Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) has a presence already in the EV sector with the i-MiEV, launched in 2009. Three years' worth of global customer feedback from i-MiEV and progress in development of battery technology and electric drivetrains have contributed to one of the concept vehicles shown by the company at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. MMC showed a forward look to future EV development, extending use beyond a primarily urban environment to vehicles with greater range capacity.
The vehicle is a five-seat, five-door, compact electric car design measuring 4050 mm (159.4 in) long, 1775 mm (69.9 in) wide, and 1550 mm (61.0 in) tall, with a wheelbase of 2550 mm (100.4 in). MMC specified that the concept was not planned for production but was intended to showcase a range of technologies the company intends to introduce in the mid- to long-term across its global range of vehicles.
The technologies for this are perhaps not surprising, including high density batteries, lightweight construction, and advanced aerodynamics, designed to offer a driving range of 300 km (186 mi). According to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), this is more than the weekly average distance covered by European drivers—14,000 km (8700 mi) per year.
Apart from conventional plug-in charging, the CA-MiEV also features magnetic resonance wireless charging. MMC announced a joint venture to research and test this technology with WiTricity Corp. and IHI Corp. in September 2011. CA-MiEV also features smart phone integration.
The bodywork has been designed with a target drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.26 and features an unusual canopy sloping rear roofline overhanging the trunk. The electric driveline enables a flat floor design, while other features include rear view cameras. Minimal air intakes and a rear diffuser are designed to reduce aerodynamic drag.
The powertrain for the CA-MiEV is described as the inauguration of MMC’s next-generation high-efficiency drivetrain. Features include an all-in-one integrated power unit, incorporating the 80 kW (107 bhp) motor with the inverter and charger. The objective is to assist energy management, packaging, and weight reduction. The compact, flat, 28-kW·h, high-density lithium-ion batteries are designed to assist packaging and better long-term battery performance. MMC suggests that the ability to package these batteries could be used for later applications such as a range extender.
A telematics package includes features such as automatic e-mailing to the owner if the car is moved without permission, automatic e-calling in case of an emergency, remote control of features such as engine start/lock, panic alarm, and door locking. Data transfer of items such as maps from a smart phone to the in-car system is also planned. MMC already features remote energy monitoring on the Outlander plug-in hybrid, and this system would also be included on CA-MiEV.
MMC President Osamu Masuko said on unveiling the CA-MiEV: “Put all these features together and all of a sudden, a compact electric family car can take five people much further than today’s urban electric vehicle.”