Have you been waiting for something more next-generation from Mitsubishi? If so, the automaker has an edgy crossover with suicide doors and an electric powertrain it calls “a step ahead of EVs to date” — heading to the Tokyo Motor Show in late October. Even if you think that’s more 2016 Tesla than science fiction, Mitsubishi’s eX concept hints that the future is in plug-in utility, and the car company plans to be in on the party.
According to a press release, the four-wheel drive electric eX showcases the new design language consumers can expect from Mitsubishi. The aggressive front end and drivetrain are supposed to deliver “heart-thumping SUV allure” and you can see some of the menace of recent Lexus crossovers in this model, too. Rubber materials in the fascia also serve the functional purpose of protecting against bumps in daily use. The lack of a central pillar screams out for suicide doors, and the eX obliges.
As for what’s propelling the car, Mitsubishi says the eX has a high-capacity lithium-ion battery with electric motors that produce considerable power, though no specific torque or horsepower numbers are given. The quoted range of 400 km (250 miles) satisfies the minimum requirements for any car hoping to get the next-gen EV tag and should hold until 2018 or so, barring a breakout from a major automaker.
Then there’s the technology. In this department the EV concept does offer a taste of the future with an augmented reality (AR) windshield that provides a look at happenings below the driver’s line of sight using computer-generated graphics. Intelligent Display brings in information from navigation and control panel settings to make it easier on the driver as well.
Side-view and rear-view monitors will replace mirrors in Mitsubishi’s version of the electric crossover. Despite the slightly cramped look of the eX concept, there are five seats for passengers in the vehicle.
If we had to choose an automaker that needed to stage a comeback in the U.S., Mitsubishi might be near the top of the list, and we’d expect it to go through the Outlander, the brand’s best-selling model. In 2016, we will see a plug-in hybrid version of this utility vehicle, which will showcase an edgier design language and a few dozen miles of electric range.
From the right-drive setup of the eX concept, U.S. consumers should get an idea of when they can expect to see this care in dealerships — if we had to wager, never — but that isn’t the point. Mitsubishi sees a clear path ahead in electric vehicles that deliver the utility and tech consumers (especially American ones) are demanding in new models.
Of course, the concept car is a promise that may or may not be kept — the sweet nothing automakers choose to whisper whenever it feels right. If Mitsubishi can afford it, a production model based on the eX would be well worth the trouble.
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