MITSUBISHI continued its streak of unveiling concept SUVs, with the MI-TECH PHEV buggy concept breaking cover at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.
Styled in a similar vein to Mitsubishi’s previous concepts such as the GC-PHEV and Engelberg Tourer concepts, the MI-TECH eschews from its forerunners with an open-cockpit design.
Powering the MI-TECH is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivetrain that utilises a gas-turbine generator, rather than a traditional piston-driven powerplant, to supply electricity to its two dual-motor electric drive motors.
Mitsubishi reasons that, unlike traditional engines, gas-turbine engines are not only compact, but can be run on a variety of combustible fuels such as kerosene and alcohol, which boosts its ‘green’ credentials. This powertrain concept was more recently explored by Jaguar with the C-X75 concept car; although, the idea was abandoned for an inline-four in later developments.
While there are no driveshafts or differentials, MI-TECH’s dual-motor units, located on the front and rear axle, are said to give the concept buggy proper 4WD capability, with drive being metered out to all four wheels.
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While the MI-TECH may remain as a motor show pipedream, Mitsubishi’s CEO Takao Kato says the company will be expanding its line-up of electrified vehicles by “delivering more variations and leveraging the diverse electrification technology in the alliance to make Mitsubishi the leader in the PHEV category”.
Adding to that, the company plans to employ its electrification technologies to new mid-size and compact SUV models by 2022.
As electrified powertrains becoming mainstream, more manufacturers are utilising the technology to comply with stricter emission regulations for 4x4 models. Land Rover is set to introduce a PHEV Defender in the near future, and Toyota is rumoured to be working on an electrified next-gen LandCruiser and Hilux.
Currently Mitsubishi has only one PHEV model in Australia, the Outlander PHEV, though on the 4x4 front, the most prospective model to be electrified might be in the form of a dual-cab ute from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.