Cousin to the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV became the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV when it went on sale overseas early 2014. This first-of-its-kind road warrior gets a staggering 148 mpg with an absurdly low emissions rate.
But how does it work? The Outlander PHEV puts out a combined 204 horsepower from two electric motors—one on each axle for four-wheel drive—as well as a 2.0-liter gasoline engine. Normally, the PHEV runs in pure electric mode with 161 horsepower.
When the battery charge drops below a certain level, the gasoline engine kicks in to generate electricity. Mitsubishi calls this Series mode, which will work up to 70 mph. At higher speeds, a clutch engages to connect the engine directly to the front wheels, providing drive while recharging the battery at the same time.
The Outlander PHEV can reach a top speed of 108 mph. There’s also a mode that fires up the engine to charge the battery for later use, while shift paddles on the steering wheel increase the force of the regenerative braking, charging the battery faster.
With a full battery and fuel tank, the Outlander PHEV can manage a claimed 560 miles without stopping. Charging takes about five hours from a domestic socket, or an 80 percent charge can be achieved in 30 minutes from a fast charger. Of course, the fuel tank can be topped up for instant mobility too.
There’s still no word when these sweet machines will be on sale in the US, but one thing is for sure: We’re excited.