2013 Mitsubishi OutlanderEnlarge Photo
For some time now, it’s been no secret that Mitsubishi has been planning on bringing a plug-in hybrid SUV to market.
Now we know it will arrive this year, in the form of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid, a car Mitsubishi first promised us back in 2009.
The Outlander plug-in hybrid -- or P-HEV Mitsubishi calls it -- will be based around its existing Mitsubishi i technology, as well as its previous iterations of PX-MiEV crossover concept vehicles.
Like many plug-in hybrids, the Outlander plug-in hybrid will allow the driver to choose between various operating modes, giving them full control of when it is in electric-only mode.
In Pure mode -- a name also used by Volvo to describe all-electric driving -- the Outlander plug-in hybrid will be powered exclusively by its onboard battery pack and twin electric motors.
With one motor driving each axle, the Outlander plug-in hybrid will have electric all-wheel drive.
Mitsubishi predicts the Outlander plug-in hybrid will travel around 30 miles in all electric mode, but when the battery is depleted, the car switches into series hybrid operation.
In Series mode, the primary traction power will come from the car’s onboard battery pack and electric motors, with additional power being supplied by the car’s on-board gasoline engine.
In Parallel mode, both the electric motors and the car’s engine will work together to provide maximum power. Parallel mode has been designed to work best at higher speeds, such as freeway cruising.
Interestingly, Mitsubishi has also chosen to include a charge-sustaining, or Battery Charge Mode on the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid. This means it will be possible to recharge the car’s onboard battery pack from the gasoline engine while on the move, allowing drivers to enter zero-emissions zones in all-electric mode after a long drive.
There’s no news yet on price, or an exact launch date for the Outlander plug-in hybrid. However, Mitsubishi has promised the car will be launched “some time during FY2012.”
We assume that equates to a launch some time before September, with deliveries starting at the end of 2012.
[EDIT:] An eagle-eyed reader has pointed out that Mitsubishi's predicted FY2012 date might not equate to a delivery by September. While the U.S. financial year ends in September every year, Japanese financial years end on March 31, meaning the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid may not arrive until March 2013.
Thanks for the correction!