Image credits: © Mitsubishi.
2009 Mitsubishi i MiEV Sport Air Concept
Whilst the idea of an electric sports car is not new, not much thought has been given by mainstream manufacturers to the proposition of a proper sports car as an electric vehicle (EV) until now.
Blending its sporting heritage with leading expertise in the development of the EV, Mitsubishi Motors is providing a clear new look on the world, in more ways than one. The clear removable top of the i MiEV SPORT 'AIR' will be premiered at the forthcoming 2009 Geneva Motor Show.
Taking a step beyond being merely 'green', this all-electric zero CO2 emission sports concept builds upon the fundamentals of the EV by marrying: the powerful acceleration and high torque inherent to electric motors, the safe driving dynamics that stem from i MiEV's lithium-ion battery pack located within its long wheelbase and the low centre of gravity.
The i MiEV SPORT 'AIR' is a new-age ''pocket rocket'' and signals the direction in which the Mitsubishi sports EV may take in the future.Source - Mitsubishi
MITSUBISHI MOTORS AT THE 2009 GENEVA MOTOR SHOWReshaping the Future
Blending sporting heritage with EV leading expertise, Mitsubishi Motors has just taken that upside down view to create the 'clear cutaway' roof i MiEV SPORT AIR.
One step beyond being merely green, this zero on-road CO2 emission racy concept builds upon those EV fundamentals, marrying:
• the powerful acceleration and high torque inherent to electric motors.
• the safe driving dynamics that stem from i MiEV's lithium-ion battery pack, ideally located within its long wheelbase and the low centre of gravity it therefore implies. Design
A derivative of the acclaimed and equally zero CO2 emission 2007 i MiEV Sport show car, the longer (+ 20 cm) and taller (+ 12 cm) i MiEV SPORT AIR trades the cheeky look of its predecessor for the more technical approach of its teardrop shape: from the clamshell effect of its deep(er) windshield and diminutive bonnet to the sharper shape of its front end – complete with an inverted Jet Fighter 'grille', or the flush glazing over the B-pillar.
Appropriately for an EV, a semi-transparent embedded solar panel is used on the bonnet and 'clear cutaway' roof panel, while the 'printed circuit board' motif continues inside, highlighting points inside the cabin.
Inside, i MiEV SPORT AIR offers a welcoming ambience in a design that uses organic shapes and lighting to create a comfortable and restful space. The wrap-around cockpit design, on the other hand, is styled to alert the driver to the high performance potential of the car the moment he sits behind the wheel. The main controls and switches are all ergonomically grouped around the dial-type shifter, making for more positive location and operation by the driver. Mitsubishi's proprietary Green Plastics are used for the carpeting, the seat back panels and side covers.
i MiEV SPORT AIR features exterior and interior colouring that takes 'Japanese Technology' as its theme in projecting both a friendly, approachable image and high-tech looks.EV system
i MiEV SPORT AIR employs the same rear-midship layout as i MiEV but uses a more powerful version of the permanent magnet synchronous electric motor that powers the base model, generating 60 kW of power (vs. i MiEV's 47 kW) and 230 Nm of torque (180 Nm.) The car also exploits its long wheelbase to locate the large-capacity lithium-ion battery system under the floor deck.
To lower the centre of gravity and increase driving stability the main EV system components (battery module, inverter, battery charger) are located as low as possible. The roof panel is made of lightweight plastic to facilitate fitting and removal as well as to further lower the car's centre of gravity.
i MiEV SPORT AIR's modular body structure uses tailgate panels and plastic body to reduce weight around the rear axle where the powertrain and EV system components are installed and thereby achieve an ideal 50:50 front/rear weight distribution. Of hybrid design, the body uses aluminium for the rear suspension and rear body.Source - Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi i MiEV SPORT AIR conceptSportEV
Whilst the idea of an electric sports car (or simply electric fast car, witness the 100 km/h record-breaker back in 1899) is not new, not much thought have been given so far to consider electric vehicle (EV) fundamentals as sports car material…
Blending sporting heritage with EV leading expertise, Mitsubishi Motors has just taken that upside down view to create the clear removable top i MiEV SPORT AIR, premiered at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.
