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Auto Shows: Mitsubishi Mi-Tech Is an Electric Buggy on Steroids at the Tokyo Motor Show

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The Mitsubishi Mi-Tech is an intriguing, extremely muscular SUV concept that looks a bit like a dune buggy with no roof or doors, only two seats, massive wheel arches, and a plug-in hybrid setup with a gas turbine engine as a generator.

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  Mitsubishi's Tokyo Motor Show hybrid concept might be a roofless SUV The company says this SUV concept will use a plug-in hybrid powertrain and an electric four-wheel-drive system. The PHEV setup is described as being low-weight, but no other details were given. Mitsubishi was one of the first manufacturers to offer a plug-in-hybrid SUV for sale -- the Outlander PHEV -- and this concept could preview a new hybrid setup for future production crossovers. While the shadowy image only shows the top half of the rear of the car, we can see a number of intriguing details. The surfacing is sharp, the trunk lid is short, and part of the taillight is visible above the rear bumper.

The fantastical back of the SUV has four fans positioned up high, part of the unique powertrain that foregoes a regular piston engine for a gas turbine that will drink most liquids, including alcohol, diesel, and kerosene. The turbine acts as a generator to charge the batteries that power four motors—one per wheel—for four-wheel-drive traction off-road when one wheel is spinning in the air.

a car parked in front of a building © Motor Trend Staff

The front end has the brand's signature Dynamic Shield instead of a grille, embedded T-shaped headlights, and an aluminum skid plate on the lower bumper on both sides. The back is downright intimidating but matches the front with the T-shaped taillights.

Inside the passenger area has Mitsubishi's Human Machine Interface with an augmented reality windshield to display information gathered by the car's sensors as they gather data on their surroundings, helpful when visibility is poor.

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a truck cake sitting on top of a car: Mitsubishi Mi Tech Concept 27 © Motor Trend Staff Mitsubishi Mi Tech Concept 27

The concept also has Mi-Pilot, which is Mitsubishi's next-generation driver assistance technology that works on unpaved roads.

Plug-in hybrid technology is an area of expertise that Mitsubishi brought to the Nissan-Renault Alliance which it joined a few years ago. "We are dedicated to electrification technology, particularly plug-in hybrids (PHEVs)," Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato said. "We will be expanding our lineup of electrified vehicles by delivering more variations and leveraging the diverse electrification technology in the alliance to make MMC the leader in the PHEV category going forward."

The other concept Mitsubishi showed at the Tokyo Motor Show was the Super Height K-Wagon, a tiny but tall kei wagon concept with a modicum of ground clearance, nice brown and black interior with quilted seats, and a big screen in the dash.

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a green truck parked in front of a car © Motor Trend Staff

It is taller than most kei cars and has a longer wheelbase, and the black wheel arches were designed to make it look more SUV-like. It has the brand's Dynamic Shield up front. It is a family vehicle with a large rear door opening and more rear legroom than most in the class. Engine-wise, all we know is it has a "high-performance engine and CVT."

It is coming by the end of the fiscal year as part of the second wave of the next-generation kei cars.

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