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Next Generation Technology Review Part 1

Next Generation Technology Review Part 1

Mitsubishi sometime ago shared a portfolio of new technology they were looking to implement in the next wave of vehicles.   Given that they were in a time crunch to develop an entirely new engine platform, the offerings were decent not plentiful.   For those who do not know,  the world engine platform was terminated soon after it was released by Dodge, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai.  This is where the 4B11 and 4B12 engine came from.   Dodge more or less decided they were going their own way with Fiat and bought out the other two participates.  While Mitsubishi could still crank out 4B11 & 4B12 engines, design changes and refinements would likely cost more in the long run and may incur additional fees or royalties of some kind.

While extremely disruptive, Mitsubishi did reactive some projects that remained dormant since 2007.  Many should know that Mitsubishi made great inroads in the mid 2000 and even dabbled in Diesel Tech. before focusing on the World Engine Project.  Fast forward to today,  Mitsubishi is now in the best position it has ever been in since 2008-2009 when the global market went to hell in a hand basket.  Operations are lean,   The Japanese currency has offered a 30% swing to make Japanese Exports more economical, and their new technologies are ready.

I constantly get email messages from people who know me and those who just follow my blog posts about Mitsubishi staying in the game.  (In North America).  As many of you know, Suzuki made decision to pick up gun and pull the trigger on exiting the North American Car Market.  Some would say…. myself included… if they just waited another 3 months, they would have benefited from the currency slide.  but they didnt… and decided to only focus on the Motorcycle side of the business.

Mitsubishi on the other hand I am sure picked up the gun even earlier decided to see where things go.  While I think the gun is in hand…. The increasing favorable currency situation and on time technology development seems to be keeping things calm for now.  While exiting the North American market is on the table anything can happen.  But… I would gamble that Mitsubishi stays in the game until the new wave of vehicles are released.  Some may come as soon as next year.

Mitsubishi’s focus will be on fuel economy!  The last generation of vehicles has a significant focus on Power (TQ) and reliability.   Fuel economy was in there somewhere, but vs. its peers, this was lacking.  Mitsubishi’s has been working very diligently on battery technology and there should be no surprise that it will start to appear in all vehicles.  The question is for many… how prominent will it be in the vehicle configuration.  Will it be an invisible hand or something that hinders what Mitsubishi owners do… typically modify and make it more powerful.

Some years ago.  Honda released a new car called the CRZ.  It was amazing because it was reaching back to a classic and they included hybrid technology that seemed cool.  But…. sigh…. the cool technology ended up getting in the way of enthusiasts and made any aftermarket development for the car a “bloody nightmare” as some tuners frequently say.  Hybrid Regenerative brakes were not fun to deal with.  The CRZ hybrid was not a failure…. Honda’s footing of not creating a non Hybrid version is what killed the platform.  Even after years of further production, Honda did not create a simple non hybrid version.  Some argued that Honda painted themselves into a corner about going green with this vehicle, and didnt want to back pedal from the mandate. :(

Getting back to Mitsubishi, they are designing a new EVO and while the body styling has been left until the end. (no one knows what it looks like), the guts underneath does look impressive.  But, the final combo of technology has yet to be determined.  One of the things that are in play is a Stop and Start technology for fuel savings when driving in the city.   There is nothing new about this technology.  Mitsubishi has experimented with this in other cars over the years . (Europe) The Mitsubishi Colt for example.

The technology in 2014 will likely be in a passive state, meaning the driver will control when the engine turns off and resumes at stops.  (Not automatically) The simple logic is that an engine that isnt running doesnt consume fuel.  For an overview of past systems of Stop and Start.  Or as Mitsubishi calls it, Stop and GO.  Visit their technology page here.


Another technology I have had the pleasure of testing is the new CVT7 and CVT8 technology which is the next generation of CVT transmissions coming on market.  The smaller engine vehicles like the Mitsubishi Mirage & Nissan Versa Note have been a pleasure to drive.  The low fuel consumption works to make these vehicles number 1 in their class.  I have logged about 6000km on a CVT7 transmission and when you fuel economy is 5.8L per 100 on a fuel tank of gas, you tend to realize that there is mega fuel cost savings.  So much so that I figure that if you jump from a Lancer into one of these small cars, the fuel savings alone will likely pay down half of your car payment…. maybe more if you drive as much as I do.