One step beyond being merely green, this zero on-road CO2 emission racy concept builds upon those EV fundamentals, marrying:
the powerful accelerations and high torque inherent to electric motors,
the safe driving dynamics that stem from i MiEV's lithium-ion battery pack, ideally located within its long wheelbase and the low center of gravity it therefore implies.
A joint effort between Mitsubishi Motors design studios in Okazaki (exterior), Okazaki and Cypress, California (interior) as well as Tokyo (execution), the zero CO2 emission i MiEV SPORT AIR concept is a relative to the acclaimed and equally zero CO2 emission 2007 i MiEV Sport show car.
Longer (+ 20 cm) and taller (+ 12 cm), it trades the cheeky look of its predecessor for a more technical approach of its teardrop shape: from the clamshell effect of its deep(er) windshield + diminutive bonnet to the shaper shape of its front end – complete with an inverted Jet Fighter 'grille', or the flush glazing over the B-pillar.
Details, such as the (more) robust looking three-spoke alloy wheels, the squared-off mirrors, the LED front lighting and side repeaters contribute to that look.
Appropriately for an EV, a semi-transparent embedded solar panel is used on the bonnet and 'clear cutaway' roof panel, while the 'printed circuit board' motif continues inside, highlighting points inside the cabin. Air
Whilst several variants of i MiEV Sport have been sketched internally (all the way to a wacky mini pickup !…), the 2009 i MiEV SPORT AIR concept is a more tangible proposition with its removable clear roof panel over its polyamide and polyphenylene ether body panels.
Made of semi-transparent lightweight composite, the 'clear cutaway' roof panel allows open air driving whilst retaining the structural integrity of the coupé. Sky blue
i MiEV SPORT AIR's color & trim follows a 'Japanese Technology' theme, combining the approachable image and the high-tech spirit of environmentally-friendly devices:
• The blue exterior color evokes the openness of clear blue skies, while the use of a pearl finish effect gives a bluish sheen to the body highlights the car's eco-friendly image.
• Inside, the mesh 'ventilaio' trim uses a high-contrast color scheme of greyish blue and 'grege' (an intermediate color between grey and beige). With the use of blue illumination for the instruments and interior lighting this two-tone scheme imparts an advanced and high-tech look to the cabin while at the same time producing a relaxing and reassuring atmosphere. Mitsubishi's proprietary Green Plastics are used for the carpeting, the seat back panels and side covers
Indeed, i MiEV SPORT AIR offers a welcoming ambience to create a comfortable and restful space. The wrap-around cockpit design, on the other hand, is styled to alert the driver to the high performance potential of the car the moment he sits behind the wheel.
The major controls and switches are all ergonomically grouped around the shift dial - with additional controls subsumed into a single touch-panel display - making for more positive location and operation by the driver. Cab forward
A sports car of a new kind, i MiEV SPORT AIR also presents an unusual and very aerodynamic teardrop-shaped profile and cab forward proportions making the best use of its 255 mm wheelbase over an overall diminutive length of 365 mm.
Just as for the forthcoming production i MiEV, this generous wheelbase put the 175/50 R 17 wheels at each corner for the sake of driving dynamics and - in conjunction of the rear-midship layout - an optimum use of the available interior space for 4 passengers (2+2 seating).
It also provides an ideal location for the lithium-ion battery pack: located under the floor, the 200 kg pack allows for a very low center of gravity, for stability and balance but also for passive safety.
The powertrain components - including the motor and inverter - are arranged beneath the luggage compartment. As such - together with the aluminum rear suspension – they contribute to a good weight distribution (50% front – 50% rear). Space frame
An aluminum space frame - a combination of aluminum extrusions and aluminum die casting - is light, rigid and strong, helping to improving performance by minimizing weight (940 kg).
