Subaru teams TEPCO-Japans biggest electric co., to make electric cars

Japan's biggest power company said Friday it will team with the Subaru carmaker to develop environmentally friendly electric vehicles that can travel up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) on a single charge, and recharge most their batteries in 15 minutes.

Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. will provide Tokyo Electric Power Co. 10 vehicles based on its R1 minivehicle, and TEPCO will develop the high-speed recharger, the companies said in a release. The cars will be developed under a one-year contract starting Friday.

TEPCO plans to use the new experimental electric vehicles as company cars. If they operate well, TEPCO aims to replace about 3,000 of its company vehicles with electricity-powered ones as early as 2008, the companies said.

If all 3,000 of the TEPCO cars are replaced by electric vehicles, the power company expects to reduce annual fuel costs by 190 million yen (US$1.72 million; Ђ1.39 million) and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2,800 tons a year, reports the AP.

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