Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) today unveiled the MI-TECH CONCEPT small-sized electrified SUV concept car at Tokyo Motor Show 2019.
Takao Kato, chief executive officer, MMC, and Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer, MMC, presented those vehicles at the press conference and explained MMC’s electrification strategy.
“We are dedicated to electrification technology, particularly plug-in hybrids (PHEVs),” Kato said. “We will be expanding our lineup of electrified vehicles by delivering more variations and leveraging the diverse electrification technology in the alliance to make MMC the leader in the PHEV category going forward.”
Gupta added that MMC plans to employ any of its electrification technologies to new midsize and compact SUV by 2022 as well as Kei car in the near future.
The MI-TECH CONCEPT was built to be “small plug-in hybrid electric SUV that delivers unparalleled driving pleasure and confidence over all terrain in light and wind.” This concept car embodies the MMC brand statement “Drive Your Ambition” with a lightweight, compact, new PHEV drivetrain, a four-motor electric 4WD system, and advanced driver assist and preventive safety technologies—all packed into the small-sized electrified SUV.
Under the concept of “Stimulates the driver’s adventure”, the MI-TECH CONCEPT is designed to be a dynamic buggy-type vehicle that embodies the very essence of Mitsubishi-ness.
A sense of progressiveness as an electric vehicle is expressed through the light blue body color and a secondary copper color in a motor coil motif on the grille, inner wheels, and interior.
The front end adopts MMC’s signature Dynamic Shield new front design concept. It uses a satin plated color in the center of the grille, and copper as a secondary color to accentuate its expressiveness as an electrified vehicle. T-shaped headlights are embedded in the front end to emphasize a distinguishing outward appearance.
On the lower bumper, aluminum skid plate is placed on both sides to protect the body, while the interior has an air intake.
On the sides, the highly raised overfenders and large diameter tires project a high level of mobility plus power as an SUV, as well as the stability to thoroughly grip the terrain. The body radiates grandeur and sharpness with a design reminiscent of a metal ingot carved in a cutting machine, while the use of a side step on the carved sides balances utility with design.
The rear-end was designed with large and bold hexagon carved from metal ingot to emphasize the robustness of SUV. The T-shaped tail lamp shared the same design pattern used on the front end.
Inside, a horizontal instrument panel and functional design makes handling easier. The horizontal theme is further accentuated by copper lines added on the instrument panel and steering wheel. Keyboard-shaped switches are positioned atop a center console with a horizontal theme, and the front handgrip also functions as a hand pad to make the switches easy to operate. Functions are presented in a straightforward manner, easy to understand just by seeing them and with a reassuring feel when pressed.
MMC emphasizes a design that gives driver extra peace of mind. The front window shield presents all the relevant information in graphics such as car behavior, terrain recognition, and optimal route guidance.
The power generator in the new PHEV drivetrain is a lightweight, compact gas turbine engine-generator in place of the traditional gasoline engine. As environmental awareness grows and downsizing progresses, the concept explores the technological proposition to plug the PHEV drivetrain into a small SUV. The gas turbine engine-generator has a powerful output for its size and weight.
Another benefit of the gas turbine is its flexibility to run on a variety of fuels such as diesel, kerosene and alcohol which can be selected depending on the regions. Further, its exhaust is clean so it responds to environmental and energy issues.
MMC took pride to apply its S-AWC Integrated Vehicle Dynamics Control System to a Quad Motor 4WD System with front and rear Dual-Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC) units. Making the brake calipers electric has also allowed for high response, high accuracy control of drive and braking force of the four wheels while delivering a drastic improvement in turning and traction performance. When driving off-road and two wheels are spinning out, the ability to transmit the optimal driving force to all four wheels makes it possible to transmit force to the two wheels still on the ground and keep driving. MMC has thus delivered a safe, exhilarating driving experience in which the driver feels with the vehicle in all conditions, either in daily driving or when traversing rough roads, while also allowing for thrilling new driving experiences such as 180-degree spins by counter-rotating the left and right tires.
The vehicle comes equipped with Human Machine Interface (HMI) which displays various information detected through sensing technology including advanced optical sensors on an augmented reality (AR) windshield. With vehicle, road, and surrounding traffic conditions shown on the AR windshield, drivers can make accurate, heads-up decisions even in poor visibility.
Equipped also with MI-PILOT, next-generation driver assistance technology, the concept car extends driver support not only on freeways and ordinary roads, but also on unpaved roads.