The announcement was made at the local launch of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, with Mitsubishi Australia referring to the new plug-in hybrid SUV as "the beginning of a new era" for the Japanese manufacturer and a vehicle that points to "the advanced technology direction of its future product portfolio". It confirmed similar technologies will spread to the Outlander's sibling SUV offerings as they are launched.
The Outlander PHEV is Mitsubishi’s first production vehicle to feature the company's petrol-electric system, but all-new hybrid versions of the Pajero and ASX SUVs - previewed in concept form at last year's Tokyo motor show by the GC-PHEV (above) and XR-PHEV (pictured below) - are set to follow.
Mitsubishi says both production models will feature variations of the PHEV systems they showcased at the Japanese show. The larger Pajero concept previewed a 250kW supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine teamed to a 70kW electric motor and a 12kWh battery , while the smaller ASX-size model had a 100kW turbocharged 1.1-litre three-cylinder petrol engine partnered with a 120kW electric motor and a 14kWh battery.
With a full-time Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) four-wheel-drive system on board, the GC-PHEV claimed a plug-in cruising range of more than 40km, while, partly thanks to roof-mounted solar panels, the smaller XR-PHEV claimed a figure of more than 85km.
Mitsubishi says it expects plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles to account for around 20 per cent of its production by 2020.
Touting PHEV technology as the company’s "next big breakthrough", Mitsubishi Motors Australia marketing executive director Tony Principe said the technology will play a "significant role" in the brand's future model line-up, both in Australia and overseas.
"It’s the future direction for Mitsubishi and the technology has still greater potential," Principe said.
Principe said the PHEV system can also be adapted to suit a wide range of vehicle types, from small, medium and large vehicles, depending on each vehicle’s individual function and performance requirements.
Apart from a six-seat plug-in hybrid people-mover – the Mitsubishi AR concept – also appearing at Tokyo, Mitsubishi has also shown its GR-HEV concept (above) which points the way to plans for a hybrid-powered version of the next-generation Triton ute.
Though the Outlander PHEV marks Mitsubishi’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, its first mass produced electric vehicle, the i- MiEV, debuted in Japan in 2009.
CarAdvice is at today's local launch of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in Canberra, ahead of its March 31 on-sale. The Outlander PHEV will start at $47,490.