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Plug-ins Go 4WD With Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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On: Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 2:45PM | By: Chris Weiss


Plug-ins Go 4WD With Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi announced this week that it will unveil the 2014 Outlander PHEV at the Paris Motor Show in September. The automaker calls the model the "first permanent 4WD electric car in series production."

Living in the mountains, I've discovered two things about vehicles: I need four-wheel drive for snow and dirt roads, and SUVs with four-wheel drive tend to get terrible gas mileage. I've been waiting patiently for an electric or plug-in hybrid with all/four-wheel drive. I thought it was going to be the Toyota Rav 4 Electric, but Toyota sticks with two-wheel. It looks like the Outlander PHEV will finally fill the void.

In addition to being the first electrically driven 4WD in series production, Mitsubishi says the Outlander platform will be the first from a major manufacturer designed for both internal combustion engine and plug-in hybrid configurations. The new Outlander platform will underpin both the PHEV and gas models.

In PHEV tune, the Outlander will use two electric motors, one per axle, along with a range-extending engine generator mounted up front. It will drive in three modes: Pure (electric motor 4WD), Series (twin motor 4WD with engine generator support) and Parallel (gas engine with twin motor support). So, unlike other plug-ins that use their engines strictly for power generation, the Outlander PHEV will also use it for direct motivation.

Mitsubishi doesn't say what the all-electric range will be but it gives the total gas + electric range at close to 500 miles. It says emissions will be kept to around 50 g/km.

The new gas Outlander will hit the European market this fall, and the PHEV will go on sale next year. According to Inside Line, the Outlander PHEV will hit the US market by early 2014. If the $50,000 price tag of the 2WD electric RAV4 is any indication, however, it'll be a very small market.

The Outlander will be Mitsubishi's first plug-in hybrid vehicle and a follow-up to the fuel-thrifty iMiev electric vehicle.

PRESS RELEASE

CIRENCESTER, UK - At the forthcoming 2012 Paris Motor Show ("Mondial de l’Automobile"), Mitsubishi Motors will continue to roll out its ambitious, global and green new product generation with a series of significant premieres. Highlight of this offensive will be the world introduction of the all-new Outlander Plug-in Hybrid EV.

New Frontier
Neither a mere adaptation of an existing Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) – powered vehicle, nor a dedicated Plug-in Hybrid technology showcase, the New Outlander Plug-in Hybrid EV (or “PHEV”) will share its architecture with the soon-to-be-introduced New Outlander’s ICE versions – an engineering feat in itself.

As such, it will be the first mainstream car from a major manufacturer envisaged from the outset with built-in provisions for either ICE or PHEV power trains.

Plug-in Hybrid EV
Adding to its credentials, the New Outlander PHEV will further distinguish itself:

  • Mitsubishi Motors’ first Plug-in Hybrid car, it will be an EV-based vehicle, relying on MMC’s extensive EV and electronic know-how, supplemented by a petrol engine when needed – a solution more suited to global markets than Diesel.
  • Making the best use of Mitsubishi’s renowned 4-Wheel-Drive expertise, it will also be the first permanent 4WD electric car in series production.

Long haul
The New Outlander PHEV unique drive train combination of front electric motor + rear electric motor + front traction/generator petrol engine will translate into a choice of three driving modes:

  • Pure (Twin Motor 4WD EV)
  • Series (Twin Motor 4WD - EV supported by generator)
  • Parallel (ICE engine supported by Twin Motor 4WD).

When fitted to the New Outlander, the Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid system will allow for a long haul range and very low emissions similar to that of the Concept PX-MiEV II show car, i.e. a driving distance of over 800 km and a CO2 target below 50 g/km.

Further…
Whilst the New Outlander ICE will start its commercial career in Western & Eastern Europe in the fall of 2012, the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid EV will be retailed in Europe during the course of 2013.

Complementing this New Outlander family, Mitsubishi Motors will stage further premieres at the Paris Motor Show, aimed at a European audience and to be detailed at a later stage…

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