|Concept GC-PHEV. Click to enlarge.|
Mitsubishi staged the North American debut of its Concept GC-PHEV (“Grand Cruiser”)—a next-generation full-size crossover plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.) The Concept GC-PHEV features a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline engine paired with a high-output electric motor; 12 kWh lithium-ion battery; 8-speed automatic transmission; and Mitsubishi Motors’ advanced full-time Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive. The PHEV drivetrain offers high performance (335 bhp/250 kW) combined with excellent fuel economy.
For additional power optimization with reduced exhaust emissions, the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine benefits from the latest iteration of Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) variable valve timing.
The system’s high-capacity main drive lithium-ion battery pack can also act as a mobile power source. The 100 volt AC onboard electrical outlet is capable of delivering an external power supply of up to 1500 watts of electrical energy—suitable for acting as an emergency power source for home appliances in the event of a power outage. Using the energy stored within a fully charged lithium-ion battery pack alone, the Concept GC-PHEV can supply the equivalent of a days worth of electrical power consumption to the average household. With a fully charged battery pack and a full tank of gas to recharge the battery when necessary, this advanced PHEV drivetrain can provide nearly two weeks (13 days) of emergency power to the average household.
When driving, the PHEV system automatically switches operation between pure EV mode (all-electric) and hybrid mode (engine and electric motor) depending upon driving conditions, remaining energy within the lithium-ion main drive battery pack, and other factors. In EV mode, the transmission allows the engine's output efficiency to be maximized at all vehicle speeds. When driving in hybrid mode, the 8-speed automatic transmission extracts power from the engine while the high-output electric motor kicks in to provide additional power, if required.
Super All-Wheel Control. Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system not only includes electronically-controlled front and center limited-slip differentials but also benefits from a proprietary Electronic-powered Active Yaw Control (E-AYC) system that more precisely controls left/right torque vectoring of the wheels by using a differential motor.
The implementation of a differential motor not only improves response but makes for a much more energy efficient system when compared to a conventional hydraulically-operated yaw control system. This helps the E-AYC system to more efficiently recover energy when the vehicle is decelerating.
Connected Car Technology. The Concept GC-PHEV has been equipped with Mitsubishi Motors’ connected car technology that makes use of next-generation information systems. The connected car systems not only provide an additional level of information and driving-related logistics in a convenient and easy-to-use system, but they can potentially reduce the risk of accidents involving other drivers as well as pedestrians/cyclists by keeping the driver better informed about traffic signal status as well as other vehicles and objects within the vicinity of their vehicle.
By linking to a vehicle information network, the Concept GC-PHEV's connected car system uploads real-time vehicle status information to the network while simultaneously downloading external data. Information received includes traffic within the area, the status of the traffic signal ahead (currently red, yellow or green), and other information to help the driver operate their car more economically and efficiently.
Another important role for connected car technology is in the area of vehicle diagnostics. For example, the system can detect if there is a mechanical issue with the car, alert the driver to the severity of the problem, then provide information so that the driver can drive to the closest Mitsubishi Motors service center in the area (if deemed necessary). Furthermore, should the vehicle be involved in an accident, the connected car system can immediately contact emergency responders as well as provide them with important information (severity of the crash, alert first responders that the vehicle has a high-voltage system if the vehicle is an EV/PHEV, etc.).
Safety. The Mitsubishi Concept GC-PEV has been equipped with the following advanced safety systems:
AR Windshield. The AR Windshield makes use of augmented reality technology to display critical data to the driver while the vehicle is on the move, greatly improving safety for the vehicle's occupants as well as pedestrians by allowing drivers to more efficiently maintain control of their car without taking their eyes off of the road in front of them. Information projected onto the windshield includes: Satellite navigation-based drive route guidance; Distance to vehicle ahead; Lane Departure Warning alerts; Vehicles/pedestrians in blind spots; Caution Tracking information that includes vehicle-to-vehicle communications; and Rearward Blind Spot Vehicle Warning.
Rearward Blind Spot Vehicle Warning helps to minimize collisions by alerting the driver of a vehicle approaching from behind. Additionally, the system will detect and alert the driver to the presence of a vehicle or other objects (pedestrians or cyclists in motion, stationary obstructions such as a parked vehicle, fire hydrant, etc.) when the driver’s own vehicle is backing up.
