January 9, 2006 — Detroit, Mich. — Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) today unveiled at the North American International Auto Show the Concept-CT, a groundbreaking concept for a hybrid-powered small car that may influence development of future Mitsubishi models.
Designed at the Mitsubishi Motors Design Center in Cypress, Calif., the Concept-CT introduces an innovative hybrid powertrain packaged in an entirely new type of vehicle architecture. The key to the Concept-CT’s roomy packaging, performance potential and fuel efficiency is the Mitsubishi In-wheel Electric Vehicle (MIEV) hybrid powertrain, which employs an electric motor in each of the vehicle’s four wheels.
Early on, the Mitsubishi Concept-CT designers disregarded current vehicle architecture and created a whole new type of small car platform that could take full advantage of the MIEV powertrain’s numerous benefits. A rear-midship layout places the gasoline engine behind the rear passengers but ahead of the rear axle line. This same configuration can be found in some of the world’s best sports cars because it allows for optimum weight distribution, low center of gravity and a small yaw-inertia moment (quick steering response).
With room freed up by the lack of a center differential, driveshaft to the front and front-wheel halfshafts, designers were able to locate vital components to optimize both safety and weight distribution. The rear-midship layout allows for a large frontal crush zone and greatly reduces the potential for engine intrusion into the cabin in a collision. Batteries are housed under the rear floor and in the front of the vehicle. The fuel tank is housed under the front floor.
This concept provides a vision into the future of advanced hybrid technology in a fun and futuristic design. Mitsubishi Motors’ Lancer Evolution MIEV is currently under testing in Japan – with a goal to bring a MIEV model, built around core technologies of in-wheel motors and high density lithium-ion batteries, to market by 2010.