Logo: University of Southern California

The Great Unveiling: USC Viterbi Debuts New Mitsubishi Partnership

Mitsubishi to provide 12 electric cars for the USC Smart Grid Living Laboratory
By: Angus McColl
November 30, 2012 —
Yoichi Yokozawa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America (center, left) and Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of the USC Viterbi School (center, right), announce the new collaboration. 
Don Paul, executive director of the USC Energy Institute, and Dean Yortsos standing beside the i-MiEV.
Members of the USC Trojan Band mark the unveiling.

On November 29, Yoichi Yokozawa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, hosted USC Viterbi School of Engineering Dean Yannis C. Yortsos at a special event at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Together they jointly launched the Mitsubishi Motors - USC Electric Vehicle Smart Grid Demonstration Project. The project is one of a series of smart grid research and development projects that will be run by the USC Smart Grid Living Laboratory, an initiative of the Viterbi School’s USC Energy Institute led by Dr. Don Paul.

“Mitsubishi Motors is proud to offer our support to the USC Smart Grid Living Laboratory Program,” Yokozawa announced. “This project will help cities of all sizes develop a very cost-effective electric vehicle infrastructure game plan for drivers of 100 percent electric vehicles, including the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.”

Yokozawa also announced that Mitsubishi would provide USC a fleet of 12 new i-MiEV electric vehicles and charging stations. The vehicles will be deployed across campus and will serve in the Department of Public Safety, the Campus Cruiser Program, USC Sustainability, Trojan Athletics and the USC motor pool. Mitsubishi will consult with USC throughout the course of the research program and share a wealth of information based upon the company’s industry-leading know-how in 100 percent electric-powered vehicles.

USC’s Smart Grid Living Laboratory will use USC campus facilities and electrical infrastructure to simulate a small city or suburb of about 60,000. The laboratory was organized for USC to play a major role in the Smart Grid Regional Demonstration Project of the U.S. Department of Energy under contract to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). It draws upon the multi-disciplinary expertise of several academic departments, as well as the USC Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety, Facilities Management Services and Department of Athletics, and will continue for the long-term as a research and development test bed to support industry in smart grid technologies and implementation.

“We are excited to build a partnership with Mitsubishi Motors in the area of electric vehicle integration into the Smart Grid that demonstrates USC and Mitsubishi Motors are serious about the future of electric vehicles,” said Yortsos. “This is a substantial electric vehicle fleet that will not only provide a useful pool of data for technical and behavioral research projects but will also have a highly visible impact on the USC community due to interaction with students, faculty, staff, alumni and the surrounding neighborhood.”

The Trojan Marching Band and USC Song Girls brought additional excitement to the event as USC’s first iMiEV vehicle was unveiled – a cruiser to be used by community service officers of the USC Department of Public Safety, complete with emergency lights and siren. Yokozawa emerged after Yortsos’ remarks with a new USC tie to commemorate the event and expressed his appreciation to the band and Song Girls for “bringing additional electricity to our event.”