MITSUBISHI HAS PULLED a pair of new MiEV branded concepts out of its hat this week, the new concepts due to appear alongside the production i-MiEV electric vehicle at next month's Tokyo Motor Show.
Built on the same technology as their i-MiEV sibling, the i-MiEV Cargo and PX-MiEV concepts represent Mitsubishi's vision of how its hybrid and electric vehicle systems can be used across a broad range of applications.
The i-MiEV Cargo, clearly an extension of the current i-MiEV, has been designed as a light commercial vehicle for environmentally-conscious businesses and business owners.
The i-MiEV Cargo comes with a carrying space measuring 1350mm wide, 1180mm deep and 110mm high, and with a flat floor.
Like its production sibling, the i-MiEV Cargo develops 47kW from its Permanent Magnet Synchronous electric motor, offering a maximum driving range of 160km (depending on load).
While the production i-MiEV is due to go on sale in Japan and the US from April next year (with a limited number due in Australia), Mitsubishi has given no indication of whether the i-MiEV Cargo will enter production.
More details are expected to be revealed at Tokyo next month.
Mitsubishi PX-MiEV Concept
DESCRIBED AS SHORTHAND for "Plug-in Hybrid Crossover", the PX part of the PX-MiEV's name is the key to its intention.
Scheduled to be unveiled alongside the i-MiEV Cargo, Mitsubishi's stylish hybrid crossover concept bears virtually no resemblance to the two electric vehicles with which it shares much of its powertrain.
Unlike the all-electric i-MiEV models, the PX-MiEV is a hybrid, powered at the front and rear wheels by a pair of permanent magnet synchronous motors.
A 1.6 litre inline four-cylinder petrol engine adds addition power to the front wheels when needed while also working as a generator for the electric motors.
Using Mitsubishi's E-4WD system, the PX-MiEV can shift torque from left to right depending on where it's needed most, using the same S-AWC and E-AYC technology as Mitsubishi's hero Evolution X.
Separate to the Evo X's multi-plate clutch, a new centre differential motor sends additional torque to the rear when needed.
As with most new plug-in hybrid concepts, the PX-MiEV features the ability to drive exclusively on electric power, via the conventional petrol engine, or with a combination of the two - generally at higher speeds where a petrol engine operates more efficiently.
Similar to the Chevrolet Volt, the PX-MiEV concept can use its petrol engine as a generator, kicking in to revitalise the electric motors when they lose their charge.
In Regenerative Mode, the PX-MiEV will use a kinetic energy recovery system to draw energy from the braking systems, storing the charge in the car's battery packs.
As with the i-MiEV Cargo, Mitsubishi has not announced whether the PX-MiEV will enter production. If nothing else, the PX-MiEV is likely a glimpse of Mitsubishi's future styling direction.