Mitsubishi was one of the first to market with a production electric vehicle with its 'i' city car, and a new plug-in hybrid is set to join it at the Paris Motor Show this month.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is based on the all-new Outlander that debuted at the Moscow Auto Show in July.

The company has developed the drivetrain entirely in-house, using knowledge from the i-MiEV project. Mitsubishi says it's the world's first plug-in hybrid SUV, matching electric propulsion with the latest in efficient, variable valve timing gasoline combustion.

Mitsubishi is claiming a massive 143 miles per gallon from the car--though this is a combined all-electric and hybrid figure, based on Japan's notoriously lofty test cycles. Overall gas and electric range is quoted at 547 miles, and electric range alone--still on the Japanese cycle--is over 34 miles.

Three drive modes

The car can automatically select between three drive modes, depending on the conditions. EV Drive Mode uses the front and rear electric motors alone, for silent, gas-free driving. Another benefit of the front and rear electric motors part-time all-wheel drive, as part of Mitsubishi's TwinMotor AWD system.

Series Hybrid Mode uses the 2.0-liter gasoline engine as a generator to power the motors, and kicks in when remaining charge reaches a certain, pre-determined point, or when extra power is required--such as driving up steep hills.

As part of Series Hybrid Mode, drivers can also select a Manual Charge Mode in which the gasoline engine is used to charge the battery whether stationary or on the move, allowing the driver to spend more time in EV mode when it matters--in a city center, for example.

Finally, Parallel Hybrid Mode relies mostly on the gasoline engine for propulsion, and uses the electric motors for assistance. This mode is used at higher speeds when the engine can be run at peak efficiency.


The Outlander PHEV uses a 300V, 12 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which Mitsubishi says can be charged from zero capacity in 4.5 hours, with a 200V, 15 Amp charger. An 80 percent quick-charge can be handled in 30 minutes.

It should all add up to quite a competitive crossover, and may help Mitsubishi revive its ailing fortunes in several markets. The Outlander PHEV will go on sale in Japan in early 2013, before being rolled out in Europe, North America and other markets.

Click on the link for more new cars from the 2012 Paris Auto Show.


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