Last friday at the unveiling of the Mitsubishi Electric Car, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited president and CEO, Robert McEniry told reporters that as part of the strategy for the future Mitsubishi will offer models with plug-in hybrid technology.
Mr McEniry confirmed that the Mitsubishi Challenger and Mitsubishi Pajero will be offered with plug-in hybrid technology for the next generation models.
“The next generation will be plug-in hybrid and will do more and have more capabilities than current models.” Mr McEniry said
At last year’s Tokyo motorshow Mitsubishi displayed a great number of new environmentally friendly vehicles including the Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV which uses a plug-in hybrid system.
Speaking to CarAdvice, Mitsubishi Head of Corporate Communications Lenore Fletcher said “Mitsubishi is pursuing an environmentally friendly vehicle strategy on many of its products on an international basis”
From the hints and concept cars we’ve seen over the last few months it would seem that along with the Mitsubishi Pajero & Challenger Hybrid the company might also bring out Lancer Hybrid, Colt Hybrid and Outlander Hybrid variants in the not so distant future.
It will be an interesting move for the Japanese company given its current focus on the Mitsubishi i-MiEV full-electric car. In due time we are likely to see a full-electric Mitsubishi Lancer / Colt as well.
Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid system as displayed in the PX-MiEV concept is driven through all four wheels by two permanent magnet synchronous motors in combination with a 1.6L DOHC MIVEC petrol engine which powers the front-wheels and acts as a generator.
Making use of a lot of complicated computer systems, the plug-in hybrid drivetrain can work out which mode to use to best save fuel. Interestingly it can even be used as an electricity generator when needed. So when put into power-supply mode it will allow the use of battery power to enable domestic appliances (great idea in case 2012 ends up being like the movie).
The different driving modes of the PX-MiEV are listed below:
- At low to middle vehicle speeds the Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV’s drive battery powers the front motor using front-wheel drive. When driving on snow, in the rain or in other low surface friction situations where maximum vehicle stability is required, the system automatically switches to four-wheel drive mode by feeding power to the rear wheel motor as well when sensors detect any front wheel slip.
Series hybrid mode
- When the remaining energy in the drive battery falls to a predetermined level the system starts the gasoline engine to generate electricity and automatically switches to the series hybrid mode using the electricity generated to power the motors. In this mode as well, the system switches to four-wheel drive by driving the rear motor depending on driving conditions.
Parallel hybrid mode
- At higher vehicle speeds the car is supported by the gasoline engine which operates more efficiently than the electric motors at high revolutions. In this mode, the gasoline engine also helps drive the wheels. When the driver makes sudden lane changes or other maneuvers requiring greater vehicle stability the system switches to four-wheel drive by bringing in the rear motor to drive the rear wheels, improving stability. In addition when overtaking at higher speeds or in other situations requiring faster acceleration the system switches in both front and rear motors to provide additional power and assist the gasoline engine, providing high acceleration.
- When the vehicle is slowing or coasting down a long descending slope the system switches to regenerative mode in which kinetic energy reclaimed from the wheels is stored in the drive battery.
- As with the production i-MiEV, Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV features a 3-way battery charging system using either a 100-volt or a 200-volt domestic supply or a high-power quick-charging station. The system also incorporates a Wireless Charging Program feature that allows the owner to start charging the battery or start the air conditioner at a preset time even when away from the vehicle.
Power supply mode
- The Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV also subscribes to the “Smart Grid” concept that calls for maximizing the effective use of electrical power and which is currently attracting attention in the fight to combat global warming. When not on the road the Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV allows the owner to store electricity at night and then use that electricity via the normal charging connector to power home appliances during the daytime when domestic electricity consumption is highest. This allows the drive battery to be used as a power source in the event of a natural disaster. Should the electricity left in the battery fall below a predetermined level, the gasoline engine starts up and works as generator to maintain the power supply at a fixed level.|A 100-volt AC auxiliary socket in the rear luggage compartment also allows the electricity stored in the drive battery to be used to power cooking or lighting equipment and other appliances when camping or engaged in other leisure activities.