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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid EV debut @ Paris Motor Show

Outlander PHEV is the world's first plug-in hybrid SUV and offers the best of three worlds: the environmental performance of an electric vehicle (EV), the cruising range of a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and the on- and off-road performance of an SUV. MMC is due to bring Outlander PHEV to market first in Japan early in 2013.

Alongside the Outlander PHEV, MMC will be displaying a total of 11 vehicles (seven on press days) on its stand at the Paris Motor Show, including: the new European version of MMC's global compact car (called Mirage in other countries) which makes its debut; the ASX compact crossover which has been refreshed for the 2013 model year; and a display model of the i-MiEV Evolution 100% electric racecar which took part in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb held in the United States in August.

1. New Outlander PHEV

The new Outlander PHEV, to be unveiled for the first time at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, is based on the new Outlander which first debuted in Russia in July and is to be introduced in other European markets starting from September. The Outlander PHEV uses MMC's own Plug-in Hybrid EV System powertrain derived from 100% electric systems used on the i-MiEV and other MMC all-electric vehicles. The Outlander PHEV is the world's first plug-in hybrid SUV, and brings together the environmental performance and quietness that distinguish EVs while delivering the utility and on- and off-road performance associated with 4WD sport utility vehicles and the cruising range of a conventional ICE-powered vehicle.

Targeting the mid-size category and above, which require extended cruising range, the Outlander PHEV's Plug-in Hybrid EV System fuses together the EV technologies proven on MMC's i-MiEV - the pioneering 100%-electric car brought to market in 2009 - with the very latest ICE environmental technologies, including MMC's MIVEC*2 variable valve timing system. Employing electrical power stored in the drive battery by charging either at home, a charging station or when the system recovers energy when decelerating, the Plug-in Hybrid EV System gives the Outlander PHEV gasoline-sipping performance, with a target combined fuel efficiency*3 in excess of 61 km/liter, greatly superior to that of vehicles powered by a conventional engine, and a cruising range in excess of 880 km, which is on a par with a conventional ICE-powered car. *2: Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system. *3: Representative fuel efficiency figure based on a combination of the vehicle's fuel consumption when driven in all-electric mode, called the plug-in fuel efficiency, and when driven in hybrid mode, called the hybrid fuel efficiency (measured via Japan's JC08 mode)

MMC will introduce Outlander PHEV in the Japanese market in early 2013 then sequentially roll out the model in Europe, North America, and other markets around the world. Some major features are introduced below.

1) Automatic Selection of Three Drive Modes for Optimal Efficiency

Depending on driving conditions and remaining battery charge, the Plug-in Hybrid EV powertrain automatically selects the optimum drive mode (see below) for comfortable driving while providing superior fuel efficiency.

a) EV Drive Mode EV Drive Mode is an all-electric mode in which the front and rear motors drive the vehicle using only electricity from the drive battery. With zero on-road gasoline consumption and zero CO2 emissions the driver can enjoy quiet and very eco-friendly performance in this mode.

b) Series Hybrid Mode In Series Hybrid Mode the gasoline engine operates as a generator supplying electricity to the electric motors. The system switches to this mode when the remaining charge in the battery falls below a predetermined level and when more powerful performance is required, such as accelerating to pass a vehicle or climbing a steep gradient such as a slope.

c) Parallel Hybrid Mode In Parallel Hybrid Mode the gasoline engine provides most of the motive power, assisted by the electric motors as required. The system switches to this mode for higher-speed driving when the gasoline engine operates at peak efficiency.

2) High-capacity Drive Battery Offers Driving Versatility

The high-capacity 12 kWh lithium-ion drive battery gives Outlander PHEV an EV Drive Mode cruising range of over 55 km (JC08 mode*4), sufficient for all-electric operation in most everyday situations*5. The driver can also manually switch to Battery Charge Mode in which the gasoline engine acts as a generator and charges the drive battery whether the vehicle is stationary or on the move. Battery Charge Mode gives the driver the flexibility to use the gasoline engine as a generator at any time they want; for example if the driver wants to use EV Drive Mode at a specific time, they can make sure the drive battery has enough energy for that time.

*4: An official method of measuring vehicle fuel consumption introduced by the Japanese government.

*5: "Most everyday situations" is based on a JCAP (Japan Clean Air Program) study conducted in Japan which showed that on average, 85% of Japanese drivers drove less than 55km per day.

3) Twin Motor 4WD System Provides Superior Response

The Outlander PHEV uses a Twin Motor 4WD system comprising independent electric motors to drive the front and rear wheels. In addition to decreased friction loss Twin Motor 4WD delivers better response and finer control than conventional mechanical systems. It accomplishes this without a propeller shaft or other mechanical components seen in conventional mechanical systems. The Twin Motor 4WD system is integrated with Mitsubishi's well-proven S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) integrated vehicle dynamics control system to deliver high levels of stability and all-terrain performance and ensure the vehicle behaves just as the driver intends it to.

In addition, the front and rear electric motors generate maximum torque immediately, an inherent characteristic of electric motors, giving acceleration comparable to that of a vehicle powered by a large displacement high-output ICE and allowing Outlander PHEV to deliver superior levels of environmental and driving performance.

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