Mitsubishi Concept-EZ MIEV Unveiled in Geneva

Mitsubishi Concept-EZ MIEV Unveiled in Geneva  
Filed under:
Concept Cars, Motor Shows, Mitsubishi Motors
on 03/07/2006



In parallel to the unveiling of its sporty Colt CZC coupé-cabriolet, the 76th Geneva Motor Show is also the showcase for Mitsubishi Motors Corporation´s vision of future automotive technologies and architecture, with the world premiere of Concept-EZ MIEV.

Following several running prototypes adapted from current models* where MMC´s proprietary MIEV** technology was tested, this long-term study in advanced architecture demonstrates for the first time its unique packaging benefits.

Layout revolution
Mitsubishi Motors' clever in-wheel MIEV drive system has a major impact on car design since it does without requiring transmissions, drive shafts, differential gears or other complex and heavy components. Or a bulky traditional engine for that matter.

Therefore, space-saving benefits of the in-wheel motors offer exciting possibilities in terms of architecture. MIEV allows designers to create innovative exteriors, improve dynamic performance through weight distribution optimization, provide roomier interior space and improve crash worthiness through optimization of the structural framework.

Concept-EZ MIEV is the first (concept) car to fully exploit the virtues of this innovative drivetrain, offering maximum interior space to passengers and/or cargo, within the very compact overall dimensions of a compact car.
* Colt EV, Lancer Evolution MIEV
** MIEV = Mitsubishi In-wheel motor Electric Vehicle

Whilst MIEV brought absolute freedom to Mitsubishi Design Europe (MDE), it also liberates the occupants of this urban capsule from the constrains of a traditional car interior, all the more valuable within the confines of a 3,70 m x 1,80 m x 1,75 m body.

Furthermore, the adoption of drive-by-wire technology for steering and brakes, retractable steering wheel (with fixed hub and rotating rim), as well as thin seating (foldable in the floor), contributes to maximizing interior space. The large and airy greenhouse plays adds to it, creating a light and open environment.

Mood modes
The inherent architectural flexibility and space liberated by the MIEV system inspired Concept-EZ MIEV´s interior design to reflect this honesty. It opened at Mitsubishi Design Europe a search through modern intuitive spatial use, epitomised here by three interchangeable "Modes". As such, they are capable of complimenting today´s multi-lifestyle mobile culture, where nothing is set in stone any longer, where trends and fashions bring further diversity, where plug-and-play nomadic devices (from laptops to MP3s) create new attitudes and bring down all boundaries.

Drawing on these static and free-roaming needs, each Mode provides alternative and ingenious solutions for user life, further enhanced by the clever openings and the long (2,75 m) wheelbase:

-"Driving Mode" allows for possible 4+1 seating and liberates limousine-dwarfing legroom/MPV-shaming headroom from within what remains a compact footprint.

-Effortlessly morphing into "Transport Mode", the inside-out design approach provides versatility to cater for practical and active life alike.

Removable luggage containers located in the front storage bay can be accessed through the exterior hatch, or even from inside, creating possible through-loading too.

As the rear seating area sinks into the floor - forming a flat area above the battery compartment - a surprising amount of cargo space can be liberated, accessible through the antagonist doors or the rear hatch.

-The floating conversion into "Lounge Mode", enhanced by the subtle ambient lighting, envelopes the occupants into a liberating yet cocooned club- like atmosphere. There, the simple and intuitive surround audio/video system can be deployed and fully enjoyed. Additionally, thought has also been put in to taking something out - namely the compact picnic tables and chairs that can be swiftly removed from their door mounts.

Inside out
Form following function, each design element of Concept-EZ MIEV has a purpose, starting with its square one-box shape, which echoes and maximizes the overall packaging efficiency. Same goes for smaller items, like the propeller shape of the wheels for instance. Designed in collaboration with the Italian company Toora, they contribute to the cooling of the four in-wheel MIEV motors.

Concept-EZ MIEV´s powerful stance avoids the cheeky look usually associated with urban/suburban cars for more a more substantial SUV-like approach. Echoing Mitsubishi Motors 4x4 heritage, it is emphasized by a 20" wheel at each corner, the visual toughness of the lower module (fenders, bumpers and hood) and the commanding driving position. All without being aggressive in any way.

Honest by essence, Concept-EZ MIEV´s chunky design does prioritize functionality with wide, simple, logical (hatch) and inviting (side antagonist doors) openings, as well as large glass area for optimum visibility.

Lastly, Concept-EZ MIEV reflects the true cosmopolitan flavor of our 21st century cities with its funky tire tread pattern designed in collaboration with Yokohama, where some of the most famous world sights are featured…

"i" safe
In spite of its compact size, Concept-EZ MIEV offers a high level of safety, inspired by the recent "i" kei-car launched in Japan on January 24th, 2006.

Like "i", Concept-EZ MIEV makes the best of its engine-less front with a very clean and honest design where glass is a major element, but also creating a ample crumple zone to protect the occupants and soft contours to protect pedestrian (including retractable wipers).

Next step MIEV
As for the Lancer Evolution MIEV unveiled in August 2005, the in-wheel motor chosen for Concept-EZ MIEV uses a hollow doughnut construction that locates the rotor outside the stator as opposed to a common electric motor where the rotor turns inside the stator.

This construction brings several benefits:

-it makes it easier to raise power output and torque,
-higher torque allows the speed reducer unit to be eliminated for improved power transmission efficiency. It also limits the increase of unsprung weight.

-it offers better space efficiency since the doughnut construction creates space in center of the motor for the brake assembly and other components.
-it also surmounts the difficulties presented to date by the steering system, making it suitable for fitting to and driving the front wheels of 4WD in- wheel motor vehicles.

The outer-rotor construction also allows the motor to be mounted on the front wheels, something not possible until now because of the presence of steering system components. This evolutionary feature has opened the door to the realization of 4WD in-wheel motor vehicles and widened the potential for EV's like Concept-EZ MIEV.

In the case of Concept-EZ MIEV, Mitsubishi Motors have chosen a combination of a 20 kW motor per wheel for a total output of 80 kW or 110 ps.

Each power unit offers further developments:
-Choice of on-demand 2WD or 4WD
-Motor-ASC Active stability Control system incorporated into the MIEV motors

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