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AIMS: Mitsubishi electrifies in Melbourne

Show landing: The PX-MiEV previews Mitsubishi’s next-generation Outlander, which will include a plug-in hybrid powertrain option and is due for release in Australia in 2013.

PX-MiEV plug-in hybrid headlines Mitsubishi’s show stand as MY12 i-MiEV draws near

27 Jun 2011

MITSUBISHI will use the 2011 Australian International Motor Show to demonstrate its commitment to electric motoring, unveiling the PX-MiEV plug-in hybrid concept in Melbourne on Friday and offering rides in – and taking orders for – its all-electric i-MiEV micro-hatch for the duration of the event.

While the Japanese importer was unable to secure an example of the Global Small concept after its world premiere in Geneva in March – a vehicle that points to its 2012 Colt successor, which will also be offered with full-electric drive – the PX-MiEV previews the company’s next-generation Outlander compact SUV that will be available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The all-new Outlander is due to be launched here next year, with the plug-in version following in 2013.

As GoAuto has reported, the new Outlander might not be Mitsubishi’s first electrified SUV, with Mitsubishi Australia’s vice-president of corporate strategy Paul Stevenson confirming earlier this month that the Australian subsidiary was awaiting confirmation of another electrified SUV that might arrive in the next 12-18 months, meaning a possible mid-to-late 2012 launch.

This is expected to be a plug-in hybrid version of the smaller ASX wagon, which is likely to share many of its electrical components with the PX-MiEV-based plug-in Outlander.

21 center imageLeft: Mitsubishi PX-MiEV. Below: Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Special-edition versions of the current Outlander and the harder-core Pajero 4WD will also feature on Mitsubishi’s Melbourne show stand, along with a special ASX promotional car covered in photographs taken by customers across Australia.

MMAL head of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher told GoAuto that the company would offer show-goers rides around Melbourne streets in the i-MiEV electric micro, which as previously announced will reach the general Australian market in August with a $48,800 starting price.

The three demonstration cars, and those on the stand, will be the same model year 2010 i-MiEVs as those already in service to selected lease customers since last year, with Ms Fletcher confirming that MY12 versions – which carry a number of upgrades, including automatic headlights, keyless entry and tinted windows – were still in transit from Japan ahead of their scheduled mid-August showroom debut.

“It’s a ride experience (rather than a test-drive), but people will be able to experience the EV technology for themselves,” she said.

First shown at the 2009 Tokyo motor show, the PX-MiEV combines a conventional internal combustion engine with two electric motors that enable alternative front-drive/rear-drive or simultaneous (all-wheel drive) operation and full-electric motoring over a limited range (50km).

In this case, an engine drives the front wheels and acts as a generator, with each permanent-magnet synchronous motor developing 60kW/200Nm front and rear. The system is designed to automatically switch to the optimum drive mode based on the driving conditions and the level of energy in the lithium-ion battery pack.

According to Mitsubishi, the drive battery will power the front motor/front wheels at low to middle vehicle speeds, switching to the rear motor for four-wheel drive whenever traction wanes. The petrol engine automatically kicks in at higher speeds and, when drive battery energy falls to a predetermined level, running in front-wheel drive but also reverting to four-wheel drive via the rear motor when required.

Mitsubishi engineers have also integrated the S-AWC handling electronics around the E-4WD system, developing E-AYC (Electric-powered Active Yaw Control), which controls the left/right torque split at the rear wheels and the degree of deceleration energy recovery, in addition to ESC and ABS functions.

However, unlike the AYC system on the Lancer Evolution X, which uses a wet-plate clutch arrangement, the E-AYC uses a differential motor to control the rear-wheel torque split.

The plug-in hybrid system allows recharging from 100-volt or 200-volt domestic supplies or from high-powered quick-charging outlets, and also incorporates a wireless charging feature that allows the owner to start charging the battery (or the air-conditioner, to preserve battery power on the road) at a preset time, even when away from the vehicle.

A 100-volt AC auxiliary outlet in the cargo area also allows electricity stored in the drive battery to be used to power ancillary devices, such as cooking or lighting appliances when camping.

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