Published on July 11th, 2012 | by Silvio Marcacci8
Mitsubishi to Offer Plug-In Option on Every Model within Four Years
We’ve seen some bold moves in the electric vehicle industry over the past few months, but this may be the most ambitious of them all: Mitsubishi reportedly plans to offer either an electric-only, or plug-in hybrid version of every vehicle in its model range within four years.
Instead of creating an electric and plug-in hybrid version of each model, Mitsubishi will offer electric-only and gasoline-powered versions of smaller vehicles, and plug-in hybrid versions and gasoline versions of its larger and higher-performance vehicles.
If it is successful, Mitsubishi will become the first major automaker to complete a full transition to electric power.
The Japanese auto manufacturer already has taken concrete steps toward this goal. The 2012 i-MiEV electric minicar is already on sale in the United States, and a plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander SUV is scheduled for release this fall.
But, hurdles remain in the way of Mitsubishi’s goal. Consumers have been slow to embrace all-electric vehicles, as low overall Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt sales can attest (though, notably, first-year sales were a few times higher than first-year sales of now extremely popular hybrids, like the Prius). The Toyota Prius is now an overwhelming success, now third overall in global auto sales, but Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid technology is unproven and would have to compete with the established Prius brand.
Still, Mitsubishi’s effort seems promising. The i-MiEV was named to Kelley Blue Book’s “10 Best Green Cars of 2012” list, and company executives are similarly bullish on the hybrid Outlander. “It offers the performance of a 3.0-liter V6 petrol engine,” said Lance Bradley, managing director of Mitsubishi UK. “We know the technology works and that it is good.”