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Mitsubishi i MiEV To Undergo US Testing This Fall

During the New York auto show’s Press Days, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. displayed a right-hand drive i MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle), the electric-powered version of Mitsubishi’s i kei-car, and announced that the vehicle would undergo testing in the US beginning in fall 2008, via a small pilot program in conjunction with US utility companies.

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The i MiEV at NYIAS.

Mitsubishi is also displaying two concept cars in New York: the i MiEV Sport and the Concept-cX, both of which debuted at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show.

The i MiEV SPORT uses MMC’s in-wheel motors to drive the front wheels, and a single motor in the back. The vehicle also employs solar panels in its roof, along with a small wind turbine driven by the airflow passing through the front grill. The vehicle is charged with its wireless microwave-based battery-charging system. The Concept-cX mates MMC’s new 1.8-liter clean diesel engine to the company’s Twin Clutch automated manual transmission.

The New York International Auto Show runs through March 30.

—Jack Rosebro

Comments

realarms

What use is the wind turbine in the front grill? To increase air resistance? Better make the front more aerodynamic and save multiple times the energy wasted by trying to recover it with a wind turbine... I assume an emergency power supply (like in an airplane) is not necessary on road-going vehicles (and a 12V battery should have enought juice to provide emergency lights and steering support.)

Also, what efficiency has the recharging system using microwaves? Most likely, some kind of magnetron is used to convert the energy to microwaves (~65%), but the drawback is, that the frequency generated is typically in-tune with the molecular resonance frequency of biological matter, ie. any bystanders will readily absorb any stray energy and heat up in the process - just think of an open, operating microwave oven...
So, in order to limit that effect, sender and receiver need to be very close to each other, and a waveguide needs to shield the radiation - overall, you will have to make physical contact with the charger still (just like in the EV non-ohmic rechargers).

An intelligent recharger, using electric contacts, has an efficiency of way more than 99% - and unless you use 18th century technology, the contacts can be made safe to human touch and only go to high-power mode once a proper connection with a vehicle has been made, and the charging parameters have been exchanged between vehicle and station (including checks for contact resistance, and verification that the plug has been inserted fully).

drivin98

@realarms: It's a concept car. Those particular items probably wouldn't make it to production. Regardless, you misunderstand they way the turbines operate and invent the risk of microwaving humans.
The turbines collect energy when the vehicle is slowing down or, presumably, stopped and there happens to be a head wind. They aren't there to try to scavenge energy. That would be dumb. The Japanese aren't dumb. Which is also why they wouldn't use that particular wireless charging system if there were any potential risk to humans.

gr

Since "microwaves" start at around 1gHz they could be using spectrum far below cooking frequencies e.g. 2.4gHz used for wireless networks. But that still requires shielding and would cause interference with data networks. Wireless recharging by induction didn't seem to help the EV1 much and adds cost to the charge infrastructure. A good old contact connector with ground loop detection and a physical interlock would cost a lot less and eliminate RF interference potentials.

Patrick

No, the BIGGEST problem with any type of wireless RF based power transmission technology is avoiding interference with other devices in the area.

There will be many frequencies "owned" by entities, frequencies specified to certain types of use, and then after you meet all FCC 47CFR requirements you have to worry about interfering with any NTIA users (federal goverment, the military uses lots of microwave).

Japan has virtually ZERO 2-way radio usage so these type of interference problems rarely occur to them unless they have been selling numerous RF devices into the US market (and even then they still trip over themselves on occassion when venturing into new territory within the US market).

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