It is important to remember that electric vehicles can do more than simply pull electricity from your home; if wired properly, they can supply power, too. And Japanese automaker Mitsubishi has built a concept to remind us of this.
The concept is called the Engleberg Tourer, named for the famed Engelberg Swiss ski resort. The crossover is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) capable of an all-electric range of around 43 miles and a hybrid range of 434 miles. Although impressive, this is not the most interesting part of Mitsubishi’s press conference.
Along with the Engelberg Tourer, Mitsu revealed its new Dendo Drive House (DDH) system. The system, which will be offered to Japanese and European customers later this year allows for Mitsubishi PHEV and EV owners to tie their car into their home’s electric system. That means, power can flow between the two as needed.
For example, let’s say your Mitsubishi is plugged into your garage all day, which is being recharged by solar panels mounted on your roof. At night, rather than pull power off the grid (power that may come from burning coal), you can instead power your appliances from you Mitsubishi’s batteries. And, of course, these are full of electrons sourced from the sun — very eco indeed.
The problem with this, however, is that not many people leave their car at home all day and all night. After all, most of us drive to work, right? So while the DDH sounds very eco-friendly, it skips a few logical steps.
Rather than use your Mitsubishi as a clean power source on a daily basis, likely DDH’s most useful feature will be as an emergency power backup. During or following a natural disaster that has knocked out power to your home, you could use your EV or plug-in hybrid to temporarily power your home.
Depending on how much Dendo Drive Home costs, it might be worth the investment to have as an emergency backup. Mitsubishi hasn’t priced DDH yet, however. So we’re not able to do that arithmetic yet.
Turning back to the Engelberg Tourer, it features an electric all-wheel drive system. It incorporates two electric motors, one for each front and rear axle. When not powered by the energy stores in onboard battery packs, they receive electricity generated by the car’s 2.4-liter gasoline engine.
Intriguingly, rather than offering up a bunch of four-wheel drive modes, the Engelberg Tourer picks one for the drive, utilizing data weather, temperature, topography, traffic and surface condition. This what Mitsubishi calls “point-and-go.”
In terms of design, Mitsubishi says the Engelberg Tourer has unique “Mitsubishiness.” It doesn’t really explain what that means. We can assume it means that it looks like a Mitsubishi. And it does … Except, it doesn’t.
I think it looks more like a Volvo XC40 from the side — especially the rear quarter of the car. Sure, the nose is decidedly Mitsu. But the rest of it looks a bit like an amalgam of other popular crossover designs.
Irrespective of the Engelberg Tourer’s potentially cribbed bodylines, the Dendo Drive House system is extra intriguing. It shows that cars, especially EVs, are going to become further integrated into all parts of our lives. They won’t just be objects we use to get us around. They’ll change the way we consume energy — both on the road and at home.