Geneva 2013: Mitsubishi Electrifies Pickup, Hints At Next i-MiEV

Whatever you think about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric hatchback, you do have to admit that it’s a technological leap for a company that previously had no hybrids or EVs in its stable. Mitsubishi used its stage at this week’s Geneva Motor Show to show off its next generation of electrified vehicles, including a hybrid pickup and next-generation EV.

The next-generation EV in question is the Mitsubishi Concept CA-MiEV. Mitsubishi didn’t really explain what CA-MiEV stands for, but says that it’s a technological showcase car that shows what its EV engineers have been working on since the i-MiEV first debuted. We’ve heard some scuttlebutt that this could preview a next-generation i-MiEV model, but Mitsubishi also says that the “demonstrator” car has no production intent at this point in time.

If this is the next-generation i-MiEV after all, we can look forward to a larger car with more power, range, and convenience. Although the car’s wheelbase doesn’t change, the CA-MiEV is 159.4 inches long, up from 144.9 inches, and grows from 62.4 inches to 69.9. The overall height decreases from 63.6 inches to 61.0, which suggests the next car will have a much less upright seating position.

The CA-MiEV is powered by an 107-hp electric motor (up from just 63 for the current model) and a 28-kW battery pack, up from 16 kW on the current car. Mitsubishi estimates that these changes will boost range all the way to 186 miles (300 km), three times more than the i-MiEV’s 62 mile-range. The car also shows off new technologies like magnetic resonance inductive charging (which ditches the plug and charges the car wirelessly), an integrated motor/inverter/charger (which decreases weight and increases efficiency) and a flat, floor-mounted battery pack that makes room for a future range-extending engine.

The CA-MiEV will seat five people, but Mitsubishi has something altogether different in mind for people looking to haul things. It’s the GR-HEV, a sport utility vehicle/truck hybrid powered by a hybrid powertrain.

The GR-HEV features a 2.5-liter clean diesel engine and an electric motor mated to an automatic gearbox and electronically controlled four-wheel drive. The battery pack for the hybrid is mounted within the ladder frame; that’s both a clever use of packaging and strange to hear—most hybrids (with GM’s SUV and truck hybrids the notable exception) are unibody.

Mitsubishi says that the diesel-hybrid setup makes for a better truck: the electric motor can boost acceleration while the diesel engine’s turbocharger is spooling up, or towards the top end of the rev range when the engine runs out of puff. If that’s not enough to catch your fancy, Mitsu also proposes that the hybrid system’s battery pack could power accessories like winches.

The two electrified Mitsus join the Outlander plug-in hybrid on the stand at the Geneva show today, but there’s no word on if/when these vehicles will make it to market.

Source: Mitsubishi

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