For a new take on all-wheel-drive systems, one needs to look only at the Mitsubishi Concept CT that made its debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Behind its futuristic, aggressive styling is a hybrid powertrain that incorporates electric motors integral to each of the four wheels.
Working in concert with a 1.0-liter three-cylinder gas engine located mid-ship, the motors are able to simultaneously distribute power as needed and lower fuel consumption. The combined output measures 134 horsepower. Like today’s mainstream hybrid vehicles, the Mitsubishi Concept CT employs regenerative braking technology to help keep everything charged.
Riding on a 102.4-inch wheelbase and 20-inch wheels, the Concept CT offers can accommodate four adults, with rear passengers entering through small doors hinged at the rear for a butterfly effect. The instrumentation and controls for navigation and entertainment system are found on an assortment of flat screens. Behind the rear occupants is a cargo area that is accented by a split tailgate, and the front passenger and rear passenger seats can be folded flat to allow for the transportation of long cargo. And for smaller items, the rear seat bottoms can be raised, providing an alternative storage space. And for even more utility, there’s extra room for gear and groceries under the hood.
Those individuals expecting to pick up their own Mitsubishi Concept CT are setting themselves up for a big disappointment. However, company officials claim that technology based on the CT’s all-wheel-drive hybrid powertrain will hit the market by the end of the decade.
Photos by Ron Perry