The recent unveiling of a prototype US-version of the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid at the 2016 New York Auto Show had many hoping that the popular SUV would finally be making it to US showrooms sometime relatively soon. Those hopes appear to have misplaced though, as it seems the US release has been delayed once again, according to new reports — with the target release date now being all the way in November.
Apparently the delay will see further changes made to the US-version of the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUV before its eventual release — with even the battery-pack possibly being changed before release, according to a company rep.
Considering that the Outlander PHEV SUV was first unveiled as a concept car all the way back in 2009, the extremely slow move towards a US release has been strange to observe. Especially when considering how popular the model has proved in the Japanese and European markets. By the time the Outlander PHEV finally makes it to the US market, there will be substantially more competition than there had been previously.
Green Car Reports provides some details on what we can expect when the model is finally released:
The pack will remain around the 12 kWh it’s currently rated, and it will still be supplied by LEJ, but (company spokesman Alex) Fedorak said that some details remain to be finalized. That could mean changes to the battery’s cell chemistry or power characteristics, all aimed at drivability, and getting significant all-electric range in American driving conditions.
…One interesting detail: Batteries and motor-system components are specially protected. That means the Outlander PHEV, provided it has been switched to its “EV” mode, will allow limited driving in the kind of deep-water conditions usually reserved for the most hardy of off-road SUVs.
Fedorak commented that the development team behind the Outlander PHEV is “really focused on the driving characteristics of the car, and they wanted it to make sure that it feels like it belongs in this market.”
“It’s not the European spec” that is being used, he stated. “We’re tailoring it for the US market, and that’s affecting range, MPGe, acceleration, and performance numbers, too.”
The company is reportedly targeting an all-electric range of around 20 miles for the US. Also worth noting is that the company seems to have no plans to offer CHAdeMO fast-charging capability.