Hong Kong is set to be the second place in the world, after Japan, to have electric police cars patrolling the streets by the end of the year. A successful three-week trial this month of Mitsubishi's highly rated electric car, the iMiEV, should ensure they are added to the police fleet when they come into mass production. Some of the cars are already scooting around Kanagawa prefecture in Japan. The iMiEV - short for Mitsubishi innovative electric vehicle - boasts zero emissions by using a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor. It can travel 160 kilometres after an eight-hour charge with a household plug, and has a top speed of 130km/h. The government has been promoting the car's use in Hong Kong since February, when it signed a memorandum of understanding with the carmaker and the distributor. Mitsubishi has agreed to supply 10 of the vehicles to the government from its first batch by the end of this year or early next year, a source said. Three are expected to go to the police fleet as the first step to replacing 500 patrol cars, Senior Inspector Joe Li Tung-cheung, of the police transport division, said. 'The test drives have been very satisfactory and we are confident that its performance will be on par with patrol cars,' he said, but added that electric cars would not be used as 'response vehicles'. During the trial, the vehicles were used on patrol duties by police stations in Central and The Peak, but they would probably be deployed to outlying islands and at the border. 'Electric cars have advantages on islands such as Cheung Chau and Lamma, where no gas stations are available,' Mr Li said. 'The minicars can also get through those narrow trails in the New Territories.' Mr Li said the 70 to 80 kilometres covered during patrol shifts would not be a problem, and fuel costs would be cut by about two-thirds. Junior Police Officers' Association chairman Chung Kam-wa said the stability of electric vehicles was a concern because electric scooters had broken down.