We’re finally in June! The middle of 2020 is upon us, and things are starting to look…less grey, that’s a good way to put – less grey. As the sun starts to shine, more good news will come, and little-by-little, industries are starting to beef up again, starting with the auto industry. Last week, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance held a digital news conference and announced a new strategy for the Alliance, splitting regions and segments three ways. Each automaker will release a new vehicle in one segment in one region, and following its success, the other two automakers will release their own version or a rebadged vehicle on the same platform. The conference also shared news about some technology and vehicles to look forward to.
The Future is Now
With all of the auto shows cancelled for 2020, we’re going to miss out on all of the cool technology that usually pops up. For the last two years, Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Electric have been blowing it up with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and self-driving technology. Even so, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has agreed on splitting up the focus of the group in three ways, although there are four core components – PHEVs, electric vehicles (EVs), self-driving cars, and connected car technology.
The last two are technologies still too young to seem practical. Although smart devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home allow consumers to connect to their phones via their voice, and even their vehicles, adding an Amazon Prime subscription to your car or buying a smart device plugin isn’t at the top of a consumer’s buy list. Instead, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance partnered with Google to release an Android-based infotainment system.
Self-driving technology has become a quickly budding success for startups everywhere. Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi have all shown interest in the industry, but with Nissan the closest to launch, with a ProPILOT program to be installed in 20 models by 2022, that’s the automaker at the helm of autonomous driving. EV technology is another shared interest.
With Mitsubishi in charge of PHEVs, Nissan and Renault are working on new EV platforms and powertrains called ePTs. Only known by their code names, Renault is working on their CMF-A/B ePT and Nissan is all about their CMF-EV ePT. It may be hard to believe, but the pandemic caused a huge interest in small passenger vehicles when social distancing was required and passenger cars made to seat more than five people became a temporary danger. Vehicles in the A/B segment, also known as mini and subcompact car segments, could be the next EV we see.
PHEVs are the New Green
Plug-in hybrid technology is the best of both worlds. Get a great driving range with an internal gas combustion engine and an electric motor under the hood, with the option of going green and going the distance. Mitsubishi Motors will be the first automaker of the Alliance to release a new vehicle, a PHEV in the C/D segment. A release in the C/D segment, also known as the medium and large car segment, is definitely surprising for an automaker that has focused on SUVs for the last several years, at least on a global scale – trucks and other fun things like that are sold overseas under the Mitsubishi name. A C/D PHEV sounds interesting enough though, so we’ll keep an eye on that one.
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