The OVEC-TWO, an experimental converted EV, unveiled at the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation headquarters in Tamachi, Tokyo on January 11

Mitsubishi i-MiEV to have in-wheel motors, raising international competitiveness of Okayama’s automotive engineering

On January 11, Okayama Vehicle Engineering Center (OVEC), who tackles verification tests on in-wheel motors for small cars, unveiled the OVEC-TWO, the experimental vehicle of the second phase of its project. A personnel talked about the significance of challenging in-wheel motors in relation to kei cars.

The OVEC-TWO is a converted EV. The inverter, motor, decelerator, and drive shaft originally mounted to the back of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV have been removed, and was then mounted with a motion control ECU (DVCU), exclusive inverter, and outer-rotor direct drive in-wheel motor.

It’s a system that can independently control the rear wheels’ drive force. Hence, the suspension system has been changed to a double wishbone suspension.

The drive battery remains the same as the i-MiEV Grade X’s which has a 16kWh capacity. It generates a maximum output of 23.5kW×2 and a maximum torque of 570Nm×2. The Grade X, however, has a maximum torque of 160Nm. “Moving forward, we would like to check how the torque soars, a behavior unique to in-wheel motors,” the personnel says.

“The concept is driving stability and environmental performance that goes beyond the boundaries of kei cars. To achieve this, we will continue to utilize in-wheel motors, and pursue a high-efficiency drive system, modularization of chassis and electrical equipment, and extension of cruising range,” the person in charge stated.

The i-MiEV is currently in production in Mitsubishi Motors Mizushima Plant located in Kurashiki, Okayama. The OVEC-TWO is an ongoing research and development project by Okayama Prefecture-based industries (16 companies), academies, and the government in partnership with Mitsubishi.

An OVEC personnel said, “Through manufacturing prototype EVs, we are boosting the proposal and technical capabilities of the local companies. We are aiming to be an internationally competitive next-generation automotive industry cluster.” Toda Racing and Minori Industry are enterprises that have been participating in this project.

(Translated by Aileen Bolo)