The Mitsubishi iMiEv has become the first all-electric car to be approved for use on Australian roads.

The iMiEV’s lithium-ion bnatteries can be fully charged in 7 hours and give a range of 160 kilometres at speeds of up to 130 kilometres per hour.

Mitsubishi plans to begin mass production of the car in Japan in July. It had been planning to build 2,000 of the vehicles this year but interest has been so strong that the figure has now been increased to 5,000.

Mitsubishi CEO Robert McEniry said: ”This is really the start of the future for the car industry, I think we’ll see a lot more of these vehicles being introduced into the marketplace. The car you see is ready for volume sale. Australia is the first country to get full certification.”

Mr McEniry said the company is planning on the car going on sale in 2010 but refused to comment on a price.