San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

What's new in business? Dec. 17

Electric Car Coming Soon

Given this country’s adoration of environmental branding, it was only a matter of time before someone realized that with San José’s terrible traffic, diesel smog, and high gas prices, a small electric car only makes sense, especially with Costa Rica’s incredible potential to produce cleaner energy.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors will be the first car company to make it happen.

Costa Rica’s environmentally responsible image is so strong worldwide that Mitsubishi is launching their compact iMiEV here before anywhere else in the hemisphere – including the U.S.

“The launch of this electric car is a big achievement for [Costa Rica],” Guillermo Charpentier, manager of Mitsubishi’s local distributor, Veinsa, told EFE. That’s an understatement.

“It marks a radical transition to 100 percent electric, which is the future of the auto market,” he said.

The iMiEV, which goes on sale in January in Europe and February here, puts out zero CO2 emissions. Zero.

It operates on lithium-ion batteries stuffed under the floor, seats four people, fits in super tight spaces, and has a driving range of 93 miles. Full charging time is seven hours.

If you buy one, you’ll have to find out where the rapid charging points will be located, but if they’re anywhere in the greater San José metropolitan area, battery charging will be a snap. We bet they put one in Multiplaza Mall. We also suspect they’ll get some good Costa Rican rainforest shots for their marketing material.

Read more about the iMiEV here:


New Classes Offer Residents Chance to ‘Hablar Bien’

For those of us who choose to live abroad, learning to speak the local language is essential. No one wants to be constantly confused by strange tongues. But learning Spanish is also about respecting the Costa Ricans whose country we share. At least that’s how James DeRoy of the Epifinia Spanish School sees things.

Epifinia’s new conversational Spanish courses for non-native speakers can help you deal with everyday situations: if a police officer pulls you over, what do you say? How do you order a quarter kilo of lean roast beef at the supermarket? What’s your shoe size?

Epifinia has a system they say is based on the fact that many Spanish words are similar to English words. “Carro” is car. “Policía” means… well, you get the picture.

Epifania offers classes in two locations on opposite sides of the city: Curridabat on the east side of San José, and Escazú to the southwest. Class sizes are limited to five students, and classes last two hours, either once or twice a week. The school also offers three difficulty levels. For more information, see: (click on Resident Programs), or call 2524-1726.

After all, speaking Spanish “it’s not as hard as we think,” says DeRoy. Pura Vida.

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