By Pinky Concha Colmenares
Tokyo – Electric cars and connected cars shifted to high gear the “borderless journey to redefine the very meaning of the automobile” at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show which will be open until November 5 at the Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward.
There, 153 automobile and parts manufacturers are displaying technologies that speak of the near future of mobility under the theme – Beyond the Motor. Most of the displays feature the electric vehicles (EVs) that do not only run farther distances on one full charge but are now are SUVs, sports cars, vans, and personal vehicles.
More than road performance, the EVs at the motor show also present the car as a companion – or a personal assistant – with artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet connecting the car to vast knowledge of what’s coming ahead not only on the road, but also with the weather and even on the day’s schedule of the driver.
Mitsubishi’s e-Evolution Concept which it unveiled during press day on October25, comes with AI that “augments the driver’s capabilities.” Sensors will instantly read changes in driver’s intent and road conditions. Mitsubishi said that “by making it easier and safer to control the vehicle, the motoring experience is brought to a new level.”
A special function also allows the AI system to transfer knowledge to the driver and to “unobtrusively enhance the driving experience.” Mitsubishi explained that after building a picture of the driver’s skill level, the system constructs a training program that provides advice through voice dialogue and a large dashboard display.
Drivers of all abilities will quickly experience a vehicle that behaves the way they want it, Mitsubishi said.
The heart of the e-Evolution is the SUV package, using high-torque and high-performance electric motors, supplied by a high-capacity battery system to deliver the smooth and powerfully responsive performance that distinguishes EV’s from internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. The triple-motor four-wheel drive system employs a single motor to drive the front wheels, and a new Dual Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC) system that couples two rear motors through an electronically controlled torque-vectoring AYC unit.
It will provide crisp and nimble handling that will faithfully mirror the driver’s intent, Mitsubishi explained.
Naturally, the “face” of the e-Evolution will be the major attraction to the whole automobile experience. The “Mitsubishi-ness” of the car is what the designers call the company’s new challenge, Mitsuhiko Yamashita, MMC chief planning officer, said.
“The body has short overhangs and large wheels. Combined with strong shoulders and narrow hips, it projects the toughness of an SUV, along with sporty driving. The front fascia is an extension of the Dynamic Shield, the trademark design of Mitsubishi Motors,” Osamu Masuko, MMC CEO, said at the unveiling of the e-Evolution at the Tokyo Motor Show.
“Sculptured solid, the look of an impeccably machined solid block of metal,” is how Tsunehiro Kunimoto, corporate Vice President, MMC design division, calls the exterior design identity surface character of the e-Evolution.
Sharing the limelight with the e-Evolution Concept is the Eclipse Cross, a coupe SUV that will be available in the Japan market soon. Making its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Eclipse Cross is a new-generation SUV that fuses elegant coupe style with the dynamic SUV mobility.
The Eclipse Cross is a “connected car” with a monitoring system that allows a “conversation” with an “assistant” which can start from a comment on the weather and result in the system asking if it could turn on the wiper, continue to review the day’s meetings, give suggestions on change of arrangements, and book a table in a restaurant near the driver’s last meeting.
The driver’s “personal partner” in the car also gives information on fuel situation and suggests a stop at the next gas station, its Internet connection locating the closest station.
Artificial intelligence has been added to enhance passive safety. The system monitors an inattentive or dozing driver and first gives an alarm to get his attention. If that fails, the system will make the vehicle stop.
The Eclipse Cross and the e-Evolution are two of the 12 Mitsubishi models on display. Other models are the Outlander plug-in hybrid EV and the iMIEV.
The 45th TMS is organized by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), whose statement on the event is aptly captured by the theme – Beyond The Motor.
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