Mitsubishi eX Concept portends an electric future

  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Seyth Miersma / AOL
Mitsubishi's future is electric, and the Japanese brand's eX Concept presents its vision for a crossover EV for the years to come at the Tokyo Motor Show. At the same time, the company is using this opportunity to show off some next-gen tech that could arrive in production models someday.

To get around, the all-wheel-drive eX Concept packs front and rear electric motors that each produce 94 horsepower, and they're powered by a 45-kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery under the passenger compartment. For added traction, the torque split is variable between the back wheels, and braking can adjust things at the nose. Plus, sensors and cameras can read the road ahead and tweak the system accordingly.

The eX portends what's next for the company's design language, but traces from the latest Outlander are still visible. Up front, there's a revised version of the brand's X-shaped grille that Mitsubishi calls the Dynamic Shield, but here the turn signals and LED running lights are placed at the top. The concept's bigger innovation to the brand's styling language is the floating roof that makes the side glass appear to wrap around the body.

Mitsubishi highlights some future tech inside by using an augmented reality windshield. The idea is to display important info right on the glass to keep a driver's eye on the road, and it also means just a few digital displays are necessary for the physical instruments. For safety, a front-mounted camera and radar also help spot pedestrians and other potential hazards. Mitsubishi goes into elaborate detail about all of the eX's features in the announcement below.
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MITSUBISHI eX Concept – World Premiere

Evolution in EV Technology + Heart-thumping SUV Allure Next-generation Compact SUV

The MITSUBISHI eX Concept is a vision for a compact SUV powered by a next-generation EV system. In terms of design, overall it evokes the image of a sports crossover zipping nimbly around town as it merges the elegance and stylishness of a "shooting brake" (a term for a coupé with flowing styling fused with a hatchback car, the term originates from British hunting-use horse carriages) with compact SUV lines. The front end expresses a new interpretation of MMC's Dynamic Shield front design concept. In both its exterior and interior, the MITSUBISHI eX Concept indicates the direction MMC Design is taking.

The next-generation EV system employs a high-capacity and high-performance battery together with compact high-output electric motors making it lighter and more efficient. With further weight reductions in the vehicle itself, it can provide a cruising range of 400 km.

Installing the drive battery beneath the body has lowered the center of gravity and together with its Twin Motor 4WD and S-AWC integrated vehicle dynamics control systems helps it provide handling control which faithfully reflects driver inputs as well as outstanding vehicle stability. The MITSUBISHI eX Concept is a next-generation SUV a step ahead of EVs to date.

Other features include the application of automated driving technology which combines connected car technology, utilizing next-generation information systems, and advanced active safety technology. When it detects danger it quickly and precisely utilizes its safety features and is also equipped with functions which detect malfunctions or abnormalities early and advises the driver to take the vehicle in for repair or servicing.

Unleashing Pulsating Performance Spearheaded by Dynamic Shield Strength

The MITSUBISHI eX Concept's active, pulsating design uses a very dense, solid form that gives it a strong presence, looking as if it has been carved from a single block, as well as marrying the elegance and stylishness of a "shooting brake" car with the lines of a compact SUV. While luggage compartment provides ample space for outdoor pursuit gear, the MITSUBISHI eX Concept establishes styling which evokes an image of a sports crossover zipping nimbly around town.

The front is a new interpretation of the MMC Dynamic Shield design concept. For the MITSUBISHI eX Concept, the design takes a slightly more functional direction. In addition to the visual expression of the "shield" shape to protect people and the car alike, its daytime running lamps and the turning signal in the top make them more visible to pedestrians while the headlights are located under the ends of the bumper to prevent blinding oncoming vehicles and pedestrians. Another element that serves to enhance a feeling of reassurance is the use of rubber coating on the underside and the sides of the fascia where contact is possible with people or obstacles.

Comfortable Livability.

Advanced Systems Invite You to New Worlds.

The easy-access doors without center pillars lead occupants into a pleasing interior space. To also express what defines a "shooting brake" car inside the MITSUBISHI eX Concept, t he driver and passenger seats use different colors to give each side a different ambience, making for an interior space which is both sporty but also bright refined and spacious overall.

