It’s been a quiet year for Mitsubishi in the United States. Outside of the Outlander Sport, the Japanese automaker has been quiet, only reporting on sales of its small crossover, and not much else. In an effort to breathe life back into the brand, Mitsubishi will be unveiling two new concept vehicles at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Both the Mitsubishi GR-HEV and CA-MiEV concepts will make its official world debut in Geneva.
What you’re looking at with the GR-HEV concept is a possible sport utility truck that utilizes a diesel-hybrid system, which is still being developed. The teaser images don’t give many answers about the GR-HEV’s overall size, but the last automaker to build a SUT hybrid vehicle was the now-defunct Hummer brand. However, it never truly became a reality as Hummer dissolved soon after General Motors, its parent company, filed for bankruptcy back in 2009. Nevertheless, Mitsu’s SUT hybrid variant draws power from a high-output motor and battery and spits out CO2 emissions levels below 149 g/km. For comparison’s sake, the 2013 Chevrolet Volt is rated at 84 grams of carbon dioxide per mile, or 52.5 CO2 g/km. The all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV doesn’t produce any carbon emissions at all.
The GR-HEV concept will also employ Mitsubishi’s next-generation four-wheel drive system and integrates the Super Select four-wheel drive as seen in the Montero, which was discontinued in the United States back in 2006. Mitsubishi is also including its Super All Wheel Control system to help boost traction and performance no matter the road surface below.
As for the CA-MiEV concept, it gives a sneak peek into what’s next for Mitsubishi, as the automaker is pushing full steam ahead with electric vehicles. Back in 2009, Mitsu unveiled the i-MiEV and, while the idea is solid, it has since been considered a flop. The CA-MiEV features technologies like a high-energy density battery with a high-efficiency EV motor, inverter, regenerative braking system, and a wireless charging system. Mitsubishi is estimating that because of its aerodynamics and lightweight, the CA-MiEV concept has a range of 186 miles.
Automotive.com’s take: Mitsubishi should run as fast as it can away from an SUT hybrid vehicle and focus on strengthening its current lineup. The CA-MiEV does seem interesting, but it has to be executed in a completely different way than the i-MiEV was for it to be successful.