One hardly knows what to feel about Mitsubishi, but pity and disgust are two emotions that seem appropriate. It was the first manufacturer in the world to offer a plug-in hybrid SUV — the Outlander PHEV. Sales have been strong in many markets around the world, particularly in Europe.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Taking a break from the “all Tesla, all the time” news cycle for a moment, there is good news for Mitsubishi from the government of the Ukraine. The national police force has decided to ditch its antiquated Russian made UAZ and AvtoVAZ vehicles featuring Soviet era technology in favor of the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV that is the world leader in plug-in hybrid SUV sales.
For the past two years, Ecotricity — a British company that uses only electricity from renewable sources — has had the exclusive right to install high speed EV charging stations on England’s motorways. Until now, they have been free to use. Last week, the company announced it would begin assessing a flat fee of £5 for 20 minutes of charging time. Over the weekend, it got an earful from irate Britishers with electric and plug-in hybrid cars.
People don’t want plug-in hybrid cars, the auto companies said. Plug-ins are just a stop gap solution on the way to real electric cars, the experts said. But guess what? The plug-ins are here and the manufacturers can’t keep up with demand. In Europe and the UK, demand for the new BMW 330e has far outstripped supply, Motoring reports.
Mitsubishi’s CEO Osamu Masuko told Automotive News recently, “We are strong in SUVs and four wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction. We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.” Sales in the US are up 25% over 2014, thanks largely to the company’s reputation for making rugged SUVs.
Concentrating on the company’s strengths makes perfectly good sense, but doesn’t explain why the company is 4 years late bringing its widely acclaimed Outlander PHEV to the US. The plug-in SUV enjoys strong sales in the UK and Europe, but Mitsubishi has fiddled and diddled for years, while it fussed over insignificant details like the shape of the grille or the design of the rear tail lights. It had the market for a plug-in SUV all to itself, but squandered its advantage to focus on silly things. But the wait if finally over, Masuko says. The award-winning Outlander PHEV will go on sale, in the US, in the middle of 2016- perhaps as early as May.
Building further on its reputation for building good four wheel drive vehicles, it will introduce an all new crossover in 2017 that is intended to fill the gap between the compact Outlander Sport and the mid-size Outlander. The new offering will feature coupe styling, as it is now all the rage to build SUVs that are as small as possible inside and out. That makes no sense, of course, but that’s what customers say they want.
Mitsubishi says it will introduce a redesigned Outlander in 2018 and a new Outlander Sport in 2019. All new crossover and the Outlander will offer customers a choice of conventional or plug-in hybrid powertrains. The new Outlander Sport will be all have an all electric option, the company says. The woeful i-MiEV electric sedan will continue on with no changes. It is presently selling at the dismal rate of only 10 cars a month.
Source: Automotive News.
I’m sure that there are people reading this who have been waiting for the US release of the Outlander plug-in hybrid for literally years. If that’s you, and you haven’t simply bought a different car in the meantime, you may be disappointed to learn that the Japanese company may only offer 6,000 units of the hugely popular and award-winning 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in the US- which means you’ll have to move quickly to get yours.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid) is expected to hit the US market in May, and to be slowly rolled out as inventory arrives — with monthly sales therefore projected to lie at over 1,000 units per month (assuming relatively even sales through the year).
Given the repeated delays to date, though, perhaps a May launch date for the US version of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV should be taken with a grain of salt. Automotive News provides more:
Mitsubishi expects to sell as many as 6,000 of the gasoline-electric crossovers in the U.S. in 2016, (Mitsubishi CEO Osamu) Masuko said. The new crossover/SUV and next year’s arrival of the Outlander PHEV are further proof that Mitsubishi has no plan to exit the US, despite the fact it will end vehicle production at its only North America assembly plant in November, Masuko said.