The use of a framed structure covered with soft-touch material for the dashboard and other major elements of the front compartment not only creates a sense of being light in weight visually – the car's structure actually reduces its weight.

The center console houses two portable batteries which can be used outside of the car to support the active lifestyles.

The MITSUBISHI eX Concept also employs an augmented reality*1 (AR) windshield in the front windshield as well as the Intelligent Display giving various driving information which is located in the center of instrument housing. Linking to an information network using connected car technology, the MITSUBISHI eX Concept brings new ways of enjoying the in-car experience as well as offering other possibilities.

*1.... A live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated graphics or sounds.

AR Windshield Minimizes Driver Eye Movement

Employing augmented reality technology, information acquired through linking with connected car technology is displayed on the AR windshield. Displaying such information within their forward field of view allows drivers to view changes in road conditions without having to make major movements of their line of sight. The kind of information that can be displayed includes: Route guidance from the car navigation system; Vehicle-to-vehicle distance alerts; Lane departure warnings; and information on fixed or movable traffic signs acquired by the camera-based road sign recognition system.

In addition, the AR windshield is fitted with the Caution Tracking which employs driver assistance technology using vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-road and vehicle-to-pedestrian communications to display guidance and warnings on information outside the driver's field of view, such as vehicles or pedestrians approaching intersections but hidden from the driver. Urging the driver to make split-second decisions and vehicle operations, the AR windshield supports safer driving.

Intelligent Display

Located in the upper part of the instrument housing, the Intelligent Display provides a portal to a whole range of driving information. Linked to the navigation app on a smartphone, it can display route guidance. Search information through a smartphone or PC is shared with AI via the Cloud and the car will display the driver's requested internet search information via the Cloud. The AI function of the Intelligent Display will make recommendations based on understanding of the driver's interests and hobbies.

Side View Monitors

Side View Monitors are located on either side of the main instrument housing. Replacing traditional door mirrors, they use high-definition cameras fitted to the car body to display the rearward field of view and so reduce the amount of eye movement the driver has to make.

Rear View Monitor

Replacing a rear view mirror, a rear view monitor mounted in the overhead console uses a high-definition camera fitted to the rear of the car to display the view behind the car. It provides a wider and clearer image of the view behind the car than a conventional rear view mirror.

Take EV a Step Further in Pioneering a New Future with a Next-generation EV System & Twin Motor 4WD/S-AWC

The MITSUBISHI eX Concept embodies the culmination of all the technologies MMC has developed to date and uses the next-generation EV system which brings together a longer cruising range as well as superior driving performance. The system is configured from a next-generation drive battery which greatly improves energy density of previous batteries and the front and rear compact high-output motors.

Together with the reduction in weight and higher efficiency of the new EV system, a non-compromising reduction in the weight of the body has given the MITSUBISHI eX Concept a cruising range of 400 km. This drivetrain delivers the kind of torquey acceleration that can only be enjoyed in an EV as it delivers 70 kW to both front and rear wheels for a total output of 140 kW of power.

The Twin Motor 4WD drivetrain incorporates the S-AWC*2 integrated vehicle dynamics control system which uses braking to control the front wheels and a transfer mechanism (Active Yaw Control) that varies torque split between the rear wheels. With the AYC controlling rear wheel drive split, the MITSUBISHI eX Concept delivers handling which faithfully reflects driver intent.

The driver can select between three different drive modes to extract the full performance of the S-AWC system. AUTO mode uses sensors and cameras which monitor and feed back road surface conditions to the S-AWC control unit so that it automatically selects the optimum drive mode for the surface conditions encountered along the route. GRAVEL delivers optimum traction and drive on unpaved roads and in heavy rain while SNOW delivers optimum handling on snow-covered or other slippery surfaces.

The MITSUBISHI eX Concept can be connected to a V2H device that allows the energy stored in the drive battery to supply enough electricity battery to power domestic appliances in an average household for four days. A 1500W 100V AC socket also allows the battery to power home electric appliances when enjoying outdoor pursuits.

*2...Super All-Wheel Control

Systematic showing composition of next-generation EV
Motor (Maximum Output : 70kW)
Battery Pack (Total Capacity: 45kWh)
Motor (Maximum Output : 70kW)

Mitsubishi Connect's Connected Car Technology Expands Horizons Makes Time in the Car Richer and More Enjoyable

MMC's advanced connected car technology integrates vehicles with information networks. By utilizing these networks, Mitsubishi Connect offers an even wide variety of services and brings a greater richness to your time in the car.

