A Review of Alternative Fuel Vehicles from Mitsubishi

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Because automakers all around the world have paused production during the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought it would be a good time to review some of the interesting moves automakers have made in the industry up to this point. One automaker that has kept us guessing it Mitsubishi Motors. With their sister company Mitsubishi Electric always unveiling some futuristic technology for upcoming vehicles, we wonder how advanced the next concept will be. We’ve also seen a variety of alternative fuel vehicles from Mitsubishi, with the latest MI-TECH Concept at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show a real change in design. How did Mitsubishi Motors get here?

Older Models

Possibly the first dip into alternative fuel vehicles for Mitsubishi Motors was the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. An all-electric vehicle, this was a steppingstone for Mitsubishi Motors, having produced the first highway-capable electric vehicle (EV). Not only that, but the i-MiEV won awards for its value, a gem for EVs at the time, able to drive 59 miles on a single charge with no emissions. Several systems were also on board to increase range, such as a regenerative braking system and an on-board battery charging system. The i-MiEV didn’t last for long in the U.S. however, and Mitsubishi decided to bring a different alternative fuel vehicle stateside.

Although the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV had already seen its fair share of years overseas, the plug-in hybrid SUV has only been in the states for a few years. Another winner of awards, the Outlander PHEV was up to the same level of quality of most plug-in hybrids of the time. With an EPA estimated 74 MPGe and the ability to travel 22 miles emissions-free on electricity, the Outlander PHEV was a step in a new direction, with two electric motors making up the powertrain, one on each axle.

Newer Concepts

Mitsubishi Motors has been actively debuting new concepts for the past two years. Auto shows have been cancelled indefinitely for 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic, but in 2019, Mitsubishi Motors wowed us with the Engelberg Tourer SUV concept at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, and again at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show with their new MI-TECH concept. The former, a plug-in hybrid SUV, is meant to replace the aging Outlander PHEV, giving it a more robust and adventurous look, and is shaping up to be an SUV consumers could take to the racetrack with Mitsubishi Motors Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system.

Going further, Mitsubishi Motors changed the way we look at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at the Tokyo Motor Show. Mi-TECH, unveiled in an electric buggy, is not your usual gasoline engine/electric motor setup. Doubling down on the design of the original Outlander PHEV, the Mitsubishi Mi-TECH concept comes with four electric motors, one for each wheel, but changes things up by replacing the standard gasoline internal combustion engine with a gas turbine generator. Although output has yet to be released, we can only imagine a turbine generator would be more powerful than an automotive engine. Time will tell.

Want to learn more about new concepts coming from Mitsubishi Motors? Follow us on Miami Lakes Mitsubishi social media.

Photo Source/Copyright: Mitsubishi
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Small Batch – Big Impact Continues in TN with Community Resource Center

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Last year, in 2019, Mitsubishi Motors started a new initiative called the “Small Batch – Big Impact” Initiative. Dedicated to giving back to the community and aiding those in need, Mitsubishi started this experiment by first producing a small batch of vehicles from their lineup, and then using those vehicles by donating them to people and groups in the community that could benefit them in a big way. With the current pandemic still active in the world and affecting many families, Mitsubishi returned to Nashville, TN to aid Nashville residents dealing with COVID-19 so shortly after the 2020 Tornado event in early March that ravaged parts of the state, including Middle Tennessee and downtown Nashville.

“Middle Tennessee is home to our staff, our families and our headquarters…We are devastated by the impact of the tornado and COVID-19 crises on our community and determined to help Nashville emerge from this safer and stronger. The Community Resource Center is exactly the type of partner we are proud to support.” – MMNA COO and acting CEO, Mark Chaffin

The best way to help is to partner up with another organization that already has a strong foothold in aiding the community, and Mitsubishi Motors joined up with the Nashville-based Community Resource Center (CRC) in the efforts to respond to both disasters. The CRC works with over 100 nonprofit agencies in Middle Tennessee and provides them with new household goods, bedding, kitchenware, cleaning supplies, clothing, and personal hygiene items so that they can serve their clients in need. With the current epidemic, emergency supplies kits for low- or no-contact pickup by nonprofit members are also being rapidly put together.

