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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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_z-lsxRG3w

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. http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com/en/spirit/technology/library/idle_reduction.html

 

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.

 

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.”

Source http://www.autoblog.com/2012/03/07/2012-hyundai-i20-geneva-2012/#continued

 

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.

Evosoul