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Geneva show: Mitsubishi's next Colt to go electric

She’s electric: Although the show car has a combustion engine (with idle-stop and brake energy recuperation), Mitsubishi’s Global Small car will also be offered with a full-electric powertrain.

Mitsubishi’s all-new ‘Global Small’ light car will offer an electric powertrain

3 Mar 2011

AFTER issuing exterior photographs of its forthcoming ‘global small’ vehicle ahead of this week’s Geneva motor show, Mitsubishi has provided fresh details of the all-important car, including basic specifications and confirmation of an all-electric variant.

To be built in Thailand from early next year, but not due here until later in the first half, the new B-segment model is expected to stick with the Colt nameplate in Australia but has turned up in Switzerland in near-production form and with a new tagline, ‘e-compact’.

The e-factor emphasises a number of aspects for the company, ranging from “effective design” and export to engineering and fuel economy – as well as “electric vehicle”.

The latter confirms that Mitsubishi will broaden its all-electric vehicle offerings beyond the niche i-MiEV to a more mainstream and potentially much higher volume model.

The company said that as a “direct effect of its fully integrated Global Small architecture, e-compact is engineered to accommodate a further variant, fitted with a 100 per cent electric powertrain”.

Specific details on this are still to be provided, with the Geneva show car emerging with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder MIVEC engine with idle-stop (dubbed Auto Stop and Go) and brake energy regeneration systems, although Mitsubishi stopped short of providing specific fuel economy and carbon dioxide emission figures.

Prior to the show, the company suggested that this variant of the car, which drives the front wheels (shod with 16-inch 185/55-section low-rolling-resistance tyres) through a five-speed manual gearbox, would emit a class-leading 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

21 center imageThis week, Mitsubishi would only go as far as saying that the vehicle “can boast (a) sensible level of fuel consumption, and therefore emissions, well in line with market trends”.

As GoAuto has previously reported, the new-generation compact will also offer a 1.2-litre engine from launch.

Other ‘environment’ aspects to the vehicle include still-to-be-specified weight-saving measures and “finetuned aerodynamics as exemplified in the sloping roofline”.

The car displayed in Geneva measures 3740mm long, which is 160mm shorter than the current 3900mm Colt – a model that was withdrawn from sale in Victoria this year, due to its lack of electronic stability control – but has the same 1680mm width and, at 1490mm high, sits 60mm closer to the ground.

Mitsubishi claims the “restrained footprint” will seat five adults “in comfort” and accommodate “sufficient” luggage space, making it one of the most space efficient contenders in the B-segment.

The manufacturers also says it is now “pushing the boundaries of global product planning” with its forthcoming small car, with its ability to accommodate customer requirements in every world market – bar none – at the entry level without resorting to a cheaper, or older, platform.

Thailand will be the global production hub for the vehicle, with 80 per cent of its output slated for export, while Mitsubishi says the architecture satisfies customer and regulatory requirements throughout the world, including Japan and North America.

The forecasted annual production volume remains at 150,000 units, with a possible increase to 200,000 units.

“Fifty years later after its first small car, the little ‘500’ launched in 1960 just at the start of the massive export drive of Japan, Mitsubishi Motors’ ambitious e-compact is about to open a new significant page in MMC’s history,” the company says.

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