Mitsubishi is bringing the plug-in hybrid crossover Outlander (the best-selling PHEV in Europe) to the US. The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) will arrive in dealerships in December 2017 with an MSRP of $34,595. Equipped with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, two high-performance electric motors and Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the only PHEV crossover with all-wheel drive in its class. It is also the only PHEV with DC Fast Charging capability (CHAdeMO). US fuel consumption and electric range figures are still to come.
The two 60 kW full-time, high-output electric motors are separately mounted at the front and rear axles. The front electric motor is positioned transaxle-style on the left side of the engine; the front motor is a smaller, lighter and higher output enhanced version of the permanent magnet synchronous electric motor used in the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. The system features a front-mounted generator that converts mechanical power to electricity and continuously charges the drive battery, while a Power Drive Unit (PDU) helps to convert the electric power and send it to the front motor.
The engine delivers 117 hp @ 4500 rpm, with 137 lb-ft (186 N·m) of torque. The front motor delivers 137 N·m of torque; the rear deliver 195 N·m. Combined system power output is 197 hp.
The rear 60 kW motor and Electric Motor Control Unit (EMCU) are mounted beneath the rear cargo area subfloor. Both the front PDU and rear EMCU are intelligent control units that contribute to heightened energy efficiency and optimal motor control.
The 12 kWh, 300V Li-ion battery pack that supplies the electricity for the motors consists of 80 cells configured in a series. The battery is located in a dust- and water-proof encasement positioned beneath the passenger compartment subfloor and between the front and rear axles (with no intrusion into the passenger compartment whatsoever).
Regenerative braking is also used to generate electricity for the system. During deceleration (braking), the front and rear electric motors function as generators so that electricity can be generated and fed back into the lithium-ion drive battery pack. Regenerative braking occurs when the vehicle is in motion while the accelerator pedal is not being pressed (coasting) or when the driver engages the brakes by pressing the brake pedal. The level of regenerative braking can be conveniently selected by the driver at any time using the steering wheel paddle shifters.
Three drive system modes. The Outlander PHEV automatically selects one of three unique drivetrain modes.
EV Drive Mode (Twin Motor S-AWC EV). In the driver-selectable EV Drive Mode, the vehicle is driven by the two electric motors, with energy being supplied exclusively by the lithium-ion drive battery pack.
Series Hybrid Mode (Twin Motor S-AWC EV with Internal Combustion Generator). When the energy level remaining in the lithium-ion drive battery pack is low or when the need arises for a sudden and/or additional degree of acceleration, the two electric motors are powered by the battery pack and the gasoline-powered generator. In this configuration, the gasoline-powered generator helps charge the lithium-ion drive battery pack and powers the motors.
Parallel Hybrid Mode (Gasoline-Powered Engine Supported by Twin Motor S-AWC). In this drive mode, the Outlander PHEV uses its full complement of available resources. The 2.0-liter gasoline engine drives the front wheels; the front axle features a built-in clutch that switches the system to Parallel Drive Mode mainly for engine-powered travel at high speeds/steady-state cruise. The two electric motors positioned at the front and rear of the vehicle operate seamlessly when additional power is required, such as driving uphill. The gasoline-powered engine/generator—while operating the vehicle at sufficient speed—will feed any excess energy (electricity) back into the lithium-ion drive battery pack.
The Parallel Hybrid mode is most commonly utilized when the Outlander PHEV is being driven in a long-haul/high-speed steady-state cruise manner such as on the open road or interstate. This is the most efficient drivetrain mode under these types of driving circumstances.
The Outlander also offers a number of driver-selected modes.
ECO Mode. The Outlander PHEV features a driver-activated “ECO Mode” switch that reduces both fuel and electricity usage for increased efficiency simply with the touch of the button.
Battery Save Mode. In this driver-activated mode, the Outlander PHEV automatically conserves the energy within the lithium-ion drive battery pack by operating the vehicle in hybrid mode. Battery Save Mode will only operate once the lithium-ion drive battery pack's energy level falls below 90 percent full. For example, engaging the Battery Save Mode would allow the vehicle to be driven in urban traffic with the engine/generator on to maintain a higher level of battery charge; it could then be deactivated, allowing the vehicle to be driven through a neighborhood silently at an appropriate speed in EV Drive Mode.
