Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) have managed to develop some impressive products through the years, with their Montero Sport and Xpander offerings counting as some of the best-selling vehicles in the Philippines. It’s no surprise then that their presentation at the 46th Tokyo Motor Show combined their SUV and MPV expertise with state-of-the-art innovations on electric power, delving heavily into their Electric Vehicle technologies while showcasing their unique possibilities for tomorrow’s automobiles. By unveiling the MI-TECH Concept SUV, Super Height K-Wagon Concept Kei car and offering another look at the Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer and Dendo Drive House, Mitsubishi gives us a glimpse at what the future brings.
While not a conventional release in any form (it’s a slim chance we’ll see this fleshed out as a production car), Mitsubishi’s MI-TECH Concept is a singular representation of Mitsubishi’s direction towards fun, environmentally-conscious products for the adventure-seeking individual. MI-TECH stands for Mitsubishi (M) Intelligent, Ingenious, Inspired (I) Technology (TECH), and was designed to be a small plug-in hybrid electric SUV capable of conquering the toughest terrain and wind conditions while adding a dash of fun into the mix. It features a lightweight and compact PHEV drivetrain, a four-motor electric 4WD system, and advanced driver-assist and preventive safety technologies packed into a two-seater SUV body. Using the concept of “stimulating the driver’s adventure”, the MI-TECH Concept’s unique buggy design evokes a spirit of go-anywhere fun, with the front end adopting MMC’s signature Dynamic Shield new front design concept. We see T-shaped headlights up front complementing a rugged-looking front bumper with aluminum skid plates, which is also reflected at the rear. Looking at it from the sides, the MI-TECH Concept’s rugged appeal is further enhanced by large-diameter tires, blocky lines, meaty fender flares, and prominent side steps. Doors? Well, where this buggy is designed to go, we won’t be needing any doors. Hopping in and out is one of the hallmark characteristics of the traditional buggy, and Mitsubishi keeps that spirit alive and well, even in such a futuristic looking vehicle.
Inside is where it gets really interesting. The MI-TECH’s dash uses its body color accentuated by copper lines on the instrument panel and steering wheel. Keyboard-shaped switches are positioned atop a center console with a horizontal theme, and the front of the hand grip also functions as a pad to make switches easy to operate. It wouldn’t be a vision of the future without a HUD on the windshield, and the MI-TECH doesn’t disappoint. The MI-TECH’s windshield presents relevant information such as car behavior, terrain recognition, and optimal route guidance in the form of an augmented reality graphical interface called a Human Machine Interface (HMI).
Powering MI-TECH concept is a new PHEV drivetrain consisting of a lightweight, compact gas turbine engine-generator in place of a traditional gasoline engine. Using a gas turbine engine presents several benefits over a regular combustion engine, such as its flexibility to run on a variety of fuels, such as diesel, kerosene or alcohol, depending on the region. Combined with the PHEV drivetrain, the MI-TECH’s exhaust is clean and free from any toxic by-products. Mitsubishi has applied its Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) Integrated Vehicle Dynamics Control System to a Quad-Motor 4WD System with front and rear Dual-Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC) units working in conjunction with electric brake calipers for highly precise and accurate turning, traction, and braking performance. The 4WD system also ensures optimal grip and power distribution to all four tires during any off-roading scenario, or even during daily driving experiences.
Yes, we might never see the MI-TECH come to reality, but the purpose of the MI-TECH Concept is to demonstrate pockets of technology that Mitsubishi Motors is working on, which we’ll start to see implemented on several of their vehicles in the near future.
Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer
We last saw the Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer Concept in Geneva last March as a twin-motor, four-wheel drive plug-in hybrid with off-road capabilities and impressive new car technologies. It was present again at the Tokyo Motor Show an evolutionary showcase of the Mitsubishi Outlander’s Twin Motor PHEV drivetrain. This next-generation PHEV drivetrain is designed to be more compact, with a high-capacity battery installed under the floor, at the center of the vehicle. The layout of the PHEV drivetrain has also been optimized to deliver more passenger space, allowing the Mitsubishi Engelberg to feature three rows of seating room. The Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer also employs Mitsubishi’s AYC and S-AWC for improved driving performance, and has an EV cruising range of more than 70 kilometers. Combined with a full tank of fuel, the total cruising range amounts to over 700 kilometers.
Dendo Drive House
Mitsubishi’s plans for an electric future goes beyond their automobiles, and one of the more unique presentations from Mitsubishi was the Dendo Drive House, an innovative system that allows a Mitsubishi PHEV vehicle to power an entire house during times of emergency, or simply to save on power bills. The Dendo Drive House features solar panels, a bi-directional charger, and a battery for your home, which allows power to flow either from the home to the car to charge it, or from the car to the home to provide power. Numerous scenarios benefit from this relationship of house and car, such as serving as a backup in cases of calamities or emergencies when power is cut, or if your electricity provider offers discounts during off-peak hours, you could charge your car then, and use it to power your home during high-peak hours for added savings. The system supports both purely electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrids such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer. Currently on a trial basis, Mitsubishi hopes to see the Dendo Drive House expanded to more households in the near future.
Super Height K-Wagon Concept
Despite their focus on electrifying future mobility, Mitsubishi hasn’t forgotten their petrol-engine offerings for the Japanese market. Mitsubishi showcased their expertise on MPVs with their new Kei car concept, the Super Height K-Wagon. Kei cars are a key segment in the Japan domestic automobile market, making up around 40% of cars sold domestically. Despite its small stature being a Kei car, Mitsubishi’s K-Wagon offers generous room for passengers, with a lot of useful functionalities for small families. It features Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield front design, while its sides feature black wheel arches and side sill garnish to give it some SUV flavor. It boasts of the largest rear door opening and back seat legroom of its class, while a chic-looking interior uses synthetic leather with diamond quilting. The K-Wagon concept uses a CVT transmission together with e-Assist preventive safety technology for driving assistance on highways which includes collision-mitigating braking assistance, and pedal misapplication collision prevention assistance.