By on November 9, 2018

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Press Launch

While the brand name inspires more than a few snorts of derision and jokes in North America, Mitsubishi, now backed by the mighty Renault-Nissan Alliance, carries greater clout overseas. The automaker’s Outlander PHEV outsells all other plug-in hybrids in the UK, and global sales of the brand’s vehicles are on the upswing.

Being a part of the alliance means Mitsu will soon have its hands on new architecture, but the brand claims it isn’t about to go all snobby with a line of dedicated electric car models. Sure, there’ll be EVs in the future, but they won’t be standalone models. The automaker claims the technology it’s most known for — plug-in hybrid powertrains — remains the best bet for most consumers, and that’s why it plans to focus mainly on PHEV.

Also, you really won’t need an EV if you buy the next-generation Outlander PHEV, claims Mitsubishi strategy boss Vincent Cobee.

Speaking to Autocar, Cobee said improvements in store for the second-generation Outlander PHEV will render the vehicle’s internal combustion engine mostly irrelevant. Right now, U.S. buyers (who really had to wait before getting their hands on the model) can expect 22 miles of gas-free driving before the ICE kicks in. In Europe, a different testing cycle puts the range at 31 miles.

“Battery EVs have a limitation in terms of range at the moment, and in some countries, that might not be the answer,” Cobee said, adding that Mitsu plans to outfit other models with the Outlander PHEV’s green tech. The executive seems to subscribe to the notion that it’s better having many people driving a plug-in hybrid than a handful of people driving an EV. Even better is building long-range PHEVs that still offers consumers the option of gassing up.

“The Outlander PHEV currently has an electric-only range of 31 miles, and we’ll extend that with the next-generation model: the aim is 80-100km [50-62 miles], which will be enough for most people to do the bulk of their journeys purely on electric power and live a largely EV lifestyle, but still be able to do longer trips when needed,” Cobee said, adding that Mitsubishi’s future lineup will contain fully electric vehicles, as well as hybrids and PHEVs.

No details were given as to which conventional models might get an EV makeover.

In the U.S., where the Outlander PHEV does battle with a range of (usually) smaller vehicles, brand-wide sales rose 8.4 percent, year over year, last month, with year-to-date volume up 17.1 percent. By the end of October, Mitsubishi sales had already created the six-figure mark — a hurdle the brand failed to clear from 2008 to 2016.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

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15 Comments on “PHEV Is Fine: Mitsubishi Says It Knows What Green Buyers Want...”

  • avatar

    Elon Musk said Ford will not avoid bankruptcy in the next US recession…/elon-musk-said-ford-will-not-avoid-bankruptcy-in-the- next-us-recession/‎
    13 hours ago

    I’ve been prediction that Ford, the most pickup truck-reliant volume automaker in the world to generate both revenue and profits, is incredibly vulnerable WHEN the next downturn occurs (it’s already begun, btw), and this even more true with the completely incompetent Jim Hackett and Jim Farley at the helm.

    However, it’s rich for Musk to opine on this, given that Tesla, barring an absolute divine intervention of an almost unprecedented manner, given its cash burn rate and overall financial morbidity, in an era now where the largest (and very competent) automakers such as VW are gunning for Tesla (recent e.g. is the $21,000 VW EV on the horizon), will likely fall 1st.

  • avatar

    I test drove an Outlander PHEV. For my use, the lack of a spare tire and limited clearance are negatives for use in the boonies. And my trips are either under 20km or over 200km, so the current battery capacity is just right.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    out of curiosity, what is the total range?Did it feel underpowered?

    • 0 avatar

      There are numerous reviews of the Outlander PHEV online, including more than one article on ttac.

      Total range is limited by a very small gas tank. And it’s no sports car. In contrast, my Escape Hybrid, in favorable mileage conditions, can go 900km on a tank.

    • 0 avatar

      In pure hybrid mode expect 8 litres per 100 km and 44 liters tank, for a total of 500-550 km. Not a highway cruiser at all.

