I’m actually pretty amazed. Here is a concept car that’s quite obviously an SUV, but it has not been given the sloping coupe roofline treatment by its designers. They must have not really bought into that whole tall four door coupe with large wheels thing, which I feel is refreshing. What’s wrong with the traditional SUV shape. I mean, some might argue that everything about it is wrong since it’s an SUV to begin with, but hey there are people who still like and buy SUVs.
A wheelbase of 2,630mm and dimensions of 4,510mm by 1,830mm by 1,65mm makes this about the same size as the first generation Outlander/AirTrek actually. It’s smaller than the current second generation OutLander (which is also sold as a Peugeot 4007 and a Citroen C-Crosser).
So this could be a prototype for a new compact SUV slotted beneath the Outlander. The interior is definitely concept for now but the exterior looks pretty much production-ready. But if that’s the case, where does that leave the old Concept-cX that’s supposedly going into production? Is that some kind of new cross-Colt kind of compact hatch?
The PX-MiEV is powered by a new hybrid powertrain called the Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid System. The name’s definitely not as cool as Hybrid Synergy Drive but the system consisting of a petrol engine and electric motors can operate in either EV mode, series hybrid mode, parallel hybrid mode, regenerative mode, charging mode, and finally power supply mode. While driving, the various drive modes are selected using the MiEV OS system according to the data it has access to.
The EV mode is probably the most simple to understand – powered by the vehicle’s batteries, the front motor drives the vehicle. The MiEV OS also has all-wheel drive logic in it so if there is front wheel slip, the rear motor also activates to provide traction. Both front and rear motors can produce a combined 60kW and 200Nm on their own. In terms of EV mode range, you can expect to travel over 50km on the Japanese 10-15 drive cycle.
The petrol engine is a 1.6 litre MIVEC unit making 85kW and 125Nm of torque. It has a generating capacity of 70kW. When the battery energy level falls to a predetermined level, the gasoline engine starts and generates electricity to charge the batteries. This is called the series hybrid mode and the MIVEC engine does not drive the vehicle – it just generates electricity for the motors which drive the vehicle.
The other hybrid mode is the parallel hybrid mode. Probably because of gearing and the fact that Mitsubishi says a combustion engine is more efficient at high engine revolutions, the car runs on parallel hybrid mode at higher speeds such as highway speeds. In this mode, the MIVEC engine drives the wheels, and is assisted by the rear motor whenever the additional traction is required such as during sudden lane changes or other maneuvers. If additional power boost is needed, both the front and rear motors activate to provide peak power.
And then there is of course the regenerative mode, charging mode and power supply modes. The regenerative mode is easy to explain – its basically brake energy regeneration when the car is slowing down or coasting along a long descending slope. The charge mode is when the car is plugged in to the wall to charge. You can define your own schedule to begin charging or to run other functions such as use air conditioning to cool down the vehicle at preset times.
The power supply mode is something interesting. Basically it allows the vehicle to be part of a “Smart Grid” concept. The car can store electricity at night (where in some countries the rates are lower as it is off-peak) and then allow you to use that electricity later during the day via regular connectors. The car’s battery can be used as a power source during natural disasters, or in situations such as powering cooking or lighting equipment when you bring the vehicle to a campsite. If the charge level drops below a certain predetermined level, the MIVEC engine will fire up to maintain the power supply.
As if debuting a new plug-in hybrid system is not enough, there are also a few active safety technologies implemented in the car. It’s equipped for the Driving Safety Support System (DSSS (Level II)) currently being promoted by the Japanese National Police Agency. An on-board receiver picks up signals transmitted by roadside optical beacons and the system urges the driver to take extra care when other vehicles or pedestrians have been detected by roadside sensors and cameras at intersections and pedestrian crossings.
There is also a system that uses wireless technology to know the position of other vehicles and warn the driver if they are in a dangerous distance to the PX-MiEV. This is part of the Advanced Safety Vehicle 4 (ASV4) project being promoted by the Road Transport Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
A Driving Monitor System uses a camera mounted facing the driver to monitor eye movements to determine their level of alertness. If the system detects a decrease in their concentration it issues not only audible but visual and vibrational warnings and also emits an aroma to alert him or her to the situation.
The Concept PX-MiEV also has an electronically-controlled air suspension which is user-definable at three heights: auto, high or low. Naturally when set in auto the suspension sets its own height to whatever makes sense such as reducing the height for better aerodynamics and less drag during highway travel.
This is all really not bad for a company that’s not really seen as doing very well. If Mitsubishi was in a strong position right now it would not have had to license the latest Lancer platform to Proton for money.
Look after the jump for hi-res photos of the Concept PX-MiEV.
[zenphotopress number=99 album=527]