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Mitsubishi's Smart, Connected MiEV House

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On: Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 3:45PM | By: Chris Weiss

Mitsubishi's Smart, Connected MiEV House

The Geneva Motor Show is packed full of plug-in vehicles of all kinds - from sexy smart cars to ultra-efficient city cars. Thing is, though, the world really doesn't need any new electric vehicles or concepts unless they happen to travel 400 miles on a charge and cost under $30,000. There's hardly much interest in the electric vehicles we do have.

What the world needs is a better charging infrastructure to support electric vehicles. That may not make for as sexy an auto-show concept, but it would certainly help grow the industry more than a one-off electric sports car with a sub-4-second 0-to-60 time. Mitsubishi trudged through that unsexy terrain to present its MiEV house, a concept that gives one take on the future of home charging.

Mitsubishi describes the MiEV: "The MiEV House is a concept for a 'smart house' that tackles energy and global warming challenges by managing energy usage between the house itself, 'smart appliances,' EVs/plug-in hybrid vehicles (P-HEV), and 'smart grids' all at the same time through EMS (Energy Management System) and MMC's own EIS (Electric Vehicle Integration System)."

The Energy Management System works as a two-way system with electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid batteries. Not only does the house grid charge the EV's batteries, but the EV can direct energy into the grid when feasible. The EMS optimizes energy flow with the aim of shifting overall usage to off-peak, nighttime hours. Essentially, the battery would contribute electricity into the home grid during peak times and charge at off-peak times to manage usage more efficiently.

Of course, a system that charges the battery based solely on grid considerations could work against the driver. For instance, what if you needed to run out to grab dinner and your battery was drained during the day? That's where the EIS comes in. This in-vehicle computer system monitors battery charge and matches it to the owner's needs. So the battery is always full when you need it. Mitsubishi doesn't go into much detail about how the system operates, but we presume that the driver could enter information about his schedule and driving needs and then leave it up to the EIS to manage charging.

The MiEV house is part of an ongoing effort that Mitsubishi and partners are making to create better, more functional EV systems. The house was originally unveiled at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show and updated for last year's show. It's on display now at the Geneva Motor Show.


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