Mitsubishi to Launch Plug-in Hybrid SUV in January

Jan 6, 2013
Motohiko Hamada, Nikkei Automotive Technology
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Mitsubishi Motors Corp will release the "Outlander PHEV," a plug-in hybrid SUV, Jan 24, 2013.

The PHEV was developed by using the motor and battery technologies used for the "i-MiEV" and "Minicab-MiEV." Its plug-in hybrid fuel consumption rate (rate of composite fuel consumption) is 67.0km/L (under the JC08 test mode), and its hybrid fuel consumption rate is 18.6km/L (under the JC08 test mode). Because the vehicle can drive 60.2km only with the electricity stored in the battery, it can be used almost as an electric vehicle (EV) for the most part of everyday life.

The Outlander PHEV is a four-wheel-drive vehicle with one front motor and one rear motor. Mitsubishi Motors developed the motor by reducing the size and weight of the 47kW motor used for the i-MiEV and Minicab-MiEV and increasing its output to 60kW. The maximum torque of the front motor is 137N·m, and that of the rear motor is 195N·m. The final reduction ratios of the front and rear motors are 9.633 and 7.065, respectively.

When the engine of the PHEV is used for generating electricity, its drive range increases to 897km under the JC08 test mode, which is equivalent to the drive range of engine-powered vehicle. The engine of the PHEV is a four-cylinder gasoline engine with a maximum output of 87kW/4,500rpm and a maximum torque of 186N·m/4,500rpm.

When the vehicle runs at a high speed, its clutch, which is located in the front transaxle, is engaged so that it is powered mainly by the engine. The final reduction ratio from the engine is 3.425. The force from the motor is used when a large drive force is required for acceleration or hill climbing.

The Outlander PHEV is equipped with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that Mitsubishi Motors developed for PHEVs based on the battery used for the i-MiEV and Minicab-MiEV (16.0kWh). It uses 80 serially-connected cells and has a total voltage of 300V and a total capacity of 12kWh. It can be fully charged in about four hours (AC200V/15A). A rapid charging function is available as an option and realizes a charging time of about 30 minutes for charging to about 80% capacity.

The strength of the regenerative brake can be adjusted to three levels by a selector lever and to six levels by a regeneration level selector (paddle type) attached to the steering wheel. The regeneration level selector is a standard feature of the Outlander PHEV except for the E series.

The dimensions of the PHEV are 4,655 (L) x 1,800 (W) x 1,680 (H). The wheel base, tire size and mass of the vehicle are 2,670mm, 225/55R18 and 1,770-1,820kg, respectively. Its price ranges from ¥3,324,000 to 4,297,000 (approx US$37,717-48,758).