Mitsubishi to abandon the “jet-fighter” grille and replace it with a more friendlier face

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 15, 2011

Amid efforts to be recognized as a specialist on green cars, Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s “jet-fighter" grille will be replaced with a face that’s friendlier. It seeks to utilize a lineup of full-electric cars and plug-in hybrids to cut by half its average global CO2 emissions by 2020, compared to figures in 2005. Mitsubishi didn’t disclose what its 2005 global figure was.

However, we know that in 2007, it had a CO2 emissions average of 170 grams per kilometer. By 2015, the new cars sold in Europe have to decrease CO2 emissions to a fleet average of 130g/km.

The average last year was 140.9g/km while in 2009, it achieved 145.9g/km, according to JATO Dynamics's analysis of 21 European markets.

At the Tokyo Auto Show, general design manager Hiroaki Ohtsuka told Automotive News Europe that until today, Mitsubishi’s focus is on driveablility, sports mobility and SUV development. He explained that this focus is evident in its design but then, it is now concentrating on a more environmental aspect.

Lancer-based Evo X, which was launched in Europe in 2008, is the first model that had the jet-fighter grille. Two models at this show illustrate the upcoming design change. One is the gasoline-powered Mirage subcompact, which will arrive in Europe in early 2013 and has CO2 emissions of 95g/km.

The other one is the PX-MiEV, a plug-in hybrid concept of the Outlander compact SUV. The PX-MiEV offers an electric-only range of 50km (30 miles). This plug-in hybrid, which will start selling together with the rest of the Outlander's new range in 2013, offers CO2 emissions of 50g/km.

Mitsubishi PX-MiEV Concept

An important feature in the Mitsubishi PX-MiEV Concept is that it makes use of the MiEV Operating System or MiEV OS. What this does is choose the optimum drive mode using the gasoline engine and the integrated control of its EV components. In addition, since the system monitors the drive battery constantly, it can manage as well the optimum electrical charge and even the output in answer to the remaining energy in the battery.

As such, it helps conserve energy while ensuring that it delivers a ride that is comfortable, pleasing, and most importantly, safe. It has also been fitted with a power supply mode that helps one utilize the power in the battery to be used for domestic appliances or as a power source in cases of emergency.

In effect, it ensures that the use of the battery is maximized. Speaking of power, both the wheels in the front and in the rear are operated by two magnet synchronous permanent motors. It also comes with the MIVEC DOHC 1.6-liter gasoline engine which not only helps power its front wheels but can function as a generator.

It has also been fitted with the Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid System wherein the optimum drive mode is automatically selected through the electronic circuitry. This is dependent on how much energy is left in the battery and what the present driving situation is. Thus it is able to get the maximum efficiency not only from its electric motors but from the gas engine as well.

There are three driving modes for the PX-MiEV Concept. One of these is called the parallel hybrid mode. What this does is when running at higher speeds, the vehicle is run by its gasoline engine since at high revolutions this type of engine is more efficient compared to electric units. When activated, it is the gasoline engine that drives its wheels as well.

Should the driver have the need to immediately change lanes or conduct any maneuver that requires more stability, this model then shifts to a four-wheel drive in order to utilize the rear motors to drive its rear wheels. By doing so, it enhances stability. In cases that there is a need for faster acceleration like when overtaking while running at high speeds, the system is able to switch between the rear motor and the front motor. What this does is to give that needed extra power and help the gasoline engine in order to achieve high acceleration.

Another is called the series hybrid mode. Initially, the driver will need to set a certain level for the battery energy. When the energy inside the drive battery drops to this level, the gas engine is immediately activated in order to produce electricity.

After that it changes to this mode in order to power the motors through the electricity that has been created. As with the parallel hybrid mode, depending on the current driving conditions, the system can also shift to a four-wheel drive as needed.

The third is the EV mode and this is usually the case when running from low to middle speeds. It uses a front-wheel drive configuration with the front motor being powered by the drive battery.

It can also switch to a four-wheel drive set-up by putting power to its rear motor should the system detect the need for maximum stability. This usually happens during snowy weather, rainy season, or any situation where there is low surface friction. It also does this if the sensors determine a front wheel slip.

Topics: mitsubishi, design

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