“The US is a big market, and of course we’re going to be continuing sales there,” Masuko said. In July, Mitsubishi said it will stop manufacturing vehicles at its Normal, Ill., factory as part of global realignment to concentrate production in Japan, Russia and Southeast Asia. Mitsubishi wants to sell the factory, but will shutter it if no buyer can be found. Masuko said the search for a buyer is still on. “We still don’t have a promising buyer yet, but we haven’t given up,” he said.
Interesting situation. I’d caution that maybe those still waiting for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV may want to just go ahead and consider a different option.
Originally published by EV Obsession.
When the Tokyo motor show kicks off later this month, the Mitsubishi eX concept will be revealed to the public for the first time. The all-electric SUV represents Mitsubishi’s vision of a unique vehicle aimed at the fast growing compact SUV market. It uses Mitsubishi’s state of the art EV and all wheel control technologies combined with automated driving, connected car, and active safety systems.
The eX concept is said to offer insight into the future of Mitsubishi design, according to Electric Cars Report. It is viewed as a cross between a sporty crossover for zipping around town and a stylish luxury estate wagon. It features the company’s Dynamic Shield front design language.
The Mitsubishi eX has true four-wheel-drive capability, thanks to its two 70 kilowatt electric motors, one in the front, the other in the rear, and powered by a 45 kWh battery. It will have a range of 250 miles, Mitsubishi says. The company expects improvements in battery technology will double the power of EV batteries in the next 5 years.
The styling of the eX concept is…..interesting. Like many manufacturers today, the company seems determined to compromise utility and load carrying capacity in order to emphasize a low roof line and swoopy looks. Sadly, what remains is a two-seater sports car with room for two tiny humans in back and very little of the utility that is supposed to be the reason for these kind of cars in the first place. The average family sedan could probably carry more people and more stuff than this concept.
Mitsubishi loves to fiddle and diddle with styling instead of bring products to market. It has kept the very competent Outlander PHEV — one of the first plug-in hybrid SUVs in the world — out of the US market for almost 4 years while it fussed and fretted about the shape of the grille and whether the wheel arches were muscular enough for American tastes.
It could have had the US market to itself all these years, but by the time the company finally gets around to bringing it stateside, it will face a slew of competitors. The Outlander PHEV could have given Mitsubishi the presence in the American market it has craved for decades, but now it has forfeited that opportunity.
Photo Credits: Mitsubishi
Originally published on EV Obsession.
While the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) has been available on the European and Japanese markets for literally years now, the American release just seems to be getting pushed back indefinitely.
On that note, recent reports have stated that the popular plug-in hybrid SUV won’t be available in American showrooms until May 2016.
As you probably realize, this puts the release date well after the (current) release date for the Model X — Tesla’s SUV offering, which is fully electric, rather than a hybrid.
As far as specs for the American release, there are expected to be no significant changes to the powertrain from previous versions. So consumers can expect: two electric motors (one motor to each set of wheels), a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, and a 12-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery module.
This also means that the American offering will have “32.5 miles of electric only range” as determined on the European testing cycle (actual range, as determined by American agencies, will be a fair bit lower).
In addition to having to compete (in a way) with the Model X, the Outlander PHEV will also have to compete with PHEVs from Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Volvo… once they all get released here in the US. Considering that these competitor offerings are also set for release relatively soon, it’s too bad that Mitsubishi took so long getting the American release in order. Of course, the stated reasons for the delays has been lack of battery supply and high sales in Europe (where it has been the top-selling EV) and Japan.
Worth noting here is that the company is reportedly working on other PHEVs to supplement the Outlander PHEV.