Save The Mitsubishi Colt = North American Variant Possible

Save The Mitsubishi Colt = North American Variant Possible

As many of you guys know.  I have been working with my EVOSOUL group in the USA and ASIA and there is a opportunity for change that I cant help but promote.   Mitsubishi as you know is working to bring next generation cars to market by 2014 and 2015.  one of those cars that Mitsubishi has been on the fence about is the Mitsubishi Colt.  Not much is known about this car because it is only available in Europe.  Or at least was.   Mitsubishi is looking to retire it without expanding it to North America.   Sadly, Mitsubishi did not feel it was the right car in 2007 for North America.  Sigh…… as you know many small cars have flourished in North America offering great fuel economy and stylish design.  Now Mitsubishi is release the Mirage as a small car / small engine option to score on fuel economy numbers.  But there will not be a Ralliart variant pegged to this car platform.

What we would like to do is to raise awareness and see if we can convince Mitsubishi to make another go of the COLT.  It is a classic and offers many options to the small car enthusiast.   We will be launching a “Support the Colt” website to raise awareness and to hopefully save the Colt from being terminated.  

Will Mitsubishi go back to it's roots? (PART 1)

Will Mitsubishi go back to it’s roots? (PART 1)

I think we can be brutally honest.  Mitsubishi has not had a good 2011 and a 2012.  Sales have been fallen dramatically and Mitsubishi’s line up has been dramatically reduced.  The past 3 months alone has shown USA sales falling by as much as 40 percent when comparing 2012 to 2011.  A considerable amount of resources have been invested in developing for the next generation Mitsubishi line up.  but the here and now story is tough to watch.

JULY Mitsubishi Numbers -47.39% down vs last year 2011=4,194  2012=7,972
JUNE Mitsubishi Numbers -34.80% down vs last year 2011=5,411  2012=8,299
MAY  Mitsubishi Numbers -26.33% down vs last year 2011=5,575  2012=7,568

Source: (by the numbers)

It’s like watching a boxing match and watching your guy in the first 3 rounds get “Chin Checked”.  But the fact that Mitsubishi hasn’t cut and run means they are in for the rest of the fight.  And that is something everyone wants to hear.

We all love Mitsubishi!  The EVOSOUL team in Canada USA and Globally have been working as a collective / “Think Tank” and analyzing what the Mitsubishi community is currently getting and what they may need.  We have had great success developing enhancements for the current Mitsubishi line up and we have been very fortunate to work on a few next generation projects that “MAY” be released in the future.

Mitsubishi has shown great character in bringing great products to market.  The ECO push with the Mirage and I-MIEV reflect that.  Some say it’s before their time and the technology isn’t ready yet.  But after reading engineering papers, I think it is safe to say that these cars well built, perform extremely well in all regions, and will last.  Something that you don’t hear or see in the headlines or Mitsubishi commentary.  I am very proud of what Mitsubishi has accomplished on the green front.

But the question EVERYONE wants to know is, will Mitsubishi answer the call and return to the hardcore motorsports front.  Mitsubishi Ralliart has been decommissioned for 3 years.  The Mitsubishi EVO still reign’s surpreme as one of the best 2.0L Turbo cars of all time.  And its a title that I don’t think has been contested.  But will they continue to lead the world in this technology or will they hang up the gloves.  We have all seen the building craze with rear wheel drive sporty cars. Hyundai has done a masterful entrance with a full line up of eco friendly yet sport cars.  Hyundai has spent millions in R&D to get to this point.  This is well deserved!   Toyota and Subaru have also kicked off a revolution in the entry level sports car segment with the introduction (or some may call it the re-introduction) of the GT86 line.

My opinion of the car is that it is the first true wake up call for Mitsubishi.  I think once Subaru weaponizes the platform with a Turbo engine.  I think it will lead to other things.  Make no mistake…. I think the FRS=BRZ are the first of many joint ventures and platforms that we will see in the next 3 years.  Everyone will tell you that Toyota and Subaru finally made the right decision and didnt complicate it with technology or trying to start new trends.  They simply made one uncomplicated rear wheel drive car with no frills or clever bundling of features.  Just a raw sporty car.

Return of the Eclipse (60 % likely in the next 2 years)

Mitsubishi has not confirmed if the next generation Eclipse (likely to be renamed) will be coming to North America or will be test piloted in Japan first.  The second question is what engine platform will it have.  Many have screamed at Mitsubishi for years… “Where is the turbo?”   Since V6 has somewhat turned into a bad word.  Turbo technology still remains popular and many companies have figured out ways to keep them fuel efficient.

