Tokyo '09: Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV Hybrid Could Preview New Compact SUV

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Mitsubishi will be showing an all-new compact crossover concept model called the PX-MiEV at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show in late October. At 4,510mm (177.6-in.) long, 1,830mm (72-in.) wide and 1,655mm (65-in.) tall, with a wheelbase of 2,630mm (103.5-in.), the PX-MiEV Concept is shorter (-130mm / 4.3'') but wider than the current generation Outlander SUV.

The concept is motivated by a new plug-in hybrid drivetrain that combines a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and Mitsubishi's all-new S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control), that utilizes E-AYC (Electric-powered Active Yaw Control) to transfers torque to the rear left and right wheels, with a pair of electric motors (one at each axle) and a battery.

The battery can be replenished either through regenerative breaking, the gasoline engine or via a regular household plug or a high-power quick-charging station.

Mitsubishi said that at low to middle speeds the PX-MiEV relies on the front electric motor to move the vehicle. If the driver is confronted with snow, rain or any other low surface friction situations then the system automatically switches to four-wheel drive mode by feeding power to the rear electric motor.

When the battery is low on power, the system starts the gasoline engine to generate electricity and automatically switches to the series hybrid mode using the electricity generated to power the two electric motors.

At higher speeds the gasoline engine drives the front wheels but if necessary, the system switches in both front and rear electric motors to provide additional power and assist the petrol unit engine, providing high acceleration.

The PX-MiEV's exterior styling is rather simple while the futuristic-looking interior is said to have been designed to give an image of an airplane cockpit in order to improve the driver's concentration - or so Mitsubishi claims.

Other notable features on PX-MiEV include the electronically-controlled air suspension that gives the driver the choice of three ride height modes (auto, high and low) and a new "Multi-Around Monitor" that uses cameras located at strategic points on the body to provide the driver with a combined image of the full perimeter of the vehicle.