Monthly Archives: April 2013

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Auto Zeitung of Germany test drives the Outlander PHEV

Titled “The song of a low-emission future”, the 2013 Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle was reviewed by Auto Zeitung. The Outlander PHEV system consists of a 121 horsepower 4 cylinder gasoline engine, coupled with a 70 kw generator. There are 2 electric motors rated at 82kW each – one drives the front wheels and the other drives the rear wheels.

A lithium ion battery pack is located under the floor of the vehicle, and doesn’t take up any cargo space thanks in part to Mitsubishi engineering the new redesigned 2013 Outlander to have a plug-in hybrid option drivetrain right from the start (unlike other gasoline vehicles that are converted, and batteries take up the trunk space).

The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in is the first mass produced SUV with a plug. It’s also the first all wheel drive plug-in hybrid electric. The front wheels are driven by the gasoline engine and front electric motor, and the rear axle is driven solely by the rear electric motor. Power distribution between the front and rear axles is electronically controlled and allows a power-split of up to 100% to one of the axles. If the driver select off-road mode, then the power split it 50/50.

Due to the extra weight of the battery pack and electric motors, the plug-in hybrid Outlander sits about 30 millimeters lower to the ground than it’s gasoline brothers.

Regen is available in all 3 driving modes, and the intensity of the regeneration is selectable via paddles on the steering wheel. Selecting the most intense regen makes going downhill feel like traditional engine braking in a standard transmission vehicle.

According to the article, the 2013 Outlander PHEV is headed for launch in Europe in the summer, with prices starting at 41,000 €.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, i-MiEV production suspended

After 2 fires in Mitsubishi electric vehicles, Mitsubishi has suspended production until the cause of the fires is investigated.

The first fire happened on March 18th, and it was a battery pack of a Mitsubishi i-MiEV that caught on fire at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima factory in Japan. A 98 minute fire was caused by the battery pack overheating – Mitsubishi says it may have been due to a recent change in manufacturing process of the battery supplier. As a result of the fire, Mitsubishi is calling i-MiEV fleet operators whose batteries were made under the same process as those that caused the overheating and led to the fire.

The second fire occurred on March 21 when a battery pack in a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV overheated at a Yokohama dealership. Mitsubishi says 80 cells within the battery overheated which caused damage in one of the three blocks of cells in the battery and causing the Outlander PHEV not to be able to run. This happened during the first time they fully charged the Outlander PHEV. Mitsubishi is asking owners of the Outlander PHEV to hold off on externally charging their battery packs until a further investigation can be conducted. Mitsubishi says the fire will not delay the launch of the Outlander plug-in hybrid’s launch in North America.

Outlander PHEV demand means delays for other countries

Current reports put Japanese order for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV at around 8000 units, and demand in the Netherlands is more than 10,000. Wow. I think it’s safe to say that demand is outpacing Mitsubishi’s expectations. Mitsubishi is currently building 500 vehicles a week, so at that rate they can only fill the current demand for Japan and Netherlands by the end of the year, let alone any more need from those countries or any of the other countries Mitsubishi said would get the Outlander PHEV in late 2013 and early 2014.

Australians were supposed to get the Outlander PHEV later in 2013, but according to a recent press announcement, Mitsubishi Australia will not get the Outlander PHEV until later next year due to unexpectedly high demand in Japan. The Outlander PHEV was originally due in showrooms in Australia in May, but this announcement means it will arrive up to 8 months later than planned. This likely means the launch in the US in January 2014 will be pushed back as well.

Mitsubishi Australia’s Corporate Communications Manager told press that 2 Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrids will be in Australia for marketing and press activities in June, but the first Australian-spec versions will arrive in January 2014.

There’s also a rumor that Mitsubishi Motors Australia is lobbying hard for an entry-level of the Outlander PHEV that could mean a price of less than $40,000. If the request for an entry-level version was granted, it would bring plug-in hybrid technology to Australian customers for much less than expected. With the entry-level AWD Outlnader costing around $33,390, the Outlander PHEV ES could be priced as low as $38,990. That will make Australia’s first plug-in SUV considerably cheaper than any other PHEV currently available, including Holden’s ($59,990 plus ORCs) and Porsche’s upcoming Panamera S E-Hybrid, which will cost about $300,000.

“We don’t see it (the PHEV variant) will have a huge premium,” said Beale, head of Mitsubishi Motors Australia Communications. “We’re looking at bringing in a low to mid-spec model, and we’re negotiating a similar jump in price as the one that exists between current spec grades.”

Mitsubishi Motors Australia hopes to avoid the issues that Mitsubishi had when the i-Miev electric vehicle was launched. Initially starting at $70,000, the i-Miev now costs $48,800, and still isn’t selling as well as they would like.

The Outlander PHEV will also be available in range-topping Aspire auto form, which currently costs $43,490 in petrol guise and $45,490 with a 2.3-litre diesel engine.

To keep up to date on availability, keep your eye on the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV forum.