Know More, Explore More!

Artificial intelligence services linked to the Cloud can match information stored from internet searches and movements at home and places you visit with your interests and tastes. When the artificial intelligence service picks up information related to that in the Cloud while you are driving, it makes recommendations based on such information and can even send coupons to your smartphone! Mitsubishi Connect expands the horizons in terms of what you find fun, what makes you happy so that you do not miss out on exciting things out there in the world.

Prevention, Speedy Response Bring Greater Reassurance

Linked constantly to the Cloud, Mitsubishi Connect can help avoid accidents by combining and utilizing information about other vehicles and infrastructure near your car. It also analyzes the car to detect abnormalities or signs of malfunction before they occur, and encourages you to have it repaired or serviced.

Should you be involved in an accident, it automatically transmits sensor information on the damage (the seriousness of the crash, whether airbags have deployed or not, etc.) as well as the location of the crash through n vehicle emergency communication system. With these features Mitsubishi Connect offers all-round support for more reassuring and comfortable motoring.

Effective Use of Time, More Convenience with Smartphone Link

Connecting your car to the Internet allows you to make a reservation at a restaurant and make purchases with a reserved ticket before you arrive at the shop. In addition linking your car to a smartphone makes it possible to send and receive voice messages as well as use social network services. Using your time inside the car like this makes life so much more convenient.

Advanced Active Safety Technology Protects Occupants

Minimize Collisions, Minimize Damage or Injury

Further evolutions in MMC's advanced active safety technology system supports safer and more comfortable driving.

Advanced active safety technology system comprises the Forward Collision Mitigation system (FCM) and the Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS). The scope of these camera and radar-based systems have been expanded to detect pedestrians and bicycles. FCM automatically applies the brakes when the camera and radar detect a sudden reduction in the distance with the vehicle in front and helps to avoid a collision or reduce impact damage in the event of a collision. FCM also warns the driver if the camera and radar spot pedestrians and bicycles ahead at night or other times of poor visibility and the system determines there is the possibility of a collision. If necessary it will also automatically apply the brakes to avoid an accident to minimize or avoid injury.

Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS) + Brake Control use radar to detect obstructions either in front or behind the vehicle and regulates motor power when the driver presses their foot on the accelerator by mistake to prevent the vehicle from going forward. It also audibly and visually encourages the driver to take care.

Forward Collision Mitigation system responding to pedestrians and cyclists

Camera spots person
Acquires distance to person using laser beam
Blind Spot Warning system (BSW)
Lane Change Assist system (LCA)

The Blind Spot Warning system (BSW) uses ultrasound sensors and radar to monitor the areas behind the vehicle most likely to be blind spots. With both audible and visual alerts the system encourages the driver to take care when it detects a car behind, helping prevent them from failing to observe a vehicle at or approaching either rear corner from behind you when changing lanes on an expressway, for example.

The Lane Change Assist system (LCA) works in cooperation with BSW to assist the driver when there are traffic merging area or when changing lanes on a highway. Should a vehicle be detected approaching one of the rear corners of the car, LCA uses audible and visual alerts to encourage the driver to take care and automatically corrects the steering wheel angle if necessary to prevent contact with another vehicle.

Front & Rear Cross Traffic Alert

When driving either forward or backward out of a garage that faces the road, this front and rear mounted camera- and radar-based system issues a warning when it detects an approaching vehicle.

Road Condition Detection Sensor

As well as detecting irregularities in the road surface, this camera- and radar-based system deduces changes in the vehicle's operating environment – such as from asphalt to dirt to sand – and changes in road surface conditions due to the weather. This information is used in the control of the S-AWC integrated vehicle dynamics control system.

The system also shares this road surface information with other cars through a connected car link. For example, this allows cars to adjust their driving based on information from other cars in front of them about road conditions that have suddenly worsened. Also, in the event of a natural disaster, the system can store and analyze data detected by a number of vehicles and inform many more cars about which roads are passable and the condition of such roads.

