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Mitsubishi Redefines Intelligent Hybrids With Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi is challenging the notion of a plug-in hybrid, PHEV by giving its user choice and efficiency with its New Outlander PHEV.

A few years ago Mitsubishi intrigued us with a fresh and intelligent plug-in hybrid based on an Outlander platform. The company will make it available at the end of the year.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a plug-in hybrid that used its electric motor only when needed? Wouldn’t it be great if a frugal internal combustion engine kicked in whenever needed? Now wouldn’t be great if the plug-in hybrid would intelligently go from series, efficiently using its electric motor to spin the wheels to parallel, adding its gasoline engine to directly spin the wheels when enough speed calls for it? Mitsubishi is promising the release of such a platform with its New Outlander PHEV.

Technically Speaking. It all started with the sleek Concept PX-MiEV that showed up in auto shows in 2009 which was followed with the Concept PX-MiEV II in 2011. Using its MiEV electric vehicle technology on an Outlander SUV platform, the company is building a smart plug-in hybrid that let’s you choose from the three drive modes or automatically uses the most efficient means to spin it wheels.

In a world where hybrids and plug-in hybrids either use a conventional gasoline engine helped with a secondary electric motor or only use an electric motor and slap onboard an internal combustion engine to recharge the battery pack and/or drive the wheels, the choice is slim. But what if you could have the more efficient way of using the electric motor at relatively low speed then use the gasoline engine in parallel for higher speed, while being able to recharge the battery pack at the same time?

Intelligent Plug-In Hybrid Design. The New Outlander PHEV will do this with the use of its Super-All Wheel Control, S-AW, Mitsubishi’s four wheel-drive traction control developed for the Lancer Evolution X series, which helps manage the 100% instant off-the-line torque provided by the electric motors. This smart SUV comes with two electric motors, one providing power to the front wheels, the other to the rear. It will have a gasoline engine that can be used to generate electricity to run the motors, recharge the battery pack and/or provide power to the front wheels.

This configuration will allow you the freedom of choosing from three driving modes from Pure, where only the electric motors are used, to Series, where the two motors are assisted by the gasoline engine to Parallel, where the gasoline engine spins the wheels and is supported by the two electric motors. The only specs known as of now are the driving range of roughly 500 miles, with electric only at 31 miles and the targeted CO2 emissions is below 50 g/km.

Mitsubishi will be showing the New Outlander PHEV at the 2012 Paris Motor Show from September 29th to October 14th. It will be available first in Europe at the end of this year and sometime next year or by 2014 for the US. Mitsubishi says its Outlander PHEV will be the first permanent 4WD electric car in series production. The Mitsubishi New Outlander PHEV redefines conventional plug-in hybrid platforms by letting the driver choose which drive system to use whenever and redefines what a smart plug-in hybrid should be.