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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2013 New York International Auto Show

Thu, Mar 28, 2013

The Mitsubishi Outlander is the first vehicle from a major automobile manufacturer designed from the outset to be powered by either an internal combustion engine (ICE) or as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

What is a PHEV?

A PHEV Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle possesses both a conventional internal combustion engine as well as a hybrid vehicle power system that uses a stored energy source (generally a high-capacity rechargeable battery) as a means of motive force.

A PHEV can be plugged into an electricity source to replenish the energy in its Drive battery pack to function as a 100% electric-powered vehicle.

A PHEV is considered an extended range electric vehicle (EREV) when it can operate strictly as a battery-powered electric vehicle for a certain number of miles, like the new Outlander PHEV.

The new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a direct result of several decades of industry-leading design, research and development by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and represents the pinnacle of this next-generation form of personal transportation in efficiency, reliability and improved environmental sustainability. This groundbreaking new Outlander PHEV blends the best of the company’s EV technology (i-MiEV), sure-footed Super All-Wheel Control (derived from the esteemed S-AWC system found in the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution) and the capable, rugged and reliable Montero and Outlander SUV lineage into the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) SUV with all-wheel drive.

Engineering Highlights

An EV-based architecture that utilizes a pair of advanced electric motors supplemented by a front-mounted clean and efficient 2.0-liter gasoline engine

The 60 kW electric motors are placed at both the front and rear of the vehicle; each motor drives its own axle independently for optimal front/rear torque split

High-capacity 12 kWh lithium-ion Drive battery pack

Pure electric vehicle (EV) driving mode range of an estimated 30 miles (Japan-spec Outlander PHEV)

Specialized application of Lancer Evolution-derived Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) developed specifically for the Outlander PHEV’s unique twin electric motor configuration for maximum performance, efficiency, tractability and safety

Low center of gravity and excellent front/rear weight distribution (55/45) thanks to positioning of lithium-ion Drive battery pack and electric motors

Three distinct driving modes:

EV Drive Mode

Series Hybrid

Parallel Hybrid

EV-Based Architecture

Based primarily on the robust EV architecture of the breakthrough 100% electric-powered Mitsubishi i-MiEV production vehicle and its derivative vehicles (over 30,000 i-MiEV, MINICAB-MiEV and MINICAB-MiEV Truck units to date on the roads throughout Japan, Europe, Scandinavia and North America), the Outlander PHEV does away with the conventional drivetrain format of engine + gearbox + final drive for a next-generation powertrain.

Key components including the Drive battery pack, electric motors, Motor Control Unit and Power Drive Unit (manages the generator control unit) that oversees the gasoline-powered engine, Twin Motor 4WD system, regenerative braking system and air conditioning are constantly monitored for comfort, precision operation, fuel-efficient driving and the utmost level of safety.

Positioned on the right side of the identical engine compartment of the gasoline-powered new Outlander

The 4B11 2.0-liter inline-4 has been fitted with the Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system (MIVEC) to maximize power production, improve fuel efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions by continuously varying the timing of the intake valves according to engine speed when it operates in Parallel Hybrid mode (the engine functions solely to generate electricity in Series Hybrid mode and is mainly used to provide motive force in Parallel Hybrid mode)

The Outlander PHEV’s exhaust note has been reduced and the engine compartment’s soundproofing has been increased in order for the vehicle to remain as quiet as possible when operating in pure EV Drive Mode (even when the engine is in use to charge the lithium-ion Drive battery pack)

Front Motor (60 kW) + Power Drive Unit (PDU) + Generator

Located on the left side of the Engine (positioned transaxle-style)

The Front Motor is a smaller, lighter and higher output version of the permanent magnet synchronous electric motor used in the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

In Series/Parallel drive modes, the generator produces electricity from the engine and stores it in the lithium-ion Drive battery pack

Lithium-ion Drive Battery Pack

Located in a sturdy dust- and waterproof encasement safely positioned beneath the passenger compartment subfloor and between the front and rear axles (with no intrusion into the passenger compartment whatsoever)

The Lithium-ion Drive Battery Pack is a high-capacity drive battery developed for the PHEV system based on that found in the Mitsubishi i-MiEV

The Lithium-ion Drive Battery Pack consists of 80 cells configured in series, with a total voltage measuring 300V and a total storage capacity of 12 kWh

Rear Motor (60 kW) + Motor Control Unit (MCU)

Placed beneath rear cargo area subfloor (does not intrude/diminish cargo area capacity above).

The Rear Motor produces slightly more torque than the Front Motor

Both the Front and Rear Transaxles each incorporate a simple single-speed fixed reduction gear for smooth, shift-free travel and operation

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.

Regenerative Braking

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

Drive Modes

Mitsubishi i Electric Cars

Because of its unique drivetrain that combines a front electric motor + rear electric motor + front-mounted gasoline-powered 2.0-liter engine + generator, the new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV automatically selects one of three unique drivetrain modes for optimal performance and efficiency.

EV Drive Mode (Twin Motor 4WD EV)

The vehicle is driven in a very eco-friendly performance mode by the two electric motors, with energy being supplied exclusively by the lithium-ion Drive battery pack (100% electric-powered, zero-emission vehicle).

Provides a top speed of approximately 75 mph and an electric-only driving range of an estimated 30 miles (based on Japan-spec Outlander PHEV) excellent for running errands/performing family duties on a daily basis as a highly sustainable/low environmental impact form of personal transportation.

Series Hybrid (Twin Motor 4WD 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:

1) Charge the lithium-ion Drive battery pack

2) Provide power to the pair of electric motors

Parallel Hybrid (Gasoline-Powered Engine Supported by Twin Motor 4WD)

In this drive mode, the new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV uses its full complement of available resources:

1) 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.

2) The two electric motors positioned at the front and rear of the vehicle operate seamlessly when additional power is required (such as driving uphill)


3) 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.

Driver Selected Modes

The Outlander PHEV just like its internal combustion engine (ICE) brethren 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 (Note: Battery Save Mode will only operate once the lithium-ion Drive battery pack’s energy level falls below 90% 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

A very unique feature to a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle like the Outlander PHEV, the Battery Charge Mode means the vehicle will never run out of electricity as long as there is gasoline in the fuel tank to operate the engine/generator.

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