Mitsubishi first revealed the third-generation 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, announcing a pair of four-cylinder engines for European-market versions of the new SUV in the process. Now, the Japanese automaker has announced the details of the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, which it will debut at the 2012 Paris Motor Show in late September.
Mitsubishi says that the new plug-in hybrid EV version of the SUV will employ a three-mode all-wheel drive hybrid powertrain capable of operating as a pure EV with front and rear electric motors, a series hybrid with the electric motors supplemented by the internal-combustion generator, and a more conventional parallel hybrid with power from the internal-combustion engine supplemented by the twin electric motors. Mitsubishi is claiming a total range of nearly 500 miles and a CO2 emissions target of less than 0.18 lb/mile. Mitsubishi also says that the third-generation Outlander is the first vehicle designed for both conventional and plug-in hybrid variants rather than adapted for one or the other.
Though Mitsubishi did not reveal any details about the powertrain, the automaker did say that the engine in the Outlander PHEV would be a gasoline one instead of a diesel. Gasoline, the company believes, is "more suited to global markets than diesel." Could that mean the plug-in Outlander is headed to North America? Plug-in hybrids are slowly but steadily moving from the outer limits of automotive technology into the mainstream, but so far, they've all been cars. Should Mitsubishi decide to sell the Outlander PHEV in the U.S., it would be the first automaker to sell a plug-in hybrid SUV.