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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV revealed

The first official image of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) production car has been released ahead of the innovative soft-roader’s international debut at the 2012 Paris motor show later this month.

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The world’s first plug-in SUV will go on sale in Japan in early 2013 before launching in Australia around June – roughly six months after the petrol- and diesel-powered variants of the third-generation Outlander reach local showrooms in November.

Mitsubishi Australia’s Caitlin Beale said exact pricing and specifications of the Outlander PHEV are yet to be locked down for our market, although she said the local brand was determined to see the car positioned close to the range-topping VRX variant ($52,640) rather than at some stratospheric point out of most customers’ reach.

There is a chance the mid-sized Outlander plug-in SUV could become Australia’s cheapest plug-in hybrid, potentially undercutting the $59,990 Holden Volt. The Volt has a longer electric-only range than the Outlander (87km vs 55km), although the Mitsubishi has a longer total range (880km vs circa-600km) and seating for five occupants compared with the Holden’s four.

The Outlander PHEV combines two electric motors (producing 60kW/137Nm at the front axle and 60kW/195Nm at the rear) with a 70kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine generator and a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The complex powertrain allows the plug-in Outlander to be driven in three modes: EV Drive mode, which facilitates zero-emissions motoring; Series Hybrid mode, where the petrol engine acts as a generator to supply electricity to the electric motors; and Parallel Hybrid mode, where the petrol engine provides most of the motivation and is supported by the electric motors.

The battery takes approximately four and a half hours to charge from a 15-amp socket, and has an equivalent combined cycle fuel consumption of 1.6 litres per 100km according to Japanese testing standards.

Mitsubishi says the Outlander PHEV’s Twin Motor 4WD system delivers better responsiveness, finer control and decreased friction loss compared with conventional mechanical systems, and, paired with the brand’s proven ‘Super All Wheel Control’ (S-AWC), delivers all-terrain stability at least on par with the non-hybrid variants.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV will take to the stand at Paris alongside the European-spec versions of the 2013 Mitsubishi ASX and the all-new Mitsubishi Mirage city car.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Australia has confirmed the standard Outlander range and the Mirage (due here in January 2013) will be revealed for the first time in Australia at the 2012 Sydney motor show in October.

Mitsubishi has also confirmed the Outlander will become the first model in its line-up to feature the brand’s new ‘e-Assist’ active safety technology package, which incorporates adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation system (automatic emergency braking) and lane departure warning system.

The adaptive cruise control system maintains a safe distance between the vehicle directly ahead at speeds of 40-100km/h.

The forward collision mitigation system can avoid crashes if the speed differential between the two vehicles is less than 30km/h, and applies the brakes automatically to lessen the impact if the speed difference is 30km/h or greater.

The lane departure warning system reads the dividing lines ahead of the vehicle at 65km/h or higher and alerts the driver with an audible alarm and warning light if the system detects the vehicle is drifting from its lane.

Specifications of the all-new 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander will be released closer to its local launch in November.