December 12, 2012

Serious electric off roaders – they might be here sooner than we think

An electric Outlander mid year, an electric Triton and Pajero, sometime …
Mitsubishi is hinting that electric technology that will arrive here mid year in the latest Outlander SUV might well find its way into future versions of the Triton ute and the Pajero. The Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) runs primarily on electricity but has a 2.0 litre petrol engine to charge it on the run. Drive is by two electric motors, one at the front driving the front wheels, the other at the back and driving the rear wheels. The petrol motor's only job is to keep the battery pack topped up; it has no conventional drivetrain to the wheels. Despite what we all know about electricity and water, Mitsubishi insists that the PHEV Outlander is as suitable for off roading as the petrol and diesel variants. If this is so, a future that includes electric 4WDs might be really good due to their smoothness and instant access to full torque.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi announced at the Outlander launch that completely new versions of the Challenger and Pajero will be introduced in 2015, with a new Triton a year earlier. Surprisingly, the capable Challenger is selling really slowly here and only comprises about one per cent of Mitsubishi's local volume.

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