Mitsubishi Motors Outlander PHEV to go on sale in Japan in January
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will begin the sales of the new Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at dealerships throughout Japan from 24 January 2013. The Outlander PHEV made its global debut at the Paris Motor Show earlier this year.
Powered by a Plug-in Hybrid EV System powertrain combining two 60 kW independent electric motors (one on each axle); a 12 kWh Li-ion battery pack; and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder MIVEC gasoline engine, Outlander PHEV features an EV range of 60.2 km (37.4 miles); combined fuel efficiency of 67.0 km/l (178 mpg US, 1.5 L/100km); and hybrid fuel efficiency of 18.6 km/l (44 mpg US, 5.4 l/100km), all under the Japanese JC08 test cycle.
The Outlander PHEV will have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of ¥3,324,000–¥4,297,000 (US$38,972–$50,380), including consumption tax. The Outlander PHEV qualifies for Japan’s “eco-car” tax incentives and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s “Subsidies for measures designed to promote introduction of clean energy vehicles”—maximum ¥430,000 (US$5,041)—making the actual cost to the customer as low as ¥2,894,000 (US$33,930).
For fiscal 2012, intending owners are eligible to receive a maximum subsidy of ¥430,000 on approval of an application submitted to the Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Center. However, this maximum can increase to ¥460,000 (US$5,393) for Outlander PHEVs fitted with a quick-charging function (factory option).
Mitsubishi developed the Plug-in Hybrid EV System based on the EV technologies used in the i-MiEV and MINICAB-MiEV for use in mid-size and larger passenger cars that require longer cruising ranges.
The drive battery is a high-capacity lithium-ion battery developed for the PHEV System based on the technology used in the i-MiEV and MINICAB-MiEV (16.0 kWh models). It consists of 80 cells mounted in series housed in a battery pack enclosed in a secure frame, and has a total voltage of 300V and total storage capacity of 12.0 kWh.
The battery can be switched to Battery Charge Mode, which allows electricity to be generated by the engine and stored when stationary or on the move (giving 80% charge in approximately 40 minutes when stationary) and Battery Save Mode, which maintains charge while driving. Stored electricity can be used in EV Drive Mode at the destination or used to power appliances.
Estimated charging times at 200 V AC (15 A) is approximately 4 hours for a full charge; quick-charging (factory option) to an 80% charge takes approximately 30 minutes.
The battery also supports a 100V AC power supply capable of delivering up to 1,500W of electricity (factory option) as an external power source.
Smaller, lighter, higher output versions of the permanent magnet synchronous motors used in the i-MiEV and MINICAB-MiEV are located front and rear. These have a maximum output of 60 kW each and maximum torques of 137 N·m(101 lb-ft) (front) and 195 N·m (144 lb-ft) (rear).
The 4B11 2.0-liter inline-four gasoline engine functions solely to generate electricity in Series Hybrid Mode and is mainly used to provide motive power in Parallel Hybrid Mode. It is fitted with MMC’s MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system) technology, which keeps the engine in optimal efficiency ranges by continuously varying the timing of the air intake valves according to engine speed in Parallel Hybrid Mode. Additionally, exhaust noise has been reduced and the engine room soundproofing increased in order to ensure the vehicle remains as quiet as EV Drive Mode, even when the engine is in use.
The engine delivers 87 kW (117 hp) at 4,500 rpm and maximum torque (net) of 186 N·m (137 lb-ft).
In Series/Parallel Hybrid Mode and in Battery Charge/Save Mode, the generator generates electricity through motive power from the engine to store into the drive battery.
Taking advantage of the fact that electric motors require no complex transmission mechanisms, the front and rear transaxles incorporate simple single-speed fixed reduction gears for smoother travel free from “shift shock.” The front transaxle also has a built-in clutch that switches the system to Parallel Drive Mode mainly for engine-powered travel at high speeds.
MMC developed a new Twin Motor 4WD system that delivers power independently to the front wheels (from the front motor and/or engine) and rear wheels (from the rear motor). The use of motors and absence of mechanical connections such as a propeller shaft mean the Twin Motor 4WD delivers better response and finer control than conventional 4WD systems and reduces friction loss.
Twin Motor 4WD is coupled with MMC’s S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) integrated vehicle dynamics control system, which combines front- and rear-wheel drive control and left and right wheel brake control to provide consistent handling and stability on the road. Two modes are offered, selectable at the flick of a switch: Normal Mode for ordinary conditions and Lock Mode for enhanced all-terrain performance.
During deceleration, the motors function as generators so that electricity can be generated to charge the drive battery. The regenerative braking can be increased when the brake pedal is pressed. The strength of regenerative braking is adjustable using the selector lever, which has three strength settings, and a paddle selector on the steering wheel (standard on all trim levels except E), which offers six strength settings. The regeneration level can be selected as the driver likes according to road conditions, such as when approaching a bend or descending a mountain road, or when seeking a sportier ride.