The optimum layout of structural members, including front-side and cross members, efficiently absorbs crash energy in the event of front-end or side collision.
In a collision from the rear, the EV components located under the back seat and rear floor serve as a barrier to ensure the integrity of the passenger compartment.
By making use of i MiEV's rear-midship layout and utilizing Mitsubishi's latest RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body, i MiEV SPORT AIR realizes excellent occupant protection in collisions from any direction, even when colliding with a vehicle of different height or weight.Pocket rocket
Pointing to the direction a realistic Mitsubishi sports EV may take in the future, i MiEV SPORT AIR turns EV characteristics into (baby) sports car assets, all with the eerie silence, fluency and stress-free driving of electric cars.
In particular, it uses a more powerful version of i MiEV's permanent magnet synchronous electric motor for even faster standing and passing accelerations – an EV trademark - than the standard i MiEV with 60 kW (82 ps) and 230 Nm.Source - Mitsubishi
2009 Geneva Motor Show Mitsubishi i MiEV prototype - Impact
With feasibility testing now underway in Europe, the possibility for Mitsubishi Motors' i MiEV electric car to be launched in Europe is getting tantalizingly close…
In preparation for a commercial introduction during FY2010, Mitsubishi continues to gauge reactions through a further exercise: the i MiEV prototype show car.
Únveiled at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show next to the i MiEV SPORT AIR concept, this latest iteration introduces left-hand-drive to the equation and conceptualizes – amongst other items - the wide(er) tracks and long(er) overhangs of the forthcoming European specification i MiEV.Evolution
Designed and engineered within the constraints of the Japanese 'Kei-car' regulations, i MiEV represents both a triumph in packaging and an engineering challenge…
Whilst its mid-ship architecture - confining the powertrain to the rear lower part of the car - provides its occupants with ample living space for four and impressive passive safety within less than 3,400 mm, its peculiar proportions (high roof and narrow tracks) tend to limit its dynamic abilities to urban territory, where it really shines.
Therefore, in order to expand its appeal to more open European suburban environments, Mitsubishi Motors engineers have opted for the straightforward solution of wider front and rear tracks (front: + 95 mm / rear: + 135 mm) with an overall width of now 1,520 mm, vs. 1,475 mm for the original i MiEV.
In combination with the car's long wheelbase (2,550 mm) and the low(er) center of gravity brought by the centrally located under-floor battery pack, the i MiEV prototype can tackle European driving conditions with aplomb.
As a result, the front and rear ends had to be re-styled to house these wider tracks and logically, comply with European legal requirements.
Along those lines, they also accommodate longer front and rear overhangs (+ 55 mm overall), meant to provide the higher levels of pedestrian protection required in Europe as well as better occupant protection in the event of a rear-end shunt, leading to an overall length of 3,450 mm vs. 3,395 mm for the Japanese market i MiEV.Complying
First evoked through a very adventurous concept car at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show, the shape of Mitsubishi's innovative city car has lost none of its appeal and strong character when translated in production form in 2006. To the point where three years later, it still appear as fresh and unique as the original concept.
A feat, but also another challenge, this time for the designers who for the i MiEV prototype had to incorporate EÚ regulatory requirements into the overall shape without betraying it…Protection & Openness
In terms of interior design, the i MiEV prototype does not distance itself much either from the forthcoming Japanese market i MIEV (except for left-hand-drive that is) with its clean and smooth styling.
Indeed, delicate detailing in soft, smooth surfaces combines with modern furniture-design seating to produce an interior that provides a pleasant and comfortable man-vehicle interface.
An ‘i' trademark, the roomy space and large windshield create an interior that is bright and airy. Appropriately for the serene quietness of such an EV, the extensive use of soft shaped surfaces engenders a de-stressing sense of being inside a cocoon.
