot project in the country, will take place in the Montreal suburb of Boucherville. City staff will test the Japanese automaker's i-MiEV, a compact four-door hatchback. Hydro-Québec will provide the infrastructure and collect information on how the cars perform.
Thierry Vandal, the president of Hydro-Quebéc, said the goal is to figure out how well the vehicles work.
"We need to provide feedback to the manufacturer in terms of how does this adapt to the recharge," Vandal said. "Does this have an impact on the grid, and if so, how do we deal with it?"
Vandal noted that there are challenges to overcome before electric cars catch on with consumers.
"It’s a question of the technology being there, the infrastructure to recharge also being accessible. Then it's a question of economics, and we think the industry's moving in that direction. We're tremendously excited by that," Vandal said.
Tomoki Yanagawa, a spokesman for Mitsubishi Canada, said Quebec is a logical place to test the vehicles because it produces abundant clean, renewable electricity, which he said is "perfect" for the company's electric cars.
Mitsubishi plans to release the i-MiEV in Europe later this year, and if the Boucherville testing goes well it should be available in Canada in the fall of 2011, Yanagawa said.
The companies made the announcement Thursday at the Montreal International Auto Show.