Concept of the Day: Mitsubishi eX

October 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

mitsubishiex800Another electric concept car to appear in Tokyo: the Mitsubishi eX, which also previews a new compact crossover. This is described as a cross between a shooting brake and a compact SUV, and has 4WD (motor driving each axle) plus connected/automated systems; reports also suggest a (perhaps theoretical) 250-mile range between recharges. Mitsubishi Electric, meanwhile (different corporate division) has an updated version of an earlier assisted-driving concept: EMIRAI x3 DAS has LCD displays with cloud content synchronisation, motion-sensing controls, wearables syncs, head-up displays, driver fatigue/condition sensors, predictive/analytic mapping data plus remote control of household appliances.

  • Toyota has a series of concepts lined up for Tokyo: prettiest is the S-FR, a small lightweight RWD coupe (ICE), though the cleanest is the FCV Plus, a pod-like fuel cell city car which can also be used as an independent power generator. The third, the Kikai, has its mechanical components exposed (a bit like a Richard Rogers building) to ‘create a new driving sensation.’ Toyota will also be showing its Kirobo Mini compact robot, the Mk4 Prius and the C-HR crossover concept.
  • More on the LeTV SEE project: a compact electric sports car will be unveiled at next April’s Shanghai Auto Show (not Beijing, as originally suggested). Release posted here. LeTV is a Chinese equivalent to the likes of Netflix, apparently, and a massive repository/collector of digital content, which no doubt could be harvested/disseminated in its proposed cars (under development with help from Aston Martin, apparently).
  • A fleet of 10 wind-powered Renaults is now available for hire in the Outer Hebrides: the E-Car Club-operated vehicles (nine Zoes, one Kangoo ZE van) will use electricity from the six-turbine Pentland Road Windfarm, and can be hired on a daily or hourly basis from a number of locations in Stornoway or across the Isle of Lewis. The wind farm is said to supply sufficient electricity for all the Outer Hebrides’ domestic needs, and nearly 700 households in the local community receive a portion of its lease payments to the Stornoway Trust.
  • And hydrogen from artificial photosynthesis – light-activated splitting of water molecules – is being trialled at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, and the Max Planck Institute, Stuttgart: this is touted as a potential storage method for solar energy, though it could also result in generating hydrogen to be used as fuel. More here.
  • Might be a while before there are sufficient numbers of end-of-life EV motors and drive units for this to be viable, but Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Massachusetts) is looking at processes to recover and recycle their rare earth metals (otherwise mined in China, generally). A recovery rate of over 80% is claimed. More, incl. references, here.
  • And nanoparticles of candle soot (carbon) could make cheap, efficient electrodes for car-capable lithium-ion batteries, reports research from Hyderabad. The recovered carbon has high conductivity, the researchers say. I’m not sure of the overall benefits of this in terms of lifecycle energy consumption and emissions involved in burning candles, though, I have to admit…
  • Californian EV drivers can sync their car-charging with home appliance use and lower their energy bills using a new app called OhmConnect: savings of around $200 a year are said to be possible, timing electricity consumption to benefits from incentives from local energy suppliers to charge off-peak. More at Cleantechnica. And (also US): new software called JuiceNet, from eMotorWerks in partnership with ClipperCreek, connects charging points into a cloud-controlled and app-enabled, ‘learning’ smartgrid. This is known as aggregated EV charging load management; more here.
  • Meanwhile, in Europe, MaaS Alliance: a new initiative of 20 organisations has been formed to develop Mobility as a Service – flexible multi-modal travel service options and related integrated information/billing systems. The Alliance includes universities and research centres, tech firms, public and private sector organisations and companies including Ericsson, Transport for London and Xerox.
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