At long last, Mitsubishi’s production-destined 2013 Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is making its world premiere in Paris, offering an estimated 35 miles all-electric range, and four-wheel drive capability.
Performance estimates including all-electric range, total gas-electric traveling range of over 547 miles (880 km), fuel consumption of over 145 mpg (61 km/l) are based on the liberal Japanese JC08 test cycle. The vehicle’s CO2 emissions rating of under 49 g/km was measured on the EU cycle.
The Outlander’s 2.0-liter engine, 70-kw generator, front and rear electric motors, and 12-kwh battery will no doubt offer less all-electric range and efficiency ratings when measured by the U.S. EPA.
As previously reported, it can operate as a pure EV, series or parallel hybrid when switched into these respective modes. Absolute top speed when using the ICE is 106 mph (170 kph). Top speed in EV mode is 75 mph.
Pricing and launch dates are unknown as of yet for the SUV which was designed from the ground up, says Mitsu, as “an engineering feat” to accept a variety of powertrain options from petrol or diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) to PHEV as being discussed.
So the company’s first plug-in hybrid is no conversion, it says. This is a fully engineered essentially modular solution.
Mitsu further says the EV-based architecture does away with the traditional format of engine plus gearbox plus final drive for a “purer” layout of (front to rear). As you can see in the video below, its layout is as follows:
• Front engine: the 2.0-liter mill is located on the right side of the same engine compartment as the new Outlander ICE variants.
• Front (60 kw) motor plus inverter plus generator: located on the left side of the engine compartment with the engine, transaxle style.
• Drive battery pack: stored (safely) under floor within the wheelbase not to affect interior space.
• Rear (60kw) motor plus inverter: located under floor not to intrude in the cargo area.
The company says this layout features neither conventional gearbox nor driveshaft. The system is electronically-controlled while the petrol engine activates the front wheels (in Parallel Hybrid Mode) through a gear train. The Outlander PHEV’s primary motive force comes from the front and rear electric motors as in a 100-percent EV permanent 4WD vehicle.
• Mitsubishi Motors’ PHEV system uses a newly developed twin-motor four-wheel-drive system mated to Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (“Super All Wheel Control”). Based on the four-wheel-drive technology developed and honed in the Lancer Evolution, S-AWC it integrates control of the 4WD, ASC and ABS systems. Working in tandem with the PHEV system.
• The two motors drive the front and rear axles independently. Being virtually lag-free and offering superior control, the motors ensure finer more precise control of the 4WD system. The Twin Motor 4WD system does away with the propeller shaft, hydraulic system and clutch plate used to connect the front and rear axles in conventional 4WD systems.
• In addition to the obvious active safety of such a sophisticated 4WD drivetrain, the Mitsubishi PHEV system gives the 100-percent instant off-the-line torque inherent to electric motors – with acceleration comparable to that of a 3.0-liter V6 engine – while its twin electric motor will guarantee the smooth progression required in difficult wintery driving conditions.
As a result, says Mitsubishi, the vehicle’s powertrain combination of front electric motor plus rear electric motor plus front petrol engine plus generator translates into a choice of three driving modes, as mentioned:
Pure EV (Twin Motor 4WD EV):
• The car is driven by the two electric motors, the energy being supplied from the drive battery pack.
• With a top speed of over 74.5 mph (120 kph) (where legal) and a range of over 34.1 miles (55 km), Outlander PHEV can fulfill daily family duties with the lowest possible impact (below 49 g/km – EU standard).
Series Hybrid (Twin Motor 4WD EV supported by ICE generator):
• When the energy remaining in the drive battery is low or when the need arises for a sudden acceleration, the two electric motors take their power from the battery AND from the generator.
• In this configuration, the generator helps 1) with the charging of the drive battery and 2) with the motors.
• The petrol engine is not engaged.
Parallel Hybrid (petrol engine supported by Twin Motor 4WD):
• Outlander PHEV now uses its resources to the full for the open road:
o Petrol engine driving the front wheels through a gear train
o Twin electric motors supporting seamlessly at the front and the rear
o Generator distributing additional torque which comes out to enhance engine efficiency, and saving the electricity of the drive battery
The company is touting the New Outlander PHEV’s smooth driveline, and smooth aerodynamic form (for an SUV) to reduce noise, vibration and harshness.
It will offer a “family feeling” user experience, launch in a Technical Silver color with 18-inch alloy wheels, 225/55R18 low-friction tires, and color-keyed bumpers.
Inside will be visual cues and styling that include a “unique accent panel, high contrast meter with power meter, joy stick-type shift knob, etc.”
When we learn of its price, launch date, and more, we will let you know.