Next month at the Geneva Motor Show, Mitsubishi will introduce its long-anticipated production plug-in hybrid Outlander with reported capability of 31 miles all-electric range, and potential for near-triple-digit MPG equivalent.
The U.S. version of the tech-laden vehicle will be added to the rest of a redesigned Outlander lineup and is to go on sale in 2013.
The plug-in is derived from the second all-wheel-drive PX-MiEV concept shown last year at Tokyo. According to Mitsubishi spokesperson Christine Jew, it is capable of operating as a series hybrid, parallel hybrid, or on battery power alone.
We noticed a report saying a battery electric Outlander will be introduced, but in the interest of avoiding confusion, we’re reporting that Mitsubishi said that was incorrect.
Instead, the “EV-based Outlander” will use a gasoline engine (possibly 2.0-liter but not confirmed) plus dual electric motors, lithium-ion battery pack and other technology from its “i” electric city car. Mitsubishi would not verify powertrain details, but the concept upon which it’s based was said to deliver power on par with a 3.0-liter V6.
The two electric propulsion motors (60-kw (80.5 horsepower) on the concept) – one for the front, another for the rear wheels – are controlled by sophisticated electronics. Combined with the petrol power plant, range is said to be over 500 miles (800 km), with emissions below 50 grams per kilometer.
How the plug-in Outlander will do on the EPA fuel efficiency test cycle is to be determined, but Mitsubishi’s initial projection for the easy going Japanese cycle is a combined rating of 141 MPGe (60 km per liter). This cycle normally scores significantly higher than does the U.S. cycle. For some reference, the EPA says Mitsubihi’s smaller i makes 112 MPGe combined.
Mitsubishi says the “eco-friendly” Outlander line will include variants for other markets including gasoline and turbo diesel.
Order of introduction for these new Outlanders is Russia first this summer, then to “European, Japanese, Oceania, Chinese and North American markets,” with the extended-range version beginning production later this fiscal year. The diesel is not scheduled for the U.S.
Among other safety features, the lineup will include the following advanced safety technologies:
• FCM (Forward Collision Mitigation System): Detects obstacles on the road ahead of the car and automatically applies the brakes to prevent a collision.
• ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control System): Operates to maintain a safe distance between the car in front even at very low speeds experienced in heavy traffic congestion.
• LDW (Lane Departure Warning System): Functions to warn the driver that their vehicle is about to depart from its lane.
The plug-in Outlander is actually one of eight electrified vehicles Mitsubishi will reportedly launch by 2016. These will include plug-in hybrids and full-electric vehicles.
Part of this new plan – which is reportedly well under way – is to produce small SUV’s and light trucks to attract farmers, contractors, and others who use light trucks as part of their work.
As for their BEV forerunner, the humble i, Mitsubishi has said it hopes to double last year’s global sales for 2012 to 42,000 units.
Mitsubishi looks like it means business, and if it meets its ambitious goals over the next few years, it stands to become a force to be reckoned with.