Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will present the global debut of the new Outlander PHEV at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. MMC targets a 143.5 mpg combined fuel consumption rating for this SUV!
The Paris Motor Show will be held between Thursday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 14.
The Outlander PHEV uses a Plug-in Hybrid EV System powertrain developed by MMC and derived from its lineup of all-electric models. Its U.S. EPA test results will likely yield a more conservative economy estimate, but this vehicle is still aiming for a new benchmark for all passenger vehicles, let alone larger sport utilities.
Mitsubishi refers to the Outlander PHEV as the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV and says the vehicle offers the best of three worlds: the environmental performance of an electric vehicle (EV), the cruising range of a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and the on- and off-road performance of an SUV.
The new Outlander PHEV is based on the new Outlander which first debuted in Russia in July and is to be introduced in other European markets starting this month.
The Outlander PHEV uses MMC’s own Plug-in Hybrid EV System powertrain derived from 100-percent electric systems used on the i-MiEV and other MMC all-electric vehicles. The Outlander PHEV brings together the environmental performance and quietness that distinguish EVs while delivering the utility and on- and off-road performance associated with 4WD sport utility vehicles and the cruising range of a conventional ICE-powered vehicle.
Targeting the mid-size category and above, which require extended cruising range, the Outlander PHEV’s Plug-in Hybrid EV System fuses together the EV technologies proven on MMC’s i-MiEV with the very latest ICE environmental technologies, including MMC’s MIVEC variable valve timing system.
Employing electrical power stored in the drive battery by charging either at home, a charging station or when the system recovers energy when decelerating, the Plug-in Hybrid EV System gives the Outlander PHEV fuel-sipping performance, with a target combined fuel efficiency in excess of 61 km/liter (143.5 mpg) and a cruising range in excess of 880 km (545 miles), which is on a par with a conventional ICE-powered car.
Depending on driving conditions and remaining battery charge, the Plug-in Hybrid EV powertrain automatically selects the optimum of three drive modes for comfortable driving while providing superior fuel efficiency:
EV Drive Mode
EV Drive Mode is an all-electric mode in which the front and rear motors drive the vehicle using only electricity from the drive battery. With zero on-road fuel consumption and zero CO2 emissions the driver can enjoy quiet and very eco-friendly performance in this mode.
Series Hybrid Mode
In Series Hybrid Mode the engine operates as a generator supplying electricity to the electric motors. The system switches to this mode when the remaining charge in the battery falls below a predetermined level and when more powerful performance is required, such as accelerating to pass a vehicle or climbing a steep gradient such as a slope.
Parallel Hybrid Mode
In Parallel Hybrid Mode the engine provides most of the motive power, assisted by the electric motors as required. The system switches to this mode for higher-speed driving when the engine operates at peak efficiency.
The high-capacity 12-kwh lithium-ion drive battery gives Outlander PHEV an EV Drive Mode cruising range of over 55 km (34.17 miles). Mitsubishi considers this sufficient for all-electric operation in most everyday situations.
The driver can also manually switch to Battery Charge Mode in which the engine acts as a generator and charges the drive battery whether the vehicle is stationary or on the move. Battery Charge Mode gives the driver the flexibility to use the engine as a generator at any time they want; for example if the driver wants to use EV Drive Mode at a specific time, they can make sure the drive battery has enough energy for that time.
The Outlander PHEV uses a Twin Motor 4WD system comprising independent electric motors to drive the front and rear wheels. According to Mitsubishi, in addition to decreased friction loss Twin Motor 4WD delivers better response and finer control than conventional mechanical systems. It accomplishes this without a propeller shaft or other mechanical components seen in conventional mechanical systems. The Twin Motor 4WD system is integrated with Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) integrated vehicle dynamics control system to deliver high levels of stability and all-terrain performance and ensure the vehicle behaves just as the driver intends it to.
In addition, the front and rear electric motors generate maximum torque immediately, an inherent characteristic of electric motors, giving acceleration comparable to that of a vehicle powered by a large displacement high-output ICE and allowing Outlander PHEV to deliver superior levels of environmental and driving performance.
MMC will introduce Outlander PHEV in the Japanese market in early 2013 then sequentially roll out the model in Europe, North America, and other markets around the world.