Mitsubishi eX Concept: 2015 Tokyo Motor Show
Electric and hybrid SUVs are the future, and there was one on every corner at the Tokyo Motor Show. We take a closer look at the Mitsubishi eX Concept.
THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION engine, be it diesel or petrol, is not dead, but the end of its road is in sight. The only question is what exactly will replace it. Hybrids – combined electric/internal combustion engines – are a mere stop-gap. Electric power seems to be where it’s at, given there’s no existing infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell.
Mitsubishi isn’t new to electric-only power, it’s i-Miev was a pioneer in this space, and has plug-in hybrid experience with the Outlander PHEV. But the Japanese car maker’s eX Concept is different again, because it’s an SUV, indeed the brand claims its future lies in the development of SUVs. Launched by Mitsubishi President Mr Aikawa today at the Toyko Motor Show, it certainly looks futuristic, but then that’s precisely what a concept is supposed to look like, right? Only, this one does show a glimpse of the future…
According to Mitsubishi, the eX Concept celebrates Mitsubishi’s 50 Years of Electric Vehicle research and development. Design inspiration is drawn from a ‘shooting brake’ coupe/hatchback and sports crossover, while elements of the interior and exterior styling indicate the design path that future Mitsubishi cars will take. The drivetrain is a Twin-Motor EV AWD with the battery slung beneath the body, with Mitsubishi’s clever S-AWC (all-wheel control) integrated vehicle dynamics control system to select the appropriate mode for the surface (snow, gravel, etc.) and adjust various parameters of handling.
The eX is claimed to have a cruising range of 400km. But that is most likely to be in a highway situation. Nevertheless 400km is quite usable, especially when you consider the average Australian journey (work and school runs) is less than 25km a day. It also has twin motors, one front, one rear, both electric and good for 70kW each. Would that mean a combined 140kW? Possibly, depends how well they work in concert.
The eX Concept offers ‘augmented’ reality. Meaning there’s a heads-up display, mirrors are replaced by TFT screens, and it will communicate with other vehicles (V2V) to share road safety information. The car can also read roadsigns.
We are likely to see more and more convergence between cars, phones and everything else. Mitsubishi says it hopes the eX could eventually be used as a power source for the house, and always be accessible via a smartphone app. Makes sense, a car is a big investment and most of the time it’s sitting in the garage doing nothing. May as well put it to use somehow, meaning pump reserve power back into the house, and take it back out when required. The EX also has two detachable batteries which “can be used to support an active lifestyle”, maybe when camping.
So who will the eX appeal to? It’s clearly designed as an urban SUV, lacking much in the way of loadspace. But if you look at the clearance and angles it’s not bad at all, much better than most urban SUVs so with the ready, easily controllable torque of twin electric motors it might do rather nicely off-road. We’ll need to wait for a production version to really see, but if the range problem can be solved electric cars can do rough terrain. And just think… no need to replace starter motors filled with mud!
Mitsubishi EX Concept Specifications
|L x W x H (mm)||4240 x 1780 x 1575|
|Cruising range (JC08; km)||400|
|Max output F/R (kW)||70 / 70|
|Total capacity of battery (kWh)||45|
|Drive battery||Lithium-ion cells|
|Drivetrain||Twin Motor 4WD|