Battery Charge Mode. When activating the Battery Charge Mode—whether the vehicle is in motion or at a standstill—the engine will generate electricity to be fed into the lithium-ion drive battery pack (essentially forcing the vehicle to operate in Series Hybrid Mode). For example, if the engine is idling and the vehicle is not moving, selecting the Battery Charge Mode will replenish a low energy level within the lithium-ion drive battery pack back up to 80% fully charged in approximately 40 minutes. The advantage to the Battery Charge Mode is giving the vehicle a reserve of additional power when necessary such as hill-climbing or towing.
S-AWC. The Outlander PHEV comes standard with Mitsubishi’s proprietary S-AWC. The S-AWC system found on the Outlander PHEV is a specialized application of the Lancer Evolution-derived Super All-Wheel Control developed specifically for the Outlander PHEV’s unique twin electric motor configuration for maximum performance, efficiency, tractability and safety.
By optimally managing Active Yaw Control (AYC), Anti-lock braking system (ABS) and Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control (TCL)—which now offers enhanced traction on all road conditions—it brings out the full potential of Twin Motor S-AWC without compromising safety, comfort or fuel efficiency. When desired, the driver can press the Twin-Motor 4WD LOCK button to simulate locking of a center differential and optimally distribute torque to all four wheels for improved traction and stability.
DC Fast Charging. The vehicle’s drive battery can be charged with a standard 120V (full charge in less than eight hours) power outlet at home with the supplied charging cable, or with a public or residential 240V (full charge in less than four hours) charging station. Outlander PHEV also comes standard with DC Fast Charging capability—the only Plug-in Hybrid in the market with it. Using this system at commercial charging facilities, the vehicle will charge up to 80% capacity in as little as 25 minutes. Charging status is conveniently displayed on the instrument panel.
Safety technology. From intelligent sensors that track the vehicle’s surroundings and warns of danger to active driving assistance and solid passive protection, the Outlander PHEV delivers all around high levels of safety.
Blind Spot Warning (BSW). This safety feature uses radar sensors in the rear bumper to detect vehicles in rear blind spots, on the right and left sides. An indicator appears in the door mirror when BSW is active and the turn signals are off. When a vehicle is detected and the turn signals are on, an indicator blinks in the door mirror on that side.
Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM). Helps prevent a frontal collision or reduce the severity of that collision if it becomes unavoidable. Responds to vehicles and pedestrians via camera and laser radar.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW). The Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system uses an onboard camera to monitor lane position in front of the vehicle audibly and visually, alerting the driver if it detects the vehicle leaving its lane unintentionally.
Automatic High Beam (AHB). To increase safety, comfort and driving ease at night, the high beams automatically switch to low beams when vehicles are detected ahead and automatically switch back to high beams so the driver doesn’t have to remove their hand from the steering wheel to switch the beams manually.
Adaptive Cruise Control System (ACC). Maintains a selected distance between the vehicle and the car ahead via radar for greater safety and peace of mind. It reduces driver stress especially during traffic jams on highways.
Multi-View Camera System. The views from cameras mounted on the front, rear and sides of the vehicle (including a bird’s-eye view) can be displayed in various combinations to help reveal what is in blind spots and help you park.
Wi-Fi EV Remote. Using a Smartphone remote control app, the Outlander PHEV and wireless device communicate directly. Once set up, the owner can use the wireless device for many functions:
Charging Schedule: turn on/off the charging timer.
Remote Climate Control: cooling, heating and defrosting can be controlled remotely. Set the A/C to run on a schedule. Utilize the grid power to run the heat or A/C before going to the vehicle, so there is no decrease in vehicle efficiency or range.
Monitor Vehicle Status: Check the car’s status such as an open/closed door or hood, headlights on/off, driving battery state of charge and more.
Vehicle Control: turn on/off headlights and parking lights.
Settings: Change MITSUBISHI REMOTE CONTROL settings, such as change/cancel SSID, customize vehicle settings, and check theft alarm operation history.
Available in the Outlander PHEV are two standard North American 120V AC power outlets located in the rear seat and cargo area. The plugs draw directly from the drive battery and provide 1,500 watts of electric power, enough to power nearly any portable household appliance. The plugs could be useful for outdoor events such as camping (toaster, spotlight, electric grill, coffee maker) or tailgating (television, blender, game console, mini-fridge, speakers).
Warranty and Pricing. The 2018 model year Outlander PHEV comes with a fully transferable 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty as well as a fully transferable 10-year /100,000-mile warranty on PHEV components and the Main Drive Lithium-ion battery. These warranties are in addition to a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty to the original retail purchaser and a 7-year/100,000-mile anti-corrosion perforation limited warranty. In addition, the Outlander PHEV comes with a 5-year/unlimited miles Roadside Assistance benefits.