Serving as a counterpoint, delicate detailing in the instrumentation and center panel generates a warm coolness that expresses the car's fun-to-use qualities.
Furthermore, this contrast between soft and hard elements accentuates the protective feel about the interior.
Protection but also openness to one's driving environment with the panoramic field of view the prototype's expansive windshield offers. Combined with the sweeping dashboard and one-box shape they create an unparalleled sense of openness.All consistent, on the color & trim front:
• The choice of Snow White for the body and Ice Blue for the interior takes its inspiration from mountain glaciers, one of the boldest, purest, cleanest and ultimate expressions of Mother Nature.
• Next to it, the printed circuit board pattern used in the surfaces and motifs adds a high-tech look to the interior.
Just as for the i MiEV SPORT AIR concept shown alongside, this follows a 'Japanese Technology' theme, combining the approachable image and the high-tech spirit of environmentally-friendly devices.Left turn
A prerequisite for any commercial ambition in continental Europe, left-hand-drive is obviously another key feature of the i MiEV prototype.
Considered during the early development stages of 'i' but never implemented, left-hand-drive did not impose significant changes to the car's architecture.
Beyond the switch to left-hand-drive, the i MiEV prototype remains faithful to the technology soon available (in Japan) on the production car. In particular, it shares its space-saving and very clever layout whereby the motor and its ancillaries replace the petrol 'i''s engine and transmission under the trunk whilst the lithium-ion battery pack occupies the space used otherwise for the petrol tank under the floor, all within the wheelbase for the sake of packaging, driving dynamics and passive safety.
Fast, zippy, soothing, uniquely quiet, safe, comfortable, and with the user-friendliness of its 4-door / 4-passenger configuration, the zero on-road CO2 emission the i MiEV prototype will lead to the first practical modern electric car to be soon made available by any major manufacturer operating in the region. Time will tell… Connected -
Since the 1993 Mitsubishi Motors Environmental Council, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has remained committed to use its engineering expertise to contribute to a cleaner environment.
As a continuation of these long standing R&D efforts over the years (lately: in-wheel motor technology, 'Green Plastic', etc, …) Mitsubishi Motors has taken a very different view on potential solutions.Framework
MMC announced on July, 14th, 2006 a new program to guide its ongoing efforts in tackling environmental issues: the 'Mitsubishi Motors Environment Initiative Program 2010' ('EIP 2010').
As a follow-up of the previous FY2002-2005 'Environment Sustainability Plan', EIP 2010 proposes an innovative approach to environmental issues, taking a holistic view on the problems and solutions, encompassing:
• Vehicle technologies,
• Innovative materials,
• Management of hazardous substances,
• Supplier relations,
Launched at the beginning of FY2006, EIP 2010 brings revisions in four major areas, reflecting requirements of both the 2005 Kyoto Protocol and increasingly stringent environmental regulations
and legislation in Japan, North America and Europe as well as other developments around the world:
• Environmental management,
• Prevention of global warming,
• Prevention of environmental pollution
EIP 2010 also incorporates new measures relating to resources and energy designed from the viewpoint of reducing dependence on oil.
The Household Charging System (100V, 200V) for charging at home or at a parking lot.
i MiEV can be charged from an ordinary electric outlet via the household charger plug located on the right side of the vehicle. Úsing less expensive night-time power, i MiEV can be re-charged economically in 7 hours in 200V configuration (14h in 100V).
The Quick Charger System for speedy charging. Here, the car can be charged via the Quick Charger plug located on the left side of the vehicle. Úsing the three-phase 200V 50 kW Quick Charge System, i MiEV can be charged to 80% peak in about 30 minutes.
Translating this into economical terms, i MiEV's running costs in Japan (¥/km) are 1/3 of those of a petrol-powered minicar (daytime charging) or 1/9 (nightime charging).Source - Mitsubishi