Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid delayed again, now three years late


2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

When a Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid appeared at the 2016 New York Auto Show back in March, it seemed Mitsubishi was finally ready to bring its plug-in hybrid crossover to the U.S. after years of delays.

Originally scheduled for a launch early in 2014, the plug-in crossover utility vehicle was gradually pushed back further and further.

At that show, Mitsubishi said it would arrive in U.S. showrooms before the end of 2016—but now it appears the company won't meet that deadline either.

DON'T MISS: 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid: U.S. debut

The Outlander Plug-In Hybrid has been postponed until Summer 2017, according to HybridCars.

Mitsubishi is delaying the launch "in order to meet a level of competitiveness that will exceed customer expectations in the United States," Alex Fedorak, of Mitsubishi public relations, told the website.

This means the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid will now be more than three years late, assuming Mitsubishi doesn't delay its launch again.

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

Even the model shown in April was considered a "prototype," and Mitsubishi will not discuss final U.S. specifications.

U.S. models will likely use the same powertrain, including a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and a pair of electric motors, as other markets.

One electric motor works with the gasoline engine to drive the front wheels, while the second motor drives the rear wheels—giving the Outlander a "through the road" all-wheel drive system.

ALSO SEE: 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander: delayed for U.S. again, specs may change

Models in other markets use a 12-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, but U.S.-spec models may use a different pack.

U.S. versions also won't get the CHAdeMO DC fast-charging system available in other markets.

Since its initial launch, the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid has been a fairly strong seller in the markets where it is available.

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

It was the best-selling plug-in hybrid model in Europe through May, according to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory, and roughly 100,000 have been sold globally.

Sales in Japan were also fairly high in previous years, although they have declined over the past few months after Mitsubishi's admission that it cheated on fuel-economy tests there.

MORE: Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In is 4th electric to reach 100,000 sales

Meanwhile, carmakers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo have all launched luxury plug-in hybrid SUVs in the time since Mitsubishi first announced the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid.

The plug-in Outlander could still be the only non-luxury vehicle of its type in the U.S.—but only if Mitsubishi can actually get it here.

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