Pedestrian Collision Mitigating Auto-braking. Pedestrian Collision Mitigation Auto-braking utilizes both radar- and camera-based systems to detect when a pedestrian walks in front of the vehicle, then automatically applies the brakes to help mitigate injury to the pedestrian or to avoid a collision altogether.
Unintentional Vehicle Move Off Control. The remarkably intuitive Unintentional Vehicle Move Off Control system operates through a camera mounted at the front of the vehicle working in coordination with a variety of sensors. It detects the mistaken or unintended use of the accelerator instead of the brake pedal and then limits engine power to help restrain forward movement of the vehicle. The system also issues a warning to the driver.
Driver Monitor. The Driver Monitor, using sensors in the steering system and driver’s seat, as well as a camera positioned in front of the driver, detects changes in the driver’s posture and/or eye blinking to determine their level of alertness. If the system detects any abnormalities in driving behavior caused by fatigue or inattentiveness, it will instantly alert the driver. Furthermore, if the system determines that the driver’s level of concentration has diminished or that they are taking their eyes off of the road for too long, it will sound an alert to get the driver’s attention.
Forward Collision Mitigation. A radar-based system that, in certain circumstances, helps determine if a frontal collision is imminent and then warns the driver with audible and visual signals. If necessary, the system automatically applies emergency braking to reduce the severity of the collision.
Lane Departure Warning. The Lane Departure Warning system is a camera-based system that helps to monitor the lane position of the vehicle and warns the driver via visual and audio alerts should they begin to veer into the next lane.
Adaptive Cruise Control. This radar-based sensor at the front of the vehicle constantly measures distance between itself and the vehicle in front of it, allowing the driver to select between different following distance settings.
Auto Hi-beam Headlights. Through the use of an onboard camera, the Auto Hi-beam Headlights will automatically dim when the system detects oncoming vehicles or pedestrians, re-illuminating the headlights at full strength once the objects have passed.
Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control are already available on the recently redesigned 7-passenger 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander crossover vehicle.
Future Safety Technologies. The advanced systems on display in the Concept GC-PHEV crossover foreshadow coming automotive-related technologies that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) designers and engineers have planned for the near future. Some of these advanced automotive technologies that will likely make their way into future Mitsubishi production cars include:
Next-Generation Driver Safety Support System (DSSS). An infrastructure-to-vehicle communication system, the Driver Safety Support System improves vehicle occupant and pedestrian safety by communicating between Mitsubishi vehicles and road infrastructure. This helps to prevent accidents by warning the driver of the vehicle—or pedestrians and cyclists not even visible to the driver further down the road—of each other’s presence and/or pending interaction. For example, a DSSS system using roadside sensors and cameras could alert the driver to the presence of pedestrians/cyclists in the area, thus helping to reduce the chance of an accident.
Lane Keep Assist. Lane Keep Assist technology provides handling support if deemed necessary to prevent the driver from drifting out of their lane due to inattentiveness or fatigue. Along with a traffic sign recognition system that uses an onboard camera to recognize road signs, the system can further alert the driver about the road signs through additional information and/or warnings. In the event of an emergency, the system will then activate an engine speed limiter.
Operation via Smartphone Remote Control. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation designers and engineers are working on new ways to improve the ease of use and convenience of electric- and plug-in hybrid vehicles that will soon make their way into the companys production models as part of its Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) efforts. The introductory phase of this program will likely include user-friendly smartphone apps that will allow Mitsubishi electric vehicle owners to: Help determine the most cost efficient means of vehicle charging; Check on electricity rates in varying locations; and Help select off-peak times to charge their EV/PHEV. Additionally, Mitsubishi Motors is working on developing smartphone apps for all of their customers to be able to obtain current city street and freeway information as well as traffic conditions.
Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control. Working in tandem with the Lane Keep Assist system, Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control provides forward visual assistance on roads and highways by sharing acceleration, deceleration and braking input information with the vehicle in front of it by using vehicle-to-vehicle as well as available vehicle-to-infrastructure communication systems to establish and maintain accurate and efficient distances between the two vehicles. This not only helps to improve safety but also encourages more efficient vehicle operation as well by reducing traffic congestion.