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More details on Mitsubishi’s three hybrid concepts: two PHEVs and one 48V mild hybrid

Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) is showcasing its three new hybrid drive concepts—two plug-ins and one 48V mild hybrid—at the Geneva Motor Show. The three vehicles were introduced earlier at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (earlier post).

Concept GC-PHEV. Concept GC-PHEV (for “Grand Cruiser”) is a next-generation full-time 4WD full-size SUV, fitted with an advanced plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) powertrain. Applying Outlander PHEV’s engineering fundamentals to a much bigger, more powerful, all-terrain (where legal) high-end full-size SUV, Concept GC-PHEV develops plug-in hybrid electric powertrain technology further.

In this case, the PHEV powertrain is made of a 250 kW (335 hp) 3.0-liter V6 super-charged MIVEC gasoline engine, a clutch, an 8-speed automatic transmission, a 70 kW electric motor and a 12 kWh battery pack, the latter installed under the rear cargo floor for better front/rear weight distribution.

Concept GC-PHEV. Click to enlarge.   PHEV system elements. Click to enlarge.

As for Outlander PHEV, this new PHEV system automatically switches automatically between pure EV Mode and Hybrid Mode(s) depending on driving conditions, remaining battery charge and other factors.

In the case of Concept GC-PHEV, Mitsubishi Motors engineers took the PHEV concept even further:

  • Integration of an 8-speed automatic gearbox: integral to the PHEV system. In EV Mode, it is intended to maximize motor output efficiency at all vehicle speeds (within legal limits). Electric range is around 40 km (31 miles). In Hybrid Mode(s), it extracts power from the engine while the high-output motor kicks in to provide additional power as and when required.

  • Move from two electric motors (front and rear) as fitted to Outlander PHEV to one single motor, saving on weight and friction losses.

Concept GC-PHEV PHEV’s high-capacity battery can be used as an external power source. The 100V AC on-board socket can output up to 1500 watts of electrical energy, ideal for powering equipment when camping or enjoying other outdoor pursuits as well as providing an emergency power source for domestic appliances. The system can supply the equivalent of a day’s power consumption in an average household from the battery alone and up to a maximum of up to 13 days when the engine is used to fill the battery.

Super-All Wheel Control - Drive. Originally introduced with Lancer Evolution and then extended to Outlander PHEV, Mitsubishi Motors’ advanced Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) integrated vehicle dynamics control system—working mainly by controlling torque distribution to and braking effort at each wheel—has been optimized for Concept GC-PHEV to provide handling that accurately reflects driver intent together with vehicle stability.

Click to enlarge.

In this new application, S-AWC is based on a full-time 4WD system including a rear differential + an Electronically-controlled Limited Slip Differential (LSD) at the front + another Electronically-controlled Limited Slip Differential in the centre + an Electric-Active Yaw Control (E-AYC) unit at the rear. The latter uses torque from the electric motor to precisely control torque distribution to each rear wheel, providing excellent vehicle stability.

Furthermore, low range—to be used off road (where legal)—is obtained through a centrally-mounted Sub-Transmission unit, acting as transfer case. According to road surface conditions and the selected traction mode, S-AWC works in cooperation with the PHEV system to assist the driver in following their chosen line through corners as well as realizing remarkable all-terrain (where legal) performance.

Concept GC-PHEV also features MMC’s next generation electronic “active” safety system in cooperation with connected car technology to provide an enhanced level of vehicle and occupant protection through forward, rear blind-spot assistance.

In the case of Concept GC-PHEV, the system includes:

  • Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, with Lane Keep Assist which provides forward visual assistance on motorways and main roads by sharing acceleration/deceleration information on the vehicle in front using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to realize more accurate distance-to-vehicle-in-front control, while also encouraging more economical operation of the vehicle and helping to relieve traffic congestion.

  • Lane Keep Assist function provides appropriate handling support to prevent the driver from drifting out of their lane due to fatigue or inattention. The system includes a Traffic Sign Recognition System which uses an on-board camera to recognize and inform the driver about road signs, and also activates the engine speed limiter in an emergency.

  • Adaptive Headlamps use the on-board camera to detect the position of oncoming vehicles or pedestrians while the headlamps are on high beam and blank off that area of illumination to prevent dazzling.

For all-directional driver assistance, the electronic “active” safety system employs eight infrared cameras—two at the top of the windscreen, one in each A pillar, one behind each rear door window, and one on either side at the top of the tailgate—to scan the periphery of the vehicle. High definition image processing enables the system to instantly and accurately detect any risk factors close to the vehicle. The system also uses a Night Eye Multi-around Monitor to rapidly alert and warn the driver of the approach of any obstacles or other vehicles.