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Mitsubishi FUSO Truck and Bus Corp. to Produce Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Later this Decade

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Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. (MFTBC) is joining several automakers in breaking ground with a new form of fuel source for vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions. Hybrids came first, then plug-ins, and then electric vehicles (also known as battery electric vehicles, BEVs). Who ever thought hydrogen fuel cells would become a thing? But it’s an endless fuel source, hydrogen will always be available in some form, and with a little electrolysis, it’s not impossible to separate the hydrogen from water (H2O). A part of Daimler AG, a German multinational automotive corporation, MFTBC has already put together a concept and aims to begin the production of fuel-cell trucks by the late 2020s.

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept

Named the “Vision F-CELL”, the concept is a light-duty fuel-cell concept truck based off of the already successful eCanter. Through the utilization of energy-dense high-pressure hydrogen, the vehicle can travel around 180 miles and will only require 10 minutes to fill up. It may be longer than a trip to the gas station, but it’s a fraction of how long a consumer must wait when charging up an electric vehicle. Although we love electric vehicles, unless we’re grocery shopping or stopping for a bite to eat, no one wants to wait half an hour, or two, so they can get going. Some people can’t even wait 5 minutes for their smartphone to charge.

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Some Tips for the COVID-19 April 2020 Lockdown

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It’s official. A lockdown has been issued for all of South Florida from April 3 – 30, 2020. Goodbye all April birthdays and celebrations. Springtime babies, you have our condolences. While we’re all on lockdown, people are starting to get a little stir crazy and nervous, so we’re writing up a little bit on guidelines and how to get through this next month of lockdown. Just remember one very important tidbit – the lockdown isn’t literal, and you can leave your house at any time you want.

Staying Healthy

If you haven’t already, stocking up on basic necessities is a must. That means milk and juices with a long shelf life, cheese that can last a few weeks, meats you can cook and freeze for later, and vegetables that can also handle the cold well. Medicine is another large item, as well as toiletries. Keeping clean and washing your hands whenever you sneeze, cough, or use the bathroom will help reduce the chances of being infected and/or spreading the virus.

Although many public facilities are being closed, like pools and gyms, it doesn’t mean exercise is off the table. While in lockdown, going out for a walk or taking your dog for a stroll is a great option for getting a little fresh air and sunlight. Exercising at home, doing a little yoga, is also a great way to keep your one’s body and mind in shape during this trying time.

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KBB Names 2020 Kia Telluride on Best Family Cars List

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With all the sour news going on, it’s nice to know that there are some beams of light here and there. Although the auto industry is putting a pause on things to help stop the spread of COVID-19, automobile reviewers and publications don’t have to slow down in the digital age. Recently, the well-known name Kelley Blue Book finished putting together some lists, their usual “Best of” for each car segment, and that includes family cars. It doesn’t seem like anyone can get enough of the large SUV from Kia Motors, the 2020 Kia Telluride, recently winning the Automobile All-Stars award, the “Triple Crown” of Automobile Awards, and the 2020 MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year (held by the Midwest Automotive Media Association). Doesn’t take a genius to guess that Kelley Blue Book also put the 2020 Kia Telluride on their list of the “12 Best Family Cars”.

A 3-row SUV with a lot of possibilities, the Kia Telluride is the new vehicle for active families who are always on-the-go and in need of the extra space. Kelley Blue Book was sure to focus on the number one reason the Kia Telluride makes for a great family car – safety. Along with amazing car warranties, Kia Motors is all about keeping passengers safe, and their latest vehicles come with an assortment of safety features and more advanced safety options. Standard in all 2020 Kia Telluride models is the Kia’s Drive Wise package, an assortment of safety systems to help keep rides in the SUV incident-free.

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Mitsubishi Electric Enhances LiDAR Tech

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Mitsubishi Electric, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC), is a large part of all the cool technology Mitsubishi Motors puts into their vehicles and is continuing to design technology that will greatly benefit the automaker for years to come. During the last two Consumer Electronic Shows, Mitsubishi Electric showed up with plenty of self-driving tech, concepts, and demonstrations. The 2020 CES focused mainly on mobility solutions and the recent contract between Maas Global Oy and MMC. Since 2017, Mitsubishi Electric has been developing autonomous technology, and over the last few years, has continued to advance this tech. The newest system is called the MEMS LiDAR solution.

A little review, LIDAR systems are what many self-driving vehicles use to scan the world around them. Through the use of lasers that illuminate objects, vehicles, and pedestrians, and then reflects that data back to the LiDAR. Through the use of mirrors rotated by motors to capture the light reflected back to the LiDAR, the system is then able to use the data to create three-dimensional recreations of its surrounding environments in real time. Some systems are advanced enough to create entire 3D maps, whereas others mainly develop a grid of objects and their range.

