Mitsubishi to preview new hybrid SUV at Tokyo motorshow

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    Mitsubishi’s small hybrid SUV concept.
    Mitsubishi’s small hybrid SUV concept.

    By Deriq T. Bernard

    MITSUBISHI is going to show off its newest, small plug-in hybrid electric SUV concept car at the 46th Tokyo Motor Show this year.

    Embodying the values of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation’s (MMC) brand message “Drive your Ambition,” the small electric SUV concept car pulls together the company’s electrification and all-wheel drive control expertise and technologies.

    It is expected to utilize a hybrid powerplant smaller and lighter than its current plug-in hybrid system found in the Outlander PHEV. The official statement about the new car describes it as “an electric SUV that delivers unparalleled driving pleasure and confidence over all terrain in light and wind.”

    Though there are no technical details of the new hybrid system yet, MMC said that it take the best of the sport utility vehicle (SUV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and four wheel drive (4WD) technologies. The car will have a downsized, lower-weight PHEV drivetrain, as well as an electric 4WD system.

    The current plug-in hybrid tech combined a 2.4-litre petrol engine with a 13.8kWh battery and twin electric motors. A downsized powerplant will power this new hybrid small SUV, which could theoretically also be used to propel its smaller multi-passenger and multi-purpose vehicles.

    The only photo of the new vehicle officially released by MMC is a silhouette that reveals a short trunk lid and a lift-gate shape. There is also what appears to be two massive fairings with a carbon fiber finish. On top of those fairing are what looks like exhaust fans or intake ports—much like that of a Japanese anime robot. There are also what looks like a glass panel that covers an electric motor or electric motor controller.

    The shadowy image was clever done. It is very intriguing because the shape seems to follow that of the rear hatch of the Eclipse Cross, a small SUV that MMC produces for other markets and is not available in the Philippines.

    In its official “teaser” press statement, MMC said it wants the new SUV to “deliver a new kind of driving experience that an electric SUV realizes; one that offers reassurance and safety in everyday driving about town, while allowing drivers of all abilities to confidently push further over the unmade or rough road surfaces when engaging in outdoor activities.”

    Mitsubishi was one of the first manufacturers to offer a plug-in-hybrid SUV for sale. The Outlander PHEV has already sold over 200,000 worldwide since its launch in 2013 and is the company’s technology flagship. Its success is clearly the inspiration for this new hybrid, mini-SUV as it was able to demonstrate the ability of such as platform to meet consumer demand for electrified vehicles.