Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd. announces the arrival of two full-production i-MiEV electric vehicles into the port of Brisbane, Queensland, in what the auto maker calls a significant milestone in the country’s motoring future.

Queensland Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Kate Jones was on hand to witness the arrival of the vehicles and, along with customs, shipping and port authorities, presided over the first official Australian inspection.

Mitsubishi says the new arrivals are the first full-production EVs to be driven on Australian roads, where they will undergo an extensive pre-sale evaluation program. The vehicles will be tested in “real-world” situations by government fleets, private fleets and the media across the country.

Mitsubishi Australia President and CEO Robert McEniry says the i-MiEV brings the possibility of having large numbers of zero-emissions vehicles on Australian roads one step closer to reality.

Meanwhile, Western Australia Transport Minister Simon O’Brien launches the state’s first large-scale EV trial.

O’Brien says 10 electric cars will be tested as regular fleet vehicles for two years by state government departments, local government authorities and private-sector organizations.

“The vehicle trial will test the fleet capabilities of the electric vehicles and enable participants to identify and address a range of practical issues associated with the introduction of this new transport technology,” he says.

The trial also will test Australia’s first integrated EV recharging network, to be established in Perth later this year as part of a separate research project led by the University of Western Australia, as well as identify what infrastructure will be required for electric cars in the next decade, O’Brien says.

But not everyone is enthusiastic about the arrival of EVs Down Under.

Critics warn major auto makers currently have no plans to manufacture electric vehicles in Australia, and that a switch from gasoline-powered cars to electrified vehicles could spell disaster for the already-struggling domestic industry.