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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mitsubishi to Unveil Another MIEV Concept at Geneva Auto Show

Mitsubishi Motors will use the 76th annual Geneva International Motor Show later this month to unveil another new concept vehicle showcasing their innovative Mitsubishi In-wheel motor Electric Vehicle (MIEV) technology designed for the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles, according to a Mitsu press release.

The new concept, dubbed the Concept-EZ MIEV, is a full electric vehicle, unlike it's equally acronym-happy cousin, the Concept-CT MIEV which debuted at the Detroit Auto Show last month and features a series-parallel hybrid drivetrain.

Mitsu's MIEV technology places ultra-compact electric motors inside the wheel-hub itself to provide traction for the vehicle (more on the MIEV design and development history in this previous post).

Graphic: Exploded view of Mitsubishi's in-wheel electric motor

Freed from the constraints of an internal combustion engine and drivetrain, the designers of the Concept-EZ took full advantage of the space saving aspect of the MIEV architecture to deliver a radical new design. The result is a compact mono-box vehicle with a low flat floor layout resulting in a roomy interior space and an interior height that matches that of a large mono-box model despite its relatively low overall height of 1.75 meters.

According to, the Concept-EZ's usable internal space has also been enhanced by the use of a retractable steering wheel, drive-by-wire technology and intelligent folding seats to create a space that's as equally adept at transporting passengers as it is providing them with an innovative and secure lounge area when they arrive.

The Concept-EZ delivers four-wheel drive performance by placing a 20 kW (26.82 hp) in-wheel electric motor in each wheel for a combined power of 80 kW (107.28 hp). The electric motors are powered by a bank of next-generation lithium-ion batteries sandwitched under the flat floor of the vehicle.

The Concept-EZ and Concept-CT illustrate the diverse applications of Mitsubishi's MIEV technology. The electric motors are suitable for use in any vehicle with an electric drivetrain including electric-dominant hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles, as well as fuel cell vehicles.

Mitsubishi has now deployed its MIEV technology in a number of different concept vehicles and testbeds including the Concept EZ and CT as well as 2WD electric Colt hatchback and an all-electric Lancer Evolution 4WD MIEV that raced in the Shikoku EV Rally 2005 in Japan last year.

Mitsubishi has said that it plans to bring an electric vehicle utilizing its MIEV technology to market in Japan by 2010.