I’m fairly turned off to infographics these days, as many are simply a lot of colors and squiggly lines with little substance. However, some really good ones come across my desk from time to time. Thanks to a good friend, Amber Archangel, I’ve got a great one to share. The infographic was created for Car Leasing Made Simple, and is full of very interesting stats and charts about the top electric car countries and the top electric cars. Here’s the infographic, with more commentary below it:
The UK has been slow to the party, but it’s not taking long to get wild. Stripping more petrol and diesel cars from the roads by transitioning to the cars of the future — electric cars — is quickly becoming a hot thing to do in a country… not known for its hotness. Check out the stats in this EV Obsession repost for a look at the UK’s growing EV sizzle:
Last year, I was stumped how UK electric car sales could be so lame when the country offers such good incentives. Perhaps the issue was that no one knew about them, as sales have jumped through the roof this year. With over 14,000 electric cars sold in the UK in the first half of the year, the increase over the same period in 2014 is a whopping 350%.
In fact, with 300 more sales, the running total for 2015 will match (and then quickly surpass) the 2014 total of 14,500.
Brits registered a little more than 35,000 electric and hybrid cars in the first 6 months of 2015, representing ~3% of all new car sales. That actually sounds pretty lame to me, so hopefully the rapid rise of electric car sales is the start of some seriously exponential growth. With the many benefits of electric cars on the table, I don’t see how the future could logically be otherwise.
Here’s a further breakdown of the numbers, which come from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT):
- Pure-electric car registrations grew 83% in the first 6 months of 2015, from 2,558 in 2014 to 4,681.
- Plug-in hybrid registrations grew 520% in the same period, from 1,538 to 9,541.
Hmm, looks pretty clear which segment set off the bigger firecrackers.
In that plug-in hybrid segment, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been the pacesetter. It is now the top-selling electric car in the UK (as well as in Europe). Over 10,000 of the sharp-looking SUVs were on British roads by the end of the first quarter of 2015. I actually test drove one of these beauties (in Poland) with a friend of mine (who is living in the UK) today — I’ll try to publish my review of the Outlander PHEV soon.
Originally posted on EVObsession
At what point does a niche vehicle stop being, well, niche? Though electric car sales represent just 0.5% of new car sales world, the numbers are starting to add up to a meaningful impact. Sales of the Nissan LEAF have exceeded 170,000 vehicles worldwide since 2010, more than double its next two competitors combined, both of which are plug-in hybrids, reports EV Sales.
Those two vehicles would be the Chevy Volt with over 88,000 worldwide sales (though mostly in the U.S.) and the Toyota Prius Plug-In with over 71,000 sales. No real surprises in the Top 3, though the further down we go the list, the more interesting things become. For example, the Tesla Model S has an estimated 66,000 worldwide sales so far, closing in quickly on the far-cheaper Prius Plug-In, and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is catching up fast as well with just under 60,000 sales…and it isn’t even for sale in the U.S. yet.
From there, things fall fast, with the Mitsubishi i-MiEV gathering over 31,000 sales, while #7 Renault Zoe, which has been on sale as long as the Nissan LEAF, has managed to move just over 22,000 units. This has allowed the fresher and newer BMW i3 to gain a lot of ground on the French EV since going on sale a year ago, though a pair of Chinese plug-in cars, the BYD Qin and Chery QQ3 EV, are moving their way up the ranks too.
Yet none can come even close to the King of EV sales, the Nissan LEAF, the only plug-in car to break 100,000 sales so far. Last year alone, Nissan sold over 30,000 LEAFs in the US, and once the next-gen version goes on sale, those numbers could shoot up to 50,000 vehicles a year or more. At that point, neither the Nissan LEAF nor electric vehicles in general can be hardly be considered a “niche” if you ask me.
Over in Europe car buyers looking for an efficient, full-size SUV have become quite taken with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a vehicle that is topping sales charts in a number of countries. Yet we still can’t buy one here in America for at least another year, though when it does finally arrive, it won’t be alone, as a smaller Mitsubishi Outlander Sport PHEV is also in the works.
So says AutoGuide, which caught up with Mitsubishi executives at the New York Auto Show. Mitsu’s reveal of the “upgraded” Outlander (the conventional version) was kind of ho-hum, though it did show an increase in interior quality that Americans have come to expect from their SUVs. Before that though, a refreshed Mitsubishi Mirage will show up on dealer lots, and the little fuel-sipper have proven remarkably popular with economy car buyers.
