Special Coverage

Tokyo
Auto Show

TOKYO – Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will give Japan its first look at its i-MiEV Sport battery-powered car, one of three concepts the auto maker will roll out at the Tokyo Motor Show this month.

The i-MiEV, which made its world debut at the Frankfurt show last month, remains two years away from sales launch.

Among its features are an electronic 4-wheel-drive system, electronic yaw-rate control and Mitsubishi’s new all-wheel-control system (S-AWC) that integrates antilock brakes and vehicle stability control to regulate driving force, traction and braking at all four wheels.

The car’s 330-volt lithium-ion battery pack, supplied by GS Yuasa Corp., can achieve 125 miles (201 km) on a single charge while propelling the car to a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h).

Other high-tech features include the car’s aluminum spaceframe, blue light-emitting diodes for interior lighting and rear-combination lamps and heat-absorbing glass.

In May, Mitsubishi entered into a joint venture with GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi Corp. (the auto maker’s trading house affiliate) to develop and produce large-capacity/high-performance Li-ion batteries. Having invested ¥3 billion ($260 million) in an automated production line inside GS Yuasa’s Kyoto plant, the companies hope to begin operation in 2009 with a first-year production target of 20,000.

Joining the i-MiEV on the Mitsubishi stand will be the Concept ZT and Concept cX.

The Concept-ZT 4-door sedan is powered by a newly developed 2.2L clean diesel mated to Mitsubishi’s new twin-clutch SST (sport-shift transmission). The 4-cyl. engine, which employs a new common-rail injection system with a piezoelectric injector, is expected to meet Tier 2 Bin 5 emission standards in 2010.

In addition to its advanced powertrain, the ZT is loaded with the auto maker’s latest advanced safety technology. A pre-crash and lane-drift warning system employs millimeter-wave radar and steering-angle, speed and yaw-rate sensors. An all-around monitoring system incorporates cameras on all four sides of the car.

Also included are Mitsubishi’s S-AWC system, a parking assist system and a popup hood that protects pedestrians in the event of a collision.

Despite its finished appearance, a spokesman insists there are no plans to produce the vehicle.

The Concept cX is a strong candidate for production, however. The 4-seat cross/utility vehicle is powered by a 1.8L clean diesel mated to Mitsubishi’s SST dual-clutch system.

Measuring 162 ins. (411 cm) long and with a 99-in. (251-cm) wheelbase, the cX borrows heavily from other Mitsubishi models. Its split tailgate comes from the Outlander and its inverted slant nose and sharp headlights are borrowed from the new Lancer. The Concept cX’s 4WD system is lifted from the Outlander and Delica D:5.

If public reaction is positive, the model is expected to get the green light.