Mitsubishi has confirmed that the long-anticipated Outlander Plug-In Hybrid utility vehicle will arrive for the 2017 model year, in Spring 2016.
It’s hardly been a smooth trip to market for the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV). The model was originally previewed by a concept at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto show, and slated for U.S. introduction in 2013, as an image-building flagship model that would coincide with a full redesign.
To give you an idea of how long it’s overdue, that third-generation Outlander has now been given a rather extensive mid-cycle refresh for 2016, and the Plug-In Hybrid’s still nowhere to be seen at Mitsubishi showrooms.
Mitsubishi’s U.S. officials have insisted that it was held from the U.S. because it was selling very well in Europe. At nearly 20,000 Outlander PHEVs sold there, it’s true that sales were considerably better than anticipated. But we’re betting that Mitsubishi’s especially uncertain future in the U.S. several years ago didn’t help with that either.
For the U.S. market, the model would have been the first plug-in hybrid utility vehicle from any mainstream automaker.
Demand in Europe was beyond the original battery production expectation, according to Bryan Arnett, senior manager for product strategy at Mitsubishi Motors North America. “We couldn’t manufacture batteries to meet demand over there, which unfortunately caused us some delay,” Arnett said.
“Then as we were working with the battery supplier [Ed: LEJ] to improve demand, we were aware of this product—so it just sort of made more sense to align all the stars and introduce the PHEV to the U.S. in its latest form,” Arnett explained.
Plug-In Hybrid Due To Get Mid-Cycle Revamp—And More
The U.S. is the second market to get refreshed non-hybrid versions of Outlander, including more noise insulation, improved materials, and revamped styling details, among other things. Then in the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, we’ll see “many of these changes, and then some more.”
Don’t look for any major changes in the battery capacity (12-kWh) or the motor system, but the 2017 Outlander Plug-In Hybrid will have some significant improvements in control strategies.
“We are continuing to refine the use of the power and tune the range,” said Arnett, hinting that it could earn a slightly higher rating for range than the present model. “We can expect some improvement over the current vehicle.”