Surprising Mitsubishi. Sometimes the smaller car manufacturers surprise us the most. Maybe this is due to the fact that they are smaller, nimbler and more in touch with reality than the bigger car builders around. So should Mitsubishi’s bold claim to electrify its car line up in four years be that surprising? Not necessarily so.
4 Years To Prove Yourself. Four years is a relatively short time in the automobile industry. It took 5 years to design a car from scratch on an average 20 years ago. It still takes 3 years currently. Mitsubishi’s decision is a testament to how serious it feels about its engineers and team to pull it through. So what does this mean for the next 4 years?
Mitsubishi Outlander. The new Mitsubishi SUV Outlander is due out this year but the real news is the follow up on the 2008 fantastic prototype of it i MiEV II Outlander platform. Mitsubishi’s plug-in platform showed the best of all worlds. A tantalizing plug-in hybrid, PHEV that lets you choose when to drive in pure electric mode, when to use gasoline only and when to let the hybrid mode do it all. The jewel was the smart active system that determined when the vehicle would function as a series plug-in hybrid or parallel.
Technically Speaking. The difference between a series and parallel plug-in hybrid system, is that series only spins the wheels with its electric motor. Parallel is when the gasoline engine comes in to help the electric motor to spin the wheels. In practical terms, the electric motor pulls the weight of the car from 0 to about 50 MPH, at that point, the finely tuned internal combustion engine kicks in to drive the car along with the electric motor at highway speeds.
This system lets you, the driver, in charge. You can choose when to use electricity alone, hybrid or gasoline. This is a refreshing change in this day and age when car builders like to do the thinking for drivers. The same idea is already in Mitsubishi’s all electric i MiEV that lets you choose between three driving modes, making the regenerative braking felt more.
While little is being said about the upcoming plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander, we can imagine it will keep many of the features announced at the previous car shows. What we do know is that it will run about 25 miles on electricity alone and consume roughly 140 MPG with its 3 liter V6.
The North American market arm of the company hasn't decided yet if all of its entire line-up will have a for of hybrid configuration. We do know that Mitsubishi is also moving toward a uniformed, global market manufacturing and designing. I look forward to testing out the Mitsubishi Outlander in its intelligent plug-in hybrid version, which will give us a driving mode choice while substantially reducing the gasoline budget.