Yet it isn’t cars that Mitsubishi is betting its future on, but rather trucks, SUVs, and of course plug-in cars. When the Outlander PHEV and Outlander Sport PHEV finally arrive in America, they will the market for plug-in family haulers still wide open. In Europe this has made the Outlander PHEV one of the best-selling plug-in cars on the continent, and there are rumors of a plug-in hybrid pickup as well. Old standbys though, like the Lancer Evolution and Galant, won’t be coming back to the Mitsu lineup anytime soon though. The world has just moved on, but that’s probably to Mitsubishi’s benefit.
A compact plug-in SUV seems to be just the thing the world needs right now, and if Mitsubishi can beat its competitors to market, it might be able to carve out a sizable niche for itself to help keep the comeback momentum going.
Mitsubishi executives recently made it clear that the Japanese automaker was striking out in a different direction, ditching sedans and sports cars for SUVs and plug-in vehicles. The revised 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is the vanguard of this new direction, and it will make its American debut at the New York International Auto Show next month with an expected PHEV version.
Mitsubishi had originally intended to bring its hot-selling Outlander PHEV to US shores at least two years ago, but there were concerns that pickier American consumers would want a higher-quality interior that Mitsu was initially offering. The 2016 revision of the Outlander should solve those issues with over 100 engineering improvements that make adjustments to ride quality, road noise, throttle response, and of course interior quality.
So what will it look like? A pretty good hint was dropped last year when the Outlander PHEV S a sportier and more aggressive take on the full-size SUV. The expected PHEV version should also be a big hit with US buyers, just like it is proving to be in Europe, offering legitimately exceptional fuel economy to people who need the versatility of a SUV. It also won’t be limited in range like the upcoming Tesla Model X or carry a hefty luxury premium like the 300-mile Audi electric SUV (though it’ll still cost a pretty penny I imagine). However, it also won’t come to market until mid-2016 at the absolute soonest.
Things have finally turned around for Mitsubishi, the automaker is building momentum for a full-fledged comeback. The new Outlander needs to be a hit in America though, and the PHEV version even more so, if Mitsubishi wants to regain its foothold in the Land of the Free.
It’s been hard times for Mitsubishi in the past few years, as it’s trimmed its lineup and seen its only electric car fall flat in sales. But there have been bright spots too, like the Outlander PHEV, which has become the best-selling plug-in car in the UK and the Netherlands.
This has convinced executives at Mitsubishi that trucks, crossovers, and EVs are the way forward to future profits, reports Automotive News. Mitsubishi has only recently returned to profitability after years of aging products with no replacement. The Mitsubishi Galant and Eclipse, for example, have yet to be replaced, and the aging Lancer (which has been larely unchanged since 2007) is in desperate need of a successor, and it probably won’t get one.
That’s because Mitsubishi is forgoing cars altogether, to focus on trucks, crossovers, and plug-in vehicles, because that’s where the money is. Indeed, trucks and crossovers are among the two largest sales segments in America right now, and while plug-in cars are still just a blip on the radar, there’s an obvious trend within both the industry and government regulations towards electrification. The Outlander PHEV’s unexpected success in Europe has no doubt emboldened Mitsubishi’s electrification plans, as well as their taste for trucks and crossovers.
An updated version of the Outlander PHEV is coming next year, and there’s already a deal to provide Fiat a compact pickup (which Mitsu will also sell) based on the GR-HEV concept from last year. Mitsubishi definitely has a plan, but for fans of cars like the Galant VR-4 and Lancer Evolution, it seems there’s no place at Mitsu’s table for you.
But truck and plug-in car fans can rejoice…though I’m not sure anybody that buys a crossover is capable of any emotion other than acceptance and regret.