Outlander Sport Turbo (50% likely within 2 years)

Mitsubishi has mulled this quietly at the engineering level since it’s inception.  Hell when we first so the RVR/Sport at head office events first thing we did was pop the hood and see what the hell is going on in the engine bay.  It was almost a war crime to see all the space around the engine and not have a turbo equipped.  Management at Mitsubishi is still looking at bringing hybrid technology to the Outlander to boost fuel economy numbers, but as for a turbo, they have officially stated that “there is no engineering team in place to develop a turbo version.”.  Now I dont want to say there was a wink behind that statement, but we all know that the 4B11 has really no guess work in it.  Slap in a SST transmission or a really fun 5speed manual and the car would be an instant hit!

COLT COLT COLT (10% likely that it will ever return)

You guys know  me.  I have been sending letter after letter since 2008 for Mitsubishi to bring the Mitsubishi Colt over to North America.  I was told at the time that it didn’t fit with marketing objectives at the time.  Fast forward 4 years, now the response is that it is an ageing platform that is being replaced by the much improved Mirage.  Which I do not doubt in the least.  It is true that its eco engine technologies were pioneered with the Colt in Europe.  This may shock people but they had a tiny engine variant that could almost do 1000km on a full tank.  But the reason why I loved the idea of the Mitsubishi Colt was that the car was simple, uncomplicated, and without bundled technology.  You had small engines and one small engine with a very nice TURBO in it.  Now I have been told that to go back to the Colt would be to undermine the developments of the Mirage…. but…. The sex appeal of the colt is just eating me up inside.  I could gladly if I was allowed (import that colt from the UK to drive here)  In a heart beat.  Actually the EVOSOUL team is making requests to do just that and bring the car over as a competition car 😉 I will keep everyone in the loop on those efforts.


Increased competition for the Mirage/Colt coming - Hyundai making similar small engine car

Increased competition for the Mirage/Colt coming – Hyundai making similar small engine car

4 Years ago Mitsubishi released the Colt in Europe.  And in m eyes.  It kicked ass in terms of fuel economy and efficiency.  But I really loved it because they want all out and made a Ralliart edition.  Now Mitsubishi plans to redesign it and release it in a more expanded global market.  While it has taken sometime, we expect see official news of its deployment in 2013 – 2014 as Mitsubishi ramps up and expands its lean line up.  Most of the product line up is on its last legs of a 4 year cycle.

When it comes to the new Colt / Mirage.  They wanted to put the focus on Hybrid technology, but not rule out small engine variants (so I have been told – fingers crossed).  But Hyundai recently made a press release that may put a bit more pressure on Mitsubishi to quickly step things up.  Keep in mind.

Hyundai reveals All New i20 ahead of Geneva debut

Lowest ever CO2 emissions of any conventional powertrain: 84 g/km
First image reveals design update, influenced by fluidic sculpture
Five Year Triple Care standard on All New i20

Hyundai has released the first image of the All New i20, ahead of its world premiere at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The new model features refreshed styling, enhanced equipment and the lowest CO2 emissions of any conventional powertrain car on sale today.

Among the four powertrain options available to buyers of the All New i20 will be the new 1.1-litre, 3-cylinder ‘U-II’ diesel engine that generates 75 ps. When mated to Hyundai’s Blue Drive technologies, this derivative emits just 84 g/km of CO2 – a figure lower than any other car with a conventional powertrain. The engine was developed at Hyundai’s Diesel Centre of Excellence – part of the European R&D set-up in Rüsselsheim, Germany – and showcases Hyundai’s expertise in clean diesel technology.

This ground-breaking new engine will be offered alongside another sub-100 g/km diesel. When combined with Blue Drive technologies, the upgraded 1.4-litre ‘U-II’ 90 ps engine emits 96 g/km.

The debut of the All New i20 sees the introduction of fluidic sculpture form language to Hyundai’s supermini. The revised exterior design carries the hallmarks of Hyundai styling, including the company’s signature hexagonal grille and new headlamp units. Updating their own design from the original i20, the stylists at Hyundai’s European design studio have further modernised the All New i20 with a more contemporary profile for the front and rear bumpers, a new sculpted bonnet and new wheel designs.

In terms of dimensions, the width (1710 mm), height (1490 mm) and wheelbase (2525 mm) of All New i20 remain the same, while the length has increased by just 55 mm (front 30 mm, rear 25 mm) over its predecessor to 3995 mm.

Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai Motor Europe commented, “The i20 has been very popular with European buyers since it came to market in 2009, thanks to its combination of efficiency, quality, practicality and value. With an enhanced engine line-up that includes the lowest CO2 emissions for a conventional powertrain, and sharper styling influenced by fluidic sculpture, the All New i20 will appeal to a broader range of buyers, including younger consumers. The assurance of our industry-best, comprehensive Five Year Triple Care package makes the All New i20 an even more attractive proposition.”



Now Hyundai has been working on multiple engine platforms and hasn’t limited itself to one or two.  Mitusbishi on the other hand started off with the world engine alliance in 2006 – 2008 to create the 4B1X .  This joint venture with Hyundai and Dodge was aimed to creating a world standard small engine platform that would be both reliable and fuel efficient.  Unfortunately Dodge pulled the plug and withdrew from the alliance and bought out Mitsubishi and Hyundai’s share of the technology and went their own with developing smaller engines for Fiat.  Hyundai was “OK” because they had more than one engine platform to fall back on.   For them developing the Genesis with the 4B11 for the genesis was a valuable learning experience.  And if there is one thing we know about the Koreans, they love to learn and evolve.  We are seeing it today in most of their new offerings.

Dodge on the other hand.  well…. Dodge is Dodge.  They have the Fiat alliance, but like the past 10 years, they are still soul searching.  For Mitsubishi, it was a setback, because they did have plans to further scale up development of the engine platform.  With Dodge leaving, Mitsubishi was forced to cancel on going projects, and roll engine development from the 4B1X into new engine platforms and technology.  This is the Hybrid and Electric developments we see or hear about today.  While many people are bitching and complaining that they don’t want hybrid or electric stuff in their EVO or other Mitsubishi cars.  I think they would be surprised to know that power and efficiency is still at the top of Mitsubishi’s list.   So expect more powerful cars.  What they would like to do is ask everyone for time.   And in 2013 and 2014 we will see the end result.  It is a rough road, no doubt. But for those who have a loyalty to the brand, most will stick around to see what come around the corner.  Myself included!

In regards to the Hyundai release, the fact that they are experimenting with clean diesel should send a signal that eco options are still a very diversified field.  In the near term.  Hyundai has no plans to drop this in North America.  But if the technology grows and becomes popular, likely in Europe first.  It will not be long before Hyundai plants a flag in the ground on this front.  When I spoke to my contacts at Mitsubishi in Japan about this.  They shared with me their road map for the same market segment and didnt rule out a wide eco foot print.  Diesel technology isnt something new to them, as well as Hybrid electric technology.  They believe they have a clear and decisive advantage.  So far, comparing what we read about this Hyundai i20 and what Mitsubishi has cooking.  I give the lead to Mitsubishi!  Just comes down to timing and execution.


Yearning for Mitsubishi to release the Colt in North America!

For 4 years, I have sent a well thought out letter to Mitsubishi Corp to release the Colt (2007+ ) in North America.  It is a small car I would buy in a heart beat.   In 2008, it was a letter that was about half a page.  In 2009, it was about 2 pages long.  In 2010 and 2011 it was about 4 pages long and I articulated every detail as to why I think this car would do exceptionally well in North America.  The response I got was more or less  “We will take it under advisement”.    The reason why I think the Colt would have worked is because there really wasnt anyone in the Turbo small car space in North America.  Sure we had small cars like the Yaris and the Fit.  But nothing with a turbo.    Now we see cars all over the place.  Hyundai Veloster will be hitting the streets next year with a 200 HP turbo small car.   Chevy already jumped in with the Cruze which is borderline small car / mid size sedan.  With talk of more car companies shifting the focus back to turbos to get the fuel economy job done, it makes me scratch my head why we can’t get our hands on the sexy Mitsubishi Colt.

I would buy it in a heart beat.  Hell….. here is my 20,000 dollars now.  Give me a Ralliart Colt with AYC and I say Mitsubishi sells 25,000 in the first year.

The good news is Mitsubishi has told me they have product coming.  They will completely revamp / remap where they are going.  Now to some that sounds scary, but I am the type that doesnt like to judge before seeing the goods.   I and about a Million Mitsu hardcore owners are waiting for what comes next.

In the mean time.  Watch this vid,

Mitsubishi's New Mirage replaces the Colt North America never saw

Mitsubishi’s New Mirage replaces the Colt North America never saw

Mitsubishi is moving ahead with the Mirage.  After 2 years of serious development, insider say that its closer to production than many know.  Mitsubishi has pored a tremendous amount of resources into this car and the green technology that drives it.  But…  How does the new Mirage stack up to the Mitsubishi Colt it is replacing in Europe?

