Japanese motor show will reveal cars of the future
Honda - the sporty hybrid arrives
The most exciting Tokyo show concept to grace our screens so far is a prototype for a production model coming to the UK next year. It is the Honda CR-Z - the world’s first mainstream petrol-electric hybrid sportscar.
This little coupé, spiritual successor to the Honda CR-X, is based on the same running gear as Honda’s latest Insight hybrid. Uniquely, it is also the first petrol-electric hybrid to use a six-speed manual gearbox - much sportier than the usual CVT automatics.
Honda is also showing an all-electric micro car called the EV-N. This is an homage to the 1960s Honda N360. Cute and clever, with solar panels on the roof to help charge the batteries, it is however only a concept, with no plans for production. Shame.
Finally, Honda is also showing a six-seater hybrid MPV. This is also apparently nothing more than a design study at this stage, intended to showcase the flexibility of the Insight’s ‘Integrated Motor Assist’ (IMA) hybrid platform.
Mitsubishi - plug-in hybrid crossover
The key exhibit on the Mitsubishi stand will be the Concept PX-MiEV. This is a plug-in hybrid (meaning it can be connected to the mains electricity supply for recharging) crossover, with semi-SUV styling but the four-wheel drive hardware of Mitsubishi’s high performance Lancer Evolution X models.
The combination of a 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motors, plus some fancy electronics and driving mode software, delivers an incredible 141.24mpg. Efficiency is aided elsewhere by LED lights front and rear, plus clever heat management technology in the cabin.
The PX-MiEV is also packed with advanced safety features, including cameras that give a ‘full perimeter’ view of the exterior, a proximity warning system and vehicle locator system. Not to mention air suspension with selectable ride height.
Mitsubishi is also showing a van version of its i-MiEV electric city car, the i-MiEV Cargo. The regular car version of this all-electric four-seater is already on sale in Japan.
Nissan - global supermini
Meanwhile, not exactly a Tokyo reveal since it is actually being launched in Thailand in March 2010, but Nissan has released the first sketch of a new global compact car.
This will eventually go on sale in more than 150 countries. Details are so far very limited, but it looks very much like an evolution of the current generation Nissan Micra. No news of UK availability as yet.
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