Communications-based Accident Avoidance System

Employing vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-road and vehicle-to-pedestrian communications, this system helps prevent accidents by detecting objects the driver cannot readily see, and alerting the driver. For example: pedestrians on the other side of the car, or oncoming cars and pedestrians when you are waiting to turn at an intersection corner.

Automated Parking Assist

When parking in a garage or parallel-parking the car, this camera- and sensor-based system monitors the amount of space available and the perimeter of the car and then automatically operates the steering wheel and brakes to complete the parking maneuver. The system reduces effort and stress for drivers when parking in tight spaces.

Driver Monitor

The Driver Monitor system employs an infrared camera in the dashboard and sensors in the steering column and the driver's seat to monitor eye blinking, changes in posture, heart rate and other biological signals as well as vehicle drifting and other abnormalities in their driving to determine their level of wakefulness and encourages them to take a rest as necessary. Any time it detects a loss of concentration or that the driver has taken their eyes off the road ahead, the system immediately issues an alert.

More Convenient. More Reassuring.

Automated Driving Technology Brings People & Car Closer Together

The automated driving of a car, someday perhaps... Well, that dream is slowly but surely becoming a reality. The MITSUBISHI eX Concept pursues a variety of automated (and semi-automated running) driving technologies which are very compatible with EVs. MMC has developed, for example, a satisfying and convenient Automated Valet Parking system taking advantage of the precision control possible with electric motor drive. Also, utilizing the dependable torque generated by an electric motor EVs delivers driving performance which almost instantaneously responds to situational changes found in autonomous driving on roads solely for vehicular use, or in automated obstacle avoidance systems. Automated Driving Mode position lamps are switched on to tell other vehicles when the automated driving system has taken over operation of the car.

Automated Valet Parking System / Wireless Battery Charging

Valet parking refers to the service offered by hotels or restaurants when a member of staff will park your car for you when you stop at the entrance and fetch it from the car park for you when you are ready to go home. Smart Valet Parking refers to system where everything is done automatically by linking the parking area system and vehicle system using connected car technology.

Occupants get out of the vehicle after the driver leaves it at the Smart Valet Parking area. When they are ready to return home the driver can just press an icon on their smartphone or smartwatch and the vehicle automatically drives itself back to the original place Smart Valet Parking area where the driver first left it.

Smart Valet Parking systems provide EV charging bays with wireless charging which uses solar or other renewable energy sources. EVs that need their battery charged are automatically driven to an available parking spot with a charging bay. When it is time to leave, the vehicle automatically drives itself back to the Smart Valet Parking area to pick up the driver and other occupants. Departure times and other instructions can easily be changed using a smartphone or smartwatch.

Automated Driving (Semi-automated Running) on Highways and other Public Roads

Using information from vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-road communications as well as from cameras and radar mounted to the car, the automated driving system analyzes the situation around the perimeter of the vehicle and autonomously varies vehicle speed or changes lane accordingly. The system also acquires information from the Cloud on traffic conditions at the destination and assists the driver in avoiding accidents.

The major technologies employed include:

・Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC): When driving on highways or other roads this system uses vehicle-to-vehicle communications to share information on whether other vehicles are accelerating or decelerating and so make following a vehicle ahead smoother.

・Lane Keeping Assist (LKA): Uses cameras to determine the position of lane dividing lines and keep the vehicle between them.

・Automated Lane Change: This system promotes safer driving by cooperating with LCA and BWS changing lane when it detects changes in the road situation ahead such as congestion, lane restrictions due to road works, or an object that has fallen off a vehicle ahead.

In addition, an Automated Obstacle Avoidance System uses cameras and radar mounted to the vehicle and communications with vehicles in the vicinity, detecting any obstacles so the car can avoid them.
While intricately regulating the distance to other vehicles in the vicinity, whether in congested traffic or travelling at high speed on a highway, this makes for safer driving and also reduces electricity costs because it avoids unnecessary acceleration and braking.

MITSUBISHI ex Concept specifications
L x W x H (mm) 4240 x 1780 x 1575
Seats 5
Cruising range(JC08) 400 (km)
Max output F/R (kW) 70 / 70
Total capacity of battery (kWh) 45
Drive battery Lithium-ion cells
Drivetrain Twin Motor 4WD

50th Anniversary of Research & Development in EV Technology

MMC started researching electric vehicles (EV) in October 1966 as one of its environmental and energy measures. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of MMC's R&D work in the field of EVs.

