gc-phev_img_30To be displayed for the first time in Europe during the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Concept GC-PHEV blends nearly seven decades of Mitsubishi 4WD technology with the engineering fundamentals of the all-new low environmental impact Outlander PHEV – a new page in the full-size SUV textbook.

Next frontier SUV – Imagine

Unveiled in November 2013 at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show, Concept GC-PHEV (for “Grand Cruiser”) is a next-generation full-time 4WD full-size SUV, fitted with an advanced plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) powertrain.

True to a long line of 4WD Mitsubishi vehicles that started in 1936 with PX33, Concept GC-PHEV expresses MMC’s contemporary vision for a large, robust and powerful car able to pamper its passengers in utmost safety over all sorts of terrains (where legal), for work or leisure, with the lowest possible environmental impact.

GC-PHEV

Carved solid design – Command

Concept GC-PHEV’s design is meant to express both a reassuring sense of safety and a welcoming and comfortable openness to the interior.

Exterior styling blends muscular volumes with sharp lines, resulting in a sculpted 3D shape that appears to have been carved out of a single block. With the daytime running lamps positioned high for maximum vehicle visibility, the headlamps located within the bumper, the high-slated grille and the large front skid plate, the front fascia is powerful, purposeful and stately.

At the rear, integrated seamlessly into the wide bumper, the large tailgate marries an appealingly fresh appearance with good functionality, while rearward visibility is enhanced with the use of sub-windows.

The body design also utilises a combination of aerodynamic-enhancing features throughout, including variable front grille slats for better engine cooling, while the absence of B-pillars adds to the sense of openness, convenience and freedom provided by Concept GC-PHEV.

Like all three Tokyo Motor Show MMC concept cars, Concept GC-PHEV features the brand’s new visual identity, which will be gradually introduced with each new Mitsubishi Motors crossover and SUV over the coming years. Meant to symbolise the functionality and reassuring safety inherent to SUVs, this visual identity is made of vertical elements (either chromed or lighted) bracing the front end of the vehicle(s) either side of the grille.

All-terrain PHEV – Power

Concept GC-PHEV features a plug-in hybrid electric system to provide the level of powerful, solid and satisfying driving experience expected from a full-size SUV, yet with the lowest possible environmental impact taken for granted today.

Applying Outlander PHEV’s engineering fundamentals to a much bigger, more powerful, all-terrain (where legal) high-end full-size SUV, Concept GC-PHEV develops plug-in hybrid electric powertrain technology even further.

In this case, the PHEV powertrain is made of a 3.0-litre V6 super-charged MIVEC petrol engine, a clutch, an eight-speed automatic transmission, a high-output electric motor and a high-capacity battery, the latter installed under the rear cargo floor for better front/rear weight distribution.

GC-PHEV 2

As for Outlander PHEV, this new PHEV system automatically switches between pure EV mode and hybrid mode(s), depending on driving conditions, remaining battery charge and other factors.

In the case of Concept GC-PHEV, Mitsubishi Motors engineers took the PHEV concept even further through:

– Integration of an eight-speed automatic gearbox integral to the PHEV system. In EV mode, it is intended to maximise motor output efficiency at all vehicle speeds (within legal limits). In hybrid mode(s), it extracts power from the engine while the high-output motor kicks in to provide additional power as and when required

– Moving from two electric motors (front and rear) as fitted to Outlander PHEV to one single motor, saving on weight and friction losses.

Delivering punchy performance with comfortable reserves of power, the PHEV system makes for a solid and satisfying driving experience and helps Concept GC-PHEV take poor road surfaces or pulling a caravan or trailer easily in its stride. It also delivers the excellent response and smooth acceleration and luxury-car levels of quietness inherent to the PHEV system.

Concept GC-PHEV’s high-capacity battery can be used as an external power source. The 100V AC on-board socket can output up to 1500 watts of electrical energy, ideal for powering equipment when camping or enjoying other outdoor pursuits, as well as providing an emergency power source for domestic appliances. The system can supply the equivalent of a day’s power consumption in an average household from the battery alone and up to 13 days when the engine is used to fill the battery.

Super-All Wheel Control – Drive

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Originally introduced with Lancer Evolution and then extended to Outlander PHEV, Mitsubishi Motors’ advanced Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) integrated vehicle dynamics control system – working mainly by controlling torque distribution to and braking effort at each wheel – has been optimised for Concept GC-PHEV to provide handling that accurately reflects driver intent together with rock-steady vehicle stability.

In this new application, S-AWC is based on a full-time 4WD system including a rear differential, an electronically-controlled limited slip differential (LSD) at the front, another electronically-controlled limited slip differential in the centre and an electric-active yaw control (E-AYC) unit at the rear. The latter uses torque from the electric motor to precisely control torque distribution to each rear wheel, providing excellent vehicle stability.

