Mitsubishi Plug-In Hybrid May Arrive In 2014By John O'Dell November 10, 2011
With its all-electric "i" city car launch finally under way, Mitsubishi Motors is turning its sights on a much bigger slice of the electric-drive market with a plug-in hybrid SUV. The automaker which has shown its PX-MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative EV) concept at several previous global auto shows stretching back to 2009 reportedly has decided to launch a production version for the 2014 model year. It will show a second-generation concept at the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show. The PX-MiEV II (above and below) is a four-wheel drive, mid-size Mitsubishi Outlander crossover SUV fitted with the companys electric drivetrain and a small internal combustion engine that serves as a generator and, at times, provides direct drive power to the wheels.
The company says the 5-seat hybrid Outlander will deliver up to 31 miles (50 kilometers) of all-electric range on its grid-charged battery pack before the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine-generator kicks in. Overall range on one battery charge and a tank of fuel is 500 miles (800 kilometers). The lithium-ion batteries power a pair of 60-kilowatt electric motors one front, one rear, and the gas engine can generate up top 70 kilowatts of power to keep the motors turning when the batteries are depleted. Mitsubishi is targeting combined fuel economy at 140 miles per gallon (60 kilometers per liter) on the Japanese test cycle.
While Mitsubishi publicly refers to the model being shown in Tokyo as a concept, company insiders have told AutoObserver that a plug-in hybrid Outlander is being planned for 2013 as a 2014 model. Because the U.S. fuel economy test is not compatible with the Japanese and European tests, a U.S. version of the plug-in hybrid Outlander would likely be rated at closer to 100 miles per gallon in combined gas and electric travel.
Other features on the concept include a Battery Drive mode that allows the driver to keep the vehicle in all-electric mode while driving in the city quiet and low emission zones that are being introduced in parts of Europe and Asia. A driver-selected Battery Charge mode kicks in the engine-generator to recharge the batteries on the fly a useful tool when approaching a city center where sustained all-electric mode will be needed. The Px-MiEV II also is equipped with an external electric socket to permit the battery pack to be used to power appliances such as computers and audio systems during camping trips our outdoor events. The plug-in hybrid Outlanders rapid-charge port is designed to be vehicle-to-home compatible so the charged batteries can provide power to home appliances during power outages.
Mitsubishi said it also will display a small taxi version of its city electric car, the Minicab MiEV, which is plans to launch in Japan next month, and a new Mirage subcompact (below) fitted with a 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder version of the companys newly designed gas engine, the MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control). The Mirage also uses a micro-hybrid stop and go system usually called a stop-start system in the United States that shuts down the engine during full stops to limit emissions and fuel use while idling. Mitsubishi hopes to launch a 70 mpg Mirage in North America in 2013.
The MIVEC engine without the stop-start system also is used on the plug-in hybrid Outlander concept. Part of Mitsubishis auto show display will be the MiEV House, a prototype house that monitors the power storied in electric and hybrid vehicle battery vehicles and manages charging from the residential power supply so that the vehicles always have sufficient power to operate. The system also would enable power form the vehicle batteries to be used to help with household power needs during electric shortages.