The 1960s saw a remarkable growth in the private ownership of automobiles. In the 1970s this was accompanied by an increasing density in motor traffic in urban areas, a factor which led to traffic disasters and heavy congestion. In addition, the pollution stemming from vehicle emission gases and noise became a major social problem. The zero-emission EV came to be seen as a measure for reducing and preventing such pollution.

In 1966, before MMC split away from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, MHI signed an agreement with Tokyo Electric Power Company consigning to it "The building and testing of a prototype electric vehicle using improvements in current battery technology." At the same time MHI worked with Mitsubishi Electric and Japan Storage Battery Co., Ltd. (currently GS Yuasa Corporation*3 ) on the development of a future town car and special service vehicles that would help in preventing urban pollution. After completion of the prototype, MMC delivered ten E12-type EVs (Minica Van) to Tokyo Electric. The E12 EV was powered by lead accumulator batteries and recorded a top speed of 80 km/h.

MMC followed this by delivering electric vehicles based on the Minica Van, Minicab Van, Minicab Truck and Delica Van to power companies. In April 1991, working with Tokyo Electric Power Company MMC completed development of the Lancer Van EV bonnet-type van (with a hood/bonnet, not flat-nosed), a light commercial electric vehicle that was powered by nickel-cadmium batteries which had a higher energy density than the lead accumulator type. Two years later, in 1993 and reflecting the fruits harvested from the development of the Lancer Van EV, MMC developed the two Libero EV models, one powered by lead accumulator and the other by nickel-cadmium batteries. It delivered 28 of these to Tokyo Electric Power Company. By the end of 1996, MMC sold 7 Libero EVs powered by lead-accumulator batteries to government agencies (with a price tag of ¥11,230,000).

This is how MMC explored the possibilities of the EV as well as continuing its research and development of batteries, electric motors and other major EV components. So it was that MMC took interest in the lithium-ion cell, with its superior energy density and power output over conventional types of battery, from an early stage in its history. Spurred on by the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) legislation enacted in the State of California in 1990, MMC in 1994 set about developing the MITSUBISHI HEV plug-in hybrid EV powered by a lithium-ion battery module made by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. In 1995, MMC became the first company anywhere to sign a vehicle testing agreement with the State of California Air Resources Board (CARB) and supplied the Board with three test EVs.

After that, MMC sped up its research into lithium-ion batteries and in December 1999 took on the 24-hour EV distance record using a FTO-EV powered by lithium-ion-manganese batteries. With 20 minutes quick charging after every 50 minutes of driving, the FTO-EV covered 2,142.3 km beating the old record by no less than 442.3 km and earning it a place in the Guinness Book of records. Since then, MMC has continued developing, testing and demonstrating EV technology in many ways, including entering an Eclipse EV in the 2001 Shikoku EV Challenge which is open to EVs licensed for use on public roads, as it aims to increase battery performance, safety, reliability and durability.

*3...A company jointly established by Japan Storage Battery Co., Ltd. and Yuasa Corporation in 2004

Once MMC was confident that it would be able to commercialize the lithium-ion battery, motor and other major EV technologies, it announced in May 2005 that it would bring to market its own EV by the year 2010. After developing several research test vehicles including the Colt EV and Lancer Evolution MIEV, MMC started selling the i-MiEV to corporations in 2009, and in 2010, on schedule with its announcement, started sales to the general public. This was followed in 2013 by the launch of the Outlander PHEV, powered by an innovative hybrid powertrain which used both electric motors and a gasoline engine allowing it to charge the drive battery while on the move.

Electric-powered vehicles such as all-electric EVs, PHEVs and other electric vehicles offer benefits which go further than the fact that CO2 emissions are lower than a gasoline powered car or even zero. The high torque inherent to the electric motor makes for performance which is quiet while being powerful. In addition, they provide new uses for the car as a power generator and an energy storage battery. This functionality sees the automobile acquiring a new social and community value rather than just a personal value.

In order to forge ahead in creating a new age defined by the relationship between the automobile and people, society and the earth, MMC is working to further develop and promote the popularization of EV/PHEVs.

Mitsubishi Information


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