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New Zealand: Electric off roader lines up to be hot seller

There’s a gasp in the room: Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV electric vehicle will be here mid-year and the company’s talking seriously about an entry level model for around $60,000.

That pricing would be a breakthrough. The small, far less capable Mitsubishi i-MiEV costs from $59,000. Holden’s much publicised Volt, whose petrol-electric configuration is broadly similar to the PHEV’s, starts at $85,000. The top conventional Outlander, the diesel VRX, lists at $56,990.

Mitsubishi announced its price surprise at this week’s launch of new petrol and diesel Outlanders. Marketing head Daniel Cook says the company would not lose money with a price of around $60,000. He cautioned that the price is still a target, but a realistic one.

It’s touted as a vehicle to bring electric technology into the mainstream. Mitsi says the electric Outlander has the abilities of a regular SUV, including off-roading where the instant full torque from its electric motors could be a significant advantage. It can tow up to 1600kg, braked.

A roomy five-seater, the PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) can be run as a straight electric vehicle with of range of around 60km. That’s considered satisfactory for most people’s daily commute. Its lithium-ion battery pack under the floor can be plugged-in and recharged at home. The batteries drive two 60kW motors, one driving the front wheels, the other the rear wheels.

If the range isn’t enough, the two-litre petrol engine from the outgoing Outlander can be used as an electricity generator, eliminating the “range anxiety” of electric vehicle drivers whose cars lack on-board assistance. The older engine was chosen because it’s said to have better torque characteristics for working the 70kW generator.


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