Mitsubishi kills two birds with one stone in Tokyo with premiere of eX Concept

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The Mitsubishi eX Concept unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015(Credit: Scott Collie / Gizmag)

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The Tokyo Motor Show became the location of Mitsubishi’s latest unveiling, a new vehicle called the eX Concept. It hits two targets with one reveal, giving the Japanese automaker a proposed entry into the fast-growing compact crossover market and a new showcase of Mitsubishi’s future powertrains and technology credibility as an electric vehicle concept.

The eX Concept employs Mitsubishi next-generation design language now seen on the 2016 Outlander sport utility crossover. However, the eX has a more wagon-like appeal built onto a coupe-style two-door body, akin to a European "shooting brake" design. Mitsubishi says that the design changes seen on the eX are indications of where its new Dynamic Shield front design concept is headed in the future.

Powering this compact crossover is a next-generation electric vehicle (EV) propulsion system anchored by a high-capacity lithium-ion battery and high-output electric motors. Mitsubishi says that with the technology employed, the eX Compact would have a potential cruising range of 400 km (249 mi).

The eX utilizes the same all-wheel drive system found in all of Mitsubishi's AWD vehicles, called S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control), with dual electric motors working to power each axle in a new Twin Motor 4WD system developed for the eX. Vehicle stability is maintained through a combination of electronic controls and the low center of gravity thanks to the drive train’s position and battery location.

The Mitsubishi eX utilizes a 45 kWh battery positioned at the center of the vehicle, below the body frame. Maximum output from the system is 140 kW (188 hp) in all, or 70 per motor.

Mitsubishi also says that the eX Concept features automated driving technology that combines connected car tech, next-generation information systems, and advanced active safety technologies. When anything goes wrong, whether it be with the vehicle itself or with the driving situation on the road, the eX is equipped to react, says Mitsubishi.

The interior is accessed through a double-door system popular with today’s conceptual vehicles. It is a pillar-less design that has the rear doors opening in a reverse "suicide" style. Driver and passenger seating are differentiated by separate color schemes, while the dashboard and other elements are lifted and lightened to give a more spacious feel to the interior. Electronics adorn most of the driver’s cockpit and center stack, including two removable batteries for powering devices outside of the eX Concept.

The windshield of the Mitsubishi eX Concept employs augmented reality (AR) technology that utilizes computer-generated graphics to enhance the driver’s perception of what is happening outside of the vehicle. Information for this AR system comes from a variety of sources, primarily a theoretical grid-based external information network comprising connected vehicle inputs. The goal of the AR windshield is to minimize driver distraction while maximizing information.

Mitsubishi envisions things like route guidance, vehicle-to-vehicle distance alerts, lane departure warnings, and traffic sign enhancement as some of the uses of the AR system. Additionally, it would theoretically be able to pull information from the cloud to warn of upcoming hazards that may not yet be visible, such as pedestrian crossings or road and traffic hazards.

Side mirrors on the Mitsubishi eX Concept are noticeably absent, being replaced by cameras and Side View Monitors, which allows the exterior to be streamlined to improve fuel economy. Similarly, the rear view mirror usually located at the top center of the windscreen is replaced with a monitor mounted in the overhead console and HD camera attached to the rear of the vehicle.

The Mitsubishi eX Concept is demonstrated in the video below.

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