Could a Plug-In Mitsubishi Beat the Volt's Efficiency?
Japanese automaker says its all-wheel-drive Outlander PHEV can travel at least 34 miles on electric power.
The 2014 Outlander PHEV, as we've outlined earlier, is based on a new generation of the company's midsize SUV set to debut next year. Mitsubishi says the Outlander PHEV can travel at least 34 miles on electric-only power, which would make it the second-best-performing plug-in on the market.
In accordance with Japanese government tests, Mitsubishi says the electric range is "over 55 km [34 mi]," although the EPA's procedures for EVs and plug-in hybrids are not equivalent. Whatever it scores, the Outlander PHEV will be the only plug-in hybrid on sale with all-wheel drive.
But beating the Volt is a tough challenge. Chevrolet tweaked the Volt's battery capacity for the 2012 model year, yielding 38 EPA-certified miles on electric power, the highest in the class by a considerable margin. Behind it are the $100,000 Fisker Karma (32 miles), the Ford Fusion Energi (20 miles), the Toyota Prius plug-in (11 miles) and the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid (10 to 15 miles).
Mitsubishi says the 12-kilowatt-hour battery takes just 4.5 hours to charge on 240 volts and will come equipped with a fast-charge port that can reach 80 percent capacity in a half-hour (though there's still conflict between SAE plug standards and those from Japan). Two 60-kilowatt electric motors and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine provide power that, as in the Volt, can be used in tandem or independently.
We're not so certain Mitsubishi can beat the Volt. Compared with the Volt, the Outlander PHEV is at least 200 pounds heavier, is less aerodynamic and uses an additional electric motor to draw power from a smaller battery pack. The Volt uses 10.8 kWh of its 16.5-kWh capacity in order to preserve the battery life, and we're not sure if Mitsubishi achieved its numbers by maxing out the 12-kWh battery.
Furthermore, Mitsubishi -- which continues to struggle with dismal sales and small market share in the U.S. -- needs to keep the price near the $40,000 mark of other plug-ins and EVs. With very slow sales of its i-MiEV electric car plus the Outlander's advanced powertrain and all-wheel-drive, that would be an even greater feat.
Has a single Volt "spontaneously compusted" like the Fisker Karma without being wrecked first?
I'm not aware of any if they have.
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