The Mitsubishi electronic “active” safety system also incorporates many other functions including:

  • Pedestrian Collision Mitigating Auto-braking: This radar- and camera-based system detects pedestrians ahead of the vehicle at night and in other situations where they are difficult to spot and alerts the driver to their presence. The system will also automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision or to mitigate injury.

  • Rearward Blind Spot Vehicle Warning: This system helps avert collisions by alerting the driver to the presence of vehicles approaching from behind. This system also functions to detect and warn the driver of the presence of vehicles or other objects behind the driver’s own vehicle while reversing, such as when parking or leaving their garage.

  • Driving Safety Support System: promoted by the Japanese National Police Agency, it enhances safety by utilizing communications with vehicles and road infrastructure to warn the driver of traffic signals ahead as well as the approach of pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists at junctions and urge the driver to slow down.

  • Unintentional Vehicle Move Off Control:When a front-mounted camera spots any objects immediately in front of the vehicle and sensors detect the mistaken use of the accelerator instead of the brake pedal, the system operates to limit engine power and restrain forward movement of the car. The system also urges the driver to be more careful.

  • Driver Monitor: Uses an infrared camera installed in front of the driver as well as sensors in the steering system and in the driver seat to monitor eye blinking and changes in posture to assess the driver’s level of alertness. If the system detects abnormalities in driving behavior, such as when the car starts to wander on the road, it instantly alerts the driver and urges taking a rest. It also alerts the driver when it determines their concentration has dropped or when they glance away from the road in front.

Concept XR-PHEV. Concept XR-PHEV (“X (cross) over Runner”) is a next-generation C-Segment crossover using Mitsubishi Motors’ plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) powertrain in a front-wheel drive layout and blending SUV functionality with sport coupe design.

Concept XR-PHEV uses a lightweight and high-efficiency front-wheel drive PHEV system derived from the system used to power the Outlander PHEV. In this new configuration, Mitsubishi Motors’ PHEV powertrain is made of a 100 kW (134 hp) 1.1-liter in-line 3-cylinder MIVEC turbocharged gasoline engine; a single (instead of two for Outlander PHEV) lightweight, compact and high-efficiency 120 kW motor with a high-boost converter at the front; and a 14 kWh battery under the floor. The boost converter increases motor and generator output and efficiency.

Concept XR-PHEV. Click to enlarge.   Drive system layout. Click to enlarge.

Opting for a front-wheel drive PHEV system with no motor at the rear reduces weight as well as friction losses and returns improvements in fuel and electricity economy.

From the default mode of pure EV, Concept XR PHEV powertrain automatically selects from two additional drive modes—Series Hybrid and Parallel Hybrid—the one best-suited to driving conditions and remaining battery charge, just like with Outlander PHEV.

Along the same lines, 100% EV driving is possible through use of Battery Charge Mode or Battery Save Mode. Electric range is around 85 km (52 miles.)

Concept XR-PHEV is also fitted with 100V AC on board sockets capable of giving an external supply of up to 1500W of power. The system can supply enough electricity to power domestic appliances for a full day from the drive battery alone and up to a maximum of 10 days when the engine is used to fill the battery.

Mild hybrid Concept AR (Active Runabout). The front-wheel drive Concept AR is powered by a lightweight mild hybrid Belt-driven Starter and Generator system (BSG). A 100 kW 1.1-liter 3-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged MIVEC gasoline engine mated to a 10 kW, 48 V BSG torque circuit with a 48V, 0.25 kWh lithium-ion battery.

The rear-mounted battery and converter work in cooperation to provide instant engine restarting after an idle-stop and to deliver torque assist under acceleration.

Concept AR. Click to enlarge.   Hybrid system components. Click to enlarge.

BSG is used to recover kinetic energy during regenerative braking to further improve fuel economy and CO2 emissions and to offer a pleasant experience to all on-board.

During its development, Concept AR has also been subject to a weight reduction program targeting the engine and the hybrid system overall together with the more extensive use of high-tensile strength steel panels as already implemented in Mitsubishi Motors’ latest products (Outlander / Mirage) and also, of lightweight structural materials in strategic locations. This significant weight reduction also contributes significantly to the dynamic and environmental performances of the vehicle.

This weight reduction was extended to the no-frill design of the dashboard, seats and even the choice of upholstery trim. The result is a significant reduction in fuel consumption together with a smoother and more comfortable ride.


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