Mitsubishi Electric is taking this kind of technology a step further through the use of a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS). Via the incorporation of a LiDAR system and a dual-axis (horizontal and vertical) MEMS mirror, an extra-wide horizontal scanning angle has been created to accurately detect the shapes and distances of objects ahead of the vehicle. This leads to better scanning of vehicles ahead, oncoming vehicles, pedestrians crossing the road, traffic lights, traffic signs, and roadside obstacles.

This new system is not only lightweight in design but is much easier to mass produce. Unlike conventional LiDAR systems that require large mirrors to maximize light collection and create a wide scanning angle for an accurate representation of information surrounding the vehicle, Mitsubishi Electric’s new MEMS LiDAR is small, measuring 7mm by 5mm, and made from a silicon substrate using semiconductor-processing technology. Going forward, Mitsubishi Electric aims to also achieve a larger vertical scanning angle to allow the detection of vehicles and pedestrians in close proximity.

Whether or not this technology has already been put to work in the Mitsubishi Electric xAUTO is unclear, but we do know how well this self-driving concept operates. During the 46th Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, the xAUTO doesn’t require the latest and most high-definition maps available on one’s mobile device to navigate its way around the world. This concept vehicle can actually operate its way through residential areas, private roads, farm roads, etc. without over-the-air maps. Sounds like a system that can create its own high-definition local map.

We may also see this kind of technology popping up in the mobile solutions that MMC and MaaS Global Oy are working towards, one of which will be a competing self-driving ride-hailing service. Through the utilization of a camera system, congestion predictions, and real-time crowd prediction, consumers will be able to hail an autonomous ride from anywhere that’s designed to pick them up from virtually anywhere and take them where they need to go. It’s going to be a crazy world when the autonomous car race picks up.

Stay up to date with all the latest technology coming from Mitsubishi Motors when you follow us on Miami Lakes Mitsubishi social media.

Photo Source/Copyright: Mitsubishi Electric
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Mitsubishi Motors Ranks Third in J.D. Power 2020 CSI Study

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Alliance Ventures, the $1 billion investment plan funded by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, may have seen better days, but let’s be honest. Mitsubishi Motors doesn’t seem to be the brand to be slowing down anytime soon. If anything, Mitsubishi Motors is an auto brand that consumers have been showing some love in recent years, with sales for the plug-in hybrid vehicles on the rise, leading to the production of new concepts like the Mi-TECH. New vehicles and technology aren’t like the only thing consumers like Mitsubishi for though. Recently, J.D. Power finished analyzing all the data for the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM, and Mitsubishi Motors ranked high for the second year-in-a-row amongst mass-market brands.

What is the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study?

If this study doesn’t sound familiar, it’s not like it’s the kind of thing one would hear in the news unless an avid reader of automotive news and journalism. J.D. Power & Associates should be a familiar name though, an American-based data analytics and consumer intelligence company that reports on millions of used cars & trucks each year. Every year, many studies are also conducted, all relying on consumer survey responses to get an unbiased result. Recently, the J.D. Power U.S. CSI Study was completed.

Out of all the surveys sent, 71,286 responses were collected from verified registered owners and lessees of 2017 to 2019 model-year vehicles. Every year, the surveys are sent out to owners and lessees of 1- to 5-year old vehicles are surveyed and pose questions in relation to their most recent dealership service experience. Everything from the service to the comfort of a waiting room is looked at, but the major factors measured are Service Initiation, Vehicle Pick-Up, Service Facility, Service Quality, and Service Advisor. The most recent study took place from August 2019 through December, and these are the results.

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Why Has Alliance Ventures Slowed Down?

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Last week, we were joking but also praising how much Mitsubishi Motors has done for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in recent years. One would think it’s the main contributor to future development, and with a sudden change in the Alliance Ventures funding campaign, Mitsubishi may grab more of the spotlight. For those that don’t follow news about the Alliance, the Alliance announced in February that new plans were taking shape and the future of Alliance 2022, the six-year plan for the Alliance, will be announced in May. The Alliance Ventures funding campaign is a $1 billion investment plan to be used to start partnerships with various start-ups. The latest news has Nissan backing out the campaign.

