This year's Tokyo Auto Show included the debut of an all-new plug-in hybrid crossover concept from Mitsubishi. Dubbed the PX-MiEV II, the concept SUV marries attractive styling with cutting-edge new technology designed to maximize range, fuel efficiency and overall performance.
According to Mitsubishi, the PX-MiEV includes two electric motors - one on each axle - and one gasoline engine. Producing 80 horsepower each, the electric motors can propel the SUV more than 30 miles on their own before the crossover's gasoline engine kicks in. That powerplant, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing just 94 horsepower, can act as a generator for the electric motors or drive the PX's wheels on its own. The result is a range of nearly 500 miles, gas mileage that could top 100 miles per gallon and acceleration that rivals a traditional V6 thanks to the instant torque from the electric motors.
But saving the environment doesn't have to mean compromising on style. While many of the concept cars released at the Tokyo Auto Show are wild and unrealistic, the PX-MiEV II features handsome exterior styling that includes well-proportioned exterior dimensions, strong character lines down both sides and an attractive rear hatch that incorporates stylish clear tail lights. Indeed, the PX-MiEV's sleek design could blend in with many of today's cars.
The PX-MiEV offers several other new technologies that leave us hoping it sees production. Among them is a socket fitted to the SUV's exterior which allows electricity stored in its batteries to power electric appliances - a neat tool if you're camping. Also included is the a system dubbed Battery Drive Mode, which gives drivers the freedom to turn off the concept's gasoline engine and run solely on battery power - in a quiet neighborhood, for example. And thanks to Mitsubishi's rally-inspired Super-All Wheel Control all-wheel drive system - borrowed from the automaker's raucous Lancer Evolution sedan - the PX is unlikely to lose traction in any weather condition.
While the PX-MiEV is unlikely to see production, some of the SUV's technology could be adapted for use on a new production car in the near future. If that happens, it would give Mitsubishi a leg up in the world of EVs, since the automaker's fully electric i hatchback is already on sale across the globe.
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