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Skipping hybrids in favour of plug-in is the right move for Australia: Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi’s new Outlander PHEV has an all-electric driving range of 87km on a full charge.

Mitsubishi Australia does not see ‘self-charging’ hybrids, like those offered by Toyota, as the way forward for electric cars, and believes its plug-in hybrid tech will resonate best with local customers.

Speaking to CarsGuide, Mitsubishi Australia boss Shaun Westcott said plug-in hybrids are what Australia needs right now, and is a viable technology as the automotive industry pivots to an electric future.

“We believe we have a solution right now [with new-gen Outlander],” he said.

“[On previous Outlander PHEV] 85 per cent of our customers drive it in full EV 84 per cent of the time. So, we believe our technology allows everyday Australians to reduce their emissions by 84 per cent immediately with zero infrastructure [changes].

“We don’t have to wait for infrastructure to catch up, we don’t have to wait for billions of dollars to be invested in renewable energy generation.”

The new-gen Outlander PHEV is due to hit local showrooms in the third quarter, and brings with it a larger 20kWh battery that will enable up to 87km of all-electric driving range.

The Outlander PHEV is also backed up by 2.4-litre petrol engine for longer distance driving and should return a combined fuel consumption figure of around 1.5 litres per 100km, but full pricing and specs are yet to be revealed at the time of publication.

“We could have a significant reduction [of CO2 emissions] right up without any range anxiety, without any concerns,” Mr Westcott said.

“The environment is important, and all of us have to play our part in preserving the future.

“We’re looking at reducing emissions, and that’s not just motor vehicles, that’s across society, that’s in everything.

“As a society, we’ve got to look holistically on where we’re going.”

Mitsubishi Australia has been a pioneer in the electric car