Mitsubishi released details of its new plug-in hybrid Outlander SUV ahead of its world premiere at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The car uses a Mitsu-developed PHEV drivetrain which is derived form the all-electric system found in the i-MiEV. That doesn’t sound very good, but Mitsubishi says this car is a full-on 4WD sport utility vehicle with more than decent performance.
What the Japanese company is proposing here is a crossover vehicle with two electric motors on each of the axles, and of course a 2.0-liter 4-cyl. MIVEC gasoline engine to back them up. They promise a target combined fuel efficiency in excess of 61 km/litre, which gives the car a theoretical range of 880 km. The pure EV range is 55 km, and estimated charging time is 4.5 hours.
What’s interesting about this system is that the front and rear electric motors generate maximum torque immediately, an inherent characteristic of electric motors, giving acceleration comparable high-powered petrol-powered cars.
The sophisticated system can automatically choose between three driving modes:
a) 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.
b) 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.
c) 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.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is scheduled to go on sale first in Japan in early 2013.