Furthermore, low range – to be used off road (where legal) – is obtained through a centrally-mounted sub-transmission unit, acting as transfer case. According to road surface conditions and the selected traction mode, S-AWC works in co-operation with the PHEV system to assist the driver in following their chosen line through corners, as well as realising remarkable all-terrain performance (where legal).

Connected Car Technology – Inform

Concept GC-PHEV is equipped with advanced Mitsubishi Motors’ “connected car” technology that utilises next-generation information systems.

This technology is set to bring significant changes to the time we spend in our cars. Linked to a vehicle information network, the connected car system uploads vehicle status information on a real-time basis and links it with traffic in the vicinity, traffic signal and other information to advise the driver on how to drive their car more economically.

The system also provides a failure and malfunction early-detection system, which urges the driver to seek repairs or service, as well as an accident damage prediction reporting function including link to the emergency and safety services.

Augmented Reality (AR) Windshield – Foresee

Looking at further possibilities for connected car technology, Concept GC-PHEV is fitted with novel interface systems. These include the AR windshield, which utilises augmented reality technology, as well as the tactical table large touch-operated display in the centre of the cabin.

The AR windshield employs augmented reality technology to display information necessary to the driver on the windshield while the vehicle is on the move. By projecting information into their forward field of view, the AR windshield allows the driver to ascertain their vehicle status without taking their eyes from the road. Information projected on to the windshield includes sat-nav-linked route guidance, active safety system-linked distance to vehicle in front, and lane departure warning.

The AR windshield also presents caution tracking information, which uses vehicle-to-vehicle and pedestrian-to-vehicle communications to give the driver guidance on and display alerts about vehicles or pedestrians approaching from blind spots at junctions.

Tactical Table – Gather, Create And Share

Located in the centre of the cabin, the touchscreen tactical table is a new kind of tool that uses connected car technology to push the boundaries of occupant fun and pleasure in unknown ways.

No one-way street – where information is only received – the tactical table generates a new style of motoring life where occupants can use their smartphones to “gather” information on their trip, “create” an original map or trip plan, as well as “share” that information with others using on-board communicators.

Active Safety Technology – Protect

Concept GC-PHEV features MMC’s next-generation electronic “active” safety system in co-operation with connected car technology to realise an enhanced level of vehicle and occupant protection through forward, rear blind-spot assistance.

In the case of Concept GC-PHEV, the system includes:

– Co-operative adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist, which provides forward visual assistance on expressways and main roads by sharing acceleration/deceleration information on the vehicle in front, using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to realise more accurate distance-to-vehicle-in-front control, while also encouraging more economical operation of the vehicle and helping to relieve traffic congestion.

– Lane keep assist function, providing appropriate handling support to prevent the driver from drifting out of their lane because of fatigue or inattention. The system includes a traffic sign recognition system that uses an on-board camera to recognise and inform the driver about road signs and activates the engine speed limiter in an emergency.

– Adaptive headlamps, which use the on-board camera to detect the position of oncoming vehicles or pedestrians while the headlamps are on high beam and blank off that area of illumination to prevent dazzling.

For all-directional driver assistance, the electronic “active” safety system employs eight infra-red cameras – two at the top of the windshield, one in each A pillar, one behind each rear door window, and one on either side at the top of the tailgate – to scan the periphery of the vehicle. High-definition image processing enables the system to instantly and accurately detect any risk factors close to the vehicle. The system also uses a night-eye multi-around monitor to rapidly alert and warn the driver of the approach of any obstacles or other vehicles.

The Mitsubishi electronic “active” safety system also incorporates many other functions, including:

• Pedestrian collision mitigating auto-braking: This radar- and camera-based system detects pedestrians ahead of the vehicle at night and in other situations where they are difficult to spot, and alerts the driver to their presence. The system will also automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision or to mitigate injury.

• Rearward blind spot vehicle warning: This system helps avert collisions by alerting the driver to the presence of vehicles approaching from behind. It also detects and warns the driver of the presence of vehicles or other objects behind the driver’s own vehicle while backing in, such as when parking or leaving their garage.

• Driving safety support system: Promoted by the Japanese National Police Agency, it enhances safety by utilising communications with vehicles and road infrastructure to warn the driver of traffic signals ahead, as well as the approach of pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists at junctions, and urges the driver to slow down.

• Unintentional vehicle move-off control: When a front-mounted camera spots any objects immediately in front of the vehicle and sensors detect the mistaken use of the accelerator instead of the brake pedal, the system operates to limit engine power and restrain forward movement of the car. The system also urges the driver to be more careful.

• Driver monitor: This uses an infra-red camera installed in front of the driver as well as sensors in the steering system and in the driver seat to monitor eye blinking and changes in posture to assess the driver’s level of alertness. If the system detects abnormalities in driving behaviour, such as when the car starts to wander on the road, it instantly alerts the driver and urges them to take a rest. It also alerts the driver when it determines their concentration has dropped or when they glance away from the road in front.