After asking some tough questions with my Mitsu Japan contacts.  The number 1 achievement for Mitsubishi is to significantly reduce if not eliminate emissions fleet wide.  Mitsubishi wants to move itself into that space first before anyone else.  While I began the conversation feeling uncomfortable with the radical departure from what everyone is use to.  Everyone, myself included, fear change.  For me its rapid change that gets to me.  but as we talked, I started to feel very energized.

But there were still a few things that left me puzzled.   Mitsubishi had a great car released 4 years ago in Europe called the Colt.  Why retire it and start over?  Did it not reach all the ECO targets set out?   They paused for a few minutes and told me.  “We took what we learned there and made it better!”

Now let me stop right there and tell you guys a bit about the Mitsubishi Colt.

Say hello to the 150 Horsepower Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart And 109 HP Natural Aspirated Colt available today in Europe.

Sexy isn’t it?  What is even more stunning is that this 1.5L turbo engine puts out great fuel economy.  33 MPG City and 50 MPG High.  50!  Getting that while running Premium gas is a breath of fresh are.  The Naturally Aspirated engines are green too.  And there are 3 of them in use in Europe right now

A)  1.5L engine putting out 109HP
B) 1.3L engine putting out 95HP
C) 1.1L engine putting out 75HP for the super green tree lover in you.

It is option C that will shock and awe you.  getting as much as 950 KM (590 Miles) on a full tank of gas.

Mitsubishi was doing this 4 years ago in Europe.  All without having to go hardcore hybrid.  And for 4 years I asked why not North America.  This car would be a hit, its small, light weight and most importantly it has a Turbo.  It would represent a competitive edge over the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and the Mazda 2 which came out in the last year.

In recent discussion with Mitsubishi Japan, I was told

“strategic planning in 2008 – 2009 shifted the focus towards more fuel efficient technologies.  Namely hybrid and full blown electric plug in options.”

Ok I get it, but I guess for the last 4 years I have been harping in on why did it not come here in 2007 with the Lancer and EVO X?  It was explained as

“A Management decision influenced by the fact that North America was using a new engine platform and it may interfere with marketing efforts.  Second, the were not sure of its suitability in our North American Market.  Third, the marketing focus for North America at the time was solely on the Lancer, Ralliart & EVO X as flagship cars.”

After asking my translator to repeat that last part, but he again translated it again just like that.

When I talked to my contact further about what is coming down the road.  He said the technology is far more advanced and eco than the Colt.  And most importantly, the emissions will be cut in half or rendered non existent.  As he want on, I was slowly getting the sharp point.  Mitsubishi wants to put it in the minds of everyone that when you say the Name Mitsubishi you immediately see “MITSUBISHI = GREEN / ECO FRIENDLY” All by the year 2015.

Its Ambitious!  And a noble goal.  But I asked… how many of your traditional customers will follow and will your new technology be as engaging as past vehicles.

His short answer as YES! overwhelmingly.  As I paused on the phone for about 10 seconds.  I waited for him to say more.  Then he articulated it this way as I kinda waited.

“We think that the next few years will be our time in the spot light.  This is where they fuse traditional Mitsubishi style  and design with our eco technology.”

While he didnt say officially but he eluded to the fact that a hardcore coupe is in the pipe and may reach beyond just concepts soon.  But the million dollar question is.  When???

Stay tuned… I will talk more about this later and chime in what Mitsubishi is showing off at the Toyko Auto Show.  The Mitsubishi Mirage.

Why Mitsubishi should think carefully about Hybrid Technology!

Why Mitsubishi should think carefully about Hybrid Technology!

Nissan made a painful decision earlier this year.   The decided to drop the Altima Hybrid for the 2012 year.   Sales were… just not there.  Also I think we have reached a peak in hybrid interest.  The problem is the arms race between next generation technology is heating up.   Some automakers have opted to stay out of the green hype and continue to refine their powertrain technology and make more fuel efficient engines.   Others have put turbo technology to work.  Making them very green when mated with smaller displacement engines.  The Chevy cruze makes an outstanding fuel economy numbers.  Something that the Mitsubishi Colt currently available in Europe can do if optimized just right.  While its rumored the Colt is in redesign, the current generation is ready to go and just right for this type of market.