Mitsubishi banking on V2X to tout PHEVs
Move part of smart electricity strategy
Mitsubishi Motors Thailand wants to seek new business opportunities based on its "V2X" concept, using plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to alert households to smart electricity management.
V2X is the use of vehicles, preferably PHEVs, to power "X", a variable that can refer to anything in connection with electricity, said Morikazu Chokki, president and chief executive of Mitsubishi Motors Thailand as his company introduced the technology.
It serves as a charging outlet for PHEVs and enables vehicles to feed power back to homes.
This function is named V2H, or vehicles to home, but the technology can be further applied as V2G, facilitating households selling power to the grid.
The technology was introduced as Mitsubishi prepares to launch its Outlander PHEV on Dec 1, ahead of the 12-day Motor Expo at Impact Challenger Hall in Muang Thong Thani.
The company is not focused on adding more charging stations in public areas to promote sales of electric vehicles (EVs) like rival companies such as MG, which is operated in Thailand by SAIC Motor-CP Co.
While the Chinese-Thai joint venture vowed to increase the number of charging facilities to 500 by next year as it launched the MG HS PHEV on Oct 27, Mitsubishi decided to pursue development in another part of the EV ecosystem.
Mr Chokki said charging outlets are an inseparable part of the ecosystem, but because people are entering the "electricity age", they cannot ignore a novel way to manage power and the V2X concept will help complete the ecosystem.
"Electric cars are just a start for this change," said Mr Chokki, adding V2X will be part of its business direction to promote clean energy.
Mitsubishi plans to start its EV business in Thailand by offering PHEV as a premium alternative vehicle.
The company does not want to begin with cars purely powered by electricity, because drivers may "not feel free" to use them on long-distance trips out of concern over the availability of charging outlets, said Mr Chokki.
The number of charging facilities in Thailand stands at 1,100, about 10 times less than those in Japan, he said.
The V2X concept is based on a set of technologies called "Dendo Drive House".
It comprises a bi-directional charger to power PHEVs and receive electricity from the cars, a 6-kilowatt hour home battery, rooftop solar panels and PHEVs.
Dendo, a combination of two Japanese words "den" (electricity) and "do" (moving), can help future house owners cut power bills as they can use electricity generated by the sun and PHEVs.
"We're not planning to sell the technology at this moment, but will take a further step when we see an opportunity," said Mitsubishi Motors Thailand vice-president Eiichi Koito.
His company earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to spend three years studying the V2X model.
An EV analyst viewed it as a fresh attempt to add a new utility to PHEVs, encouraging prospective car buyers to try them, but the move received a mixed response from the audience.