As far as anyone knows, Nissan is still alive and well part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. In late January 2020, Nissan announced the development of a new cross-brand EV platform that could be used by either brand for various types of vehicles. However, investments via the Alliance Ventures campaign has slowed down to a crawl and might just be dead. At first, investments were being made like clockwork, with six investments made in 2018 focusing largely on robotaxi startups, as well as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. The latest investment was with The Mobility House, and that one will mainly benefit Mitsubishi Motors.

With the 2020 Geneva International Motor show cancelled, we still have the great showcase Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Electric had in store with the new Dendo Drive House. The Dendo Drive House (DDH) was a product of the clean-energy project Mitsubishi Motors put together with Hitachi Europe Ltd. and ENGIE. Using a system of solar panels around the housed, energy is converted and stored in a house battery, and then excess energy can be stored in a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to be used as a spare battery. In essence, the goal is to reduce the need for energy not only through the power grid, but to also use renewable energy. The Mobility House has a similar goal, working towards a zero-emission energy network where PHEVs and electric vehicles are actually plugged into the power grid to be used as mobile energy sources.

That’s all great and all, but what’s this about Nissan dropping out? According to Reuters, Nissan insiders have been talking about Nissan making a decision to leave the funding campaign to cut costs. It seems the automaker is dealing with its own unforeseen circumstances with the latest virus outbreak. Pulling out of the campaign may sound dramatic, but from the beginning, Alliance Ventures was supposed to gather $200 million a year in total from the three partners, but if Nissan is losing profits, then the automaker can’t put it is share. With only one or two investments in 2019, it doesn’t seem like that goal has been met since the campaign started.

How will this affect the plans to make a big announcement about Alliance 2022 in May? It’s unclear. Although Alliance 2022 and Alliance Ventures are linked, the two are also independent of one another. Just like with the new EV platform coming from Nissan, each automaker is set up to be in charge of two pillars and will share its technology with the other partner. Alliance Ventures is a failing funding campaign, but the investments made thus far were smart choices that can lead to greater things for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Follow along with all the news when you follow us on Miami Lakes Mitsubishi social media.

Photo Source/Copyright: Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst
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Mitsubishi Motors’ Contributions to the Renault-Nissan Alliance

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When Mitsubishi Motors first joined the Renault-Nissan Alliance, it was quickly becoming a great move for the automaker. Soon after, there was talk about a cross-brand EV platform from Nissan, and re-badged Renault vehicles, and Mitsubishi Motors was quick to make use of Alliance resources to expand. However, Mitsubishi Motors seems to be the only Alliance partner moving the needle with concepts like the Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, or the Mitsubishi Mi-TECH system. According to Alliance Plans, Mitsubishi Motors is only supposed to be in charge of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) development, but Mitsubishi Electric is having a lot of success with the xAUTO, and when it comes to mobile solutions, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is the one getting the contract. Are Renault or Nissan even doing anything at this point?

Mitsubishi Motors > Renault-Nissan?

Most recently, we finally got some news about what Renault and Nissan are bringing to the Alliance. During the mid-term business plan announcement, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance discussed a triangle concept where each automaker would be in charge of two goals out of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology, electric vehicle (EV) technology, and autonomous cars. It’s been three years and so far all that seems to be coming out of Renault is a Mitsubishi-branded version of the Renault Trafic van at its factory in Sandouville, France. So, in other words, a rebadged van…like Mitsubishi Motors needs more of that.

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The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is Developing an Intelligent Cloud

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Connecting our vehicles to our homes is the next step for many automakers, and it’s a trend that is slowly popping up. Virtual Assistants, also known as smart devices, have been commonplace since Siri on the Apple iPhone. Then came Corana on Microsoft platforms, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and the list continues to grow. It isn’t just the tech giants getting in on this either – automobile groups have already eyed this as the next niche to break into and dominate. Several automotive brands already have an Amazon Alexa-connected device in their vehicle, a contract with Amazon, or an Alexa skill that can connect consumers to their vehicles from the comfort of their living room. What’s next? Connecting vehicles together with clouds.

Not puffy fluffy clouds made of rain, but the cloud. When people talk about the cloud in terms of computer-speaker, they’re talking about a large server that is used to store information elsewhere, usually in a large data center located somewhere nearby. Clouds are useful for storing data as well as sharing it. Google Drive was possibly one of the first major uses of Cloud computing, allowing businesses to share files and collaborate over long distances. Now, all kinds of companies are making use of clouds, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is one of those automobile groups that are making use cloud computing technology in automobiles.

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