Light Cars With Smart Brains
Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors made improvements to their light cars that has been fully remodeled.
The new vehicles, which have been fully remodeled for the first time in about six years, will be sold as “Dayz” and “Dayz Highway Star” under the Nissan brand and “eK Wagon” and “eK X” under the Mitsubishi brand.
They were developed by NMKV Co Ltd, a fifty-fifty joint venture between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors. Actually, Nissan led the development of the vehicles, and Mitsubishi Motors is responsible for production.
The first improvement made to the new vehicles is the employment of Nissan’s “ProPilot” safe driving support system. This is the first time that the system has been employed for a light car.
The ProPilot detects objects located in front of the user’s vehicle and traffic lanes with a monocular camera located on the inner side of the upper part of the windshield and realizes “level 2” autonomous driving (driving support) on a single lane of an expressway. Specifically, it realizes ACC (adaptive cruise control) supporting traffic jams and helps the vehicle keep running on the center part of the lane.
The second improvement was the renovation of power train. As an engine, the new vehicles come with “BR06 Type,” which Nissan developed for light cars based on the basic structure of “BR08 Type.” The BR08 Type is an engine that Nissan and France-based Renault codeveloped for compact cars targeted at emerging nations.
The BR06 Type has a longer stroke and a higher torque than the engine of the previous models, realizing powerful acceleration even at the time of starting moving the vehicle.
As for transmission, the CVT (continuously variable transmission) of the previous vehicles was redesigned, and speed control was improved. As a result, smooth acceleration was realized.
Also, Nissan’s “S-Hybrid” simple hybrid system, which assists the driving of the engine with a BSG (belt starter generator), is offered for the new vehicles. A lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is located under the driver’s seat. By increasing battery capacity, the time during which the motor can be used to assist the engine was extended.
Furthermore, the platform was improved. Compared with the platform of the previous models, the new platform has a shorter front overhang and a longer wheelbase. As a result, a large interior space was realized.
Mitsubishi Motors started volume production of the new vehicles at its Mizushima Plant (Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture) March 14, 2019.
Mitsubishi Motors Chair and CEO Osamu Masuko attended the “line-off” ceremony (ceremony to celebrate the start of volume production), which took place in the afternoon of March 14 at the Mizushima Plant, and said, “We combined Nissan’s latest technologies and Mitsubishi’s knowhow to make light cars. It was the best decision to make competitive light cars.”