      In terms of power, it’s a bit more complicated to describe: you have two motors, one for each axle, each with 60 kW peak power. They are connected to the wheels with the equivalent of a second gear ratio. So, when driving at about 30-40 mph, you get the acceleration of full 120 kW over 2 tons vehicle, well enough for overtaking. But to get 120 kW available, the ICE must be running, because the battery is limited to 60 kW. Starting from full stop, the acceleration is underwhelming: you do have nearly 400Nm available, but they are connected through a fixed gearing. Also the climbing capabilities are a bit hampered because of this.
      Once in parallel mode, the ICE runs at a fixed gear ([email protected] km/h) and you get a power boost from the battery when needed, for a total system output of about 200HP.
      Worst case scenario is arriving at the bottom of a long hill and asking for more average power than the engine can deliver: battery has 10% margin (about 1kWh), once it reaches 20% SOC a turtle appears on the dashboard and you are limited to the ICE power only. It happened only once in 4 years to me, and I did it on purpose.

      PS 2019 MY has all the above numbers slightly improved.

  • avatar

    PHEVs are the best of both worlds. You have an electric car for short runs around town, and you also have unlimited highway driving range on gas. Thirty miles of EV doesn’t sound like much, but if you did that every day, that’s almost 11,000 miles per year. Somehow, my PHEV C-Max gets almost twice the MPG of my hybrid C-Max- and I drive it over 100 miles per day several times per week.

    For versatility and cost-effectiveness, it’s the way to go. I’ll settle for my 65 MPG, plus 80 cents of shore power per day. Even if you offered a wonder car capable of twice that efficiency, you’re chasing diminishing returns. So I salute Mitsubishi’s choice.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve driven the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV several times and I like it quite a bit, but at the end of the day it’s the same compromise as almost every other PHEV: you get quite short electric range, and asking for all but modest acceleration kicks in the raucous gas engine, and it’s not all that efficient once the battery’s dead.

      The Chevy Volt is literally the only PHEV to get it right. The gas engine never comes on until the battery is dead, and the battery is big enough that it never goes dead in typical daily driving. So for your weekday commute and errands, you have a fully electric car that’s a joy to drive and uses no gas. But on a road trip, when you do exceed that battery range, the car magically transforms into an efficient hybrid, so you have effectively unlimited range with no need to look for charging stations. It’s magic. It’s what a PHEV should be.

      If Mitsubishi can make the next Outlander PHEV go 50 miles on a charge, with a gas engine that stays locked out even at full throttle, and a 0-60 time and highway MPG competitive with the gas model, then it will fulfill the car’s promise and keep buyers interested. If not, then maybe their strategy is a blind alley.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree on the issue of the engine kicking in when exceeding 60kW demand, but once yiu get used, it’s manageable. Regarding the pure hybrid efficiency, the new 2.4 l should improve the mileage, putting it on par with the Toyota RAV4 hybrid.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, if your life is that of million other workers with a 9-17 job some 10-15 miles away and some kids to bring around in the same range, then the PHEV choice makes lot of sense. Once the battery is big enough to sustain the peak power demand without calling in the ICE and to allow errands with some height difference too, then the PHEV may represent a good alternative to the pure EV.

    • 0 avatar

      @HotPotato, the general term for the hybrid type of the Volt is a “series hybrid”. It is not, however, the only one of that type. My BMW i3 Rex is a series hybrid as well, for example.

      You have hit the nail on the head, though. Most of the PHEVs on the market have very small electric motors. That means they will perform very poorly acceleration-wise when in electric only mode. So, to say that they are going to increase the electric only range to 50 miles could result in a lot of disappointed consumers if they aren’t aware of this. And they sure don’t tend to mention it in their marketing.

      To get full performance you have to use both the electric motor and ICE engine in parallel (duh, that’s why these are called “parallel hybrids”). Series hybrids have full performance whether you’re using power from the battery, the ICE engine, or both. I definitely prefer the latter, though both designs have their place.

    • 0 avatar

      BTW Wheatridger, I don’t mean to diss your C-Max Energi!! I had a C-Max and loved it; my point was just that I would have loved it more with a Voltec powertrain.

  • avatar

    One suggestion to Mitsubishi: keep the DC charging port and put a 32A/7kW charger. Maybe switch to CCS for Europe?

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