Mitsubishi's Tokyo electric concept cars

* PX-MiEV SUV with plug-in hybrid system * Brand new interior design also on show * i-MiEV Cargo adds large loadbay to regular i-MiEV...

Mitsubishi's Tokyo electric concept cars

Mitsubishi has revealed two of the cars that will star on its stand at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month.

The PX-MiEV and i-MiEV Cargo concepts both highlight potential future developments in drivetrain technology.

Plug-in hybrid SUV
The PX-MiEV is a SUV based on the existing Outlander's chassis, and combines Mitsubishi's four-wheel-drive control system and height-adjustable air suspension with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The car's wheels are driven by electric motors, backed up by a 1.6-litre petrol engine that can act as a generator, as well as powering the front wheels when necessary.

Clever drive system
The electric motor and petrol engine are controlled by an operating system that automatically chooses the most efficient way for the car to be driven.

In full electric mode, the car normally runs in front-wheel drive, and sends power to the rear only when the front wheels start to lose grip. Once the battery runs low, the petrol engine kicks in, either to recharge to the batteries or, if necessary, to assist the electric motors by directly driving the wheels.

There's no word on when or if this concept will be built, but Mitsubishi has confirmed that plug-in technology will be available on its vehicles within two to three years.

New interior design on show
The PX-MiEV also features a new interior design, called 'cocochi', a pun on the Japanese word for cosy.

This includes upholstery that reduces allergic reactions and reduces odours, as well as heat-reflecting glass and a new steering wheel that has controls for the audio, sat-nav and ventilation systems mounted on it.

Cargo version of I-MiEV
The i-MiEV Cargo, meanwhile, is based on the existing i-MiEV, and shows how the vehicle could be extended for use by businesses.

Its cargo bay measures 1350mm wide by 1180mm deep and 1100mm high, and has been designed with a completely flat floor to make loading and unloading easier.