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Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid: Van Model For Europe, But Still A Year Away For U.S.

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American buyers are still enduring what seems like an interminable wait for the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid.

Over in Europe however the plug-in crossover has been on sale for a few months now--and Mitsubishi is adding another variant to the range.

Unusually, reports Motoring Research, it's a van--though not in the traditional sense of a purpose-built goods-hauler.

Instead, it's one of several vehicles in Mitsubishi's range targeted directly at business users.

To meet the necessary definitions of a van, Mitsubishi has removed the rear seats, put blanking panels over the rear windows and covered the rear loadspace in a tough rubber coating.

This might seem pointless when drivers could simply fold down the rear seats when they need them and use the Outlander as a car the rest of the time, but there's one major advantage for taking the more extreme route: money.

For a start, the UK's plug-in van grant is larger than that of its plug-in car grant--up to £8,000 ($13,300) or 20% of the vehicle's value.

ALSO READ: Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid: Quick Drive

The Outlander PHEV '4work', as the van variant is known, would ordinarily cost £36,905 (about $61,200 at current exchange rates). But with the grant, that price drops down to £29,524, or under $49,000--a saving of over $12,000.

Then there's taxes. In the UK, where the van is going on sale, all cars are subject to a 20 percent purchase tax known as VAT, or 'Value Added Tax'.

Drivers of vehicles designed for commercial use though--pickups, panel vans or van-based cars like the Outlander PHEV van--can reclaim that VAT on a vehicle used exclusively for business use. That means business users could save even more.

And that's before you take into account the benefits of running a vehicle that does, in European testing, over 30 miles on electric power.

The reality is likely to be a little less than that but it does mean drivers with around-town duties may not use much fuel at all.

They'll also have a vehicle that's relaxing to drive, has a punchy drivetrain and comes with the same benefits as the car on which it's based--alloy wheels, cruise control, and electronic all-wheel drive for bad weather.

Unfortunately for U.S. buyers, getting your hands on a Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in of any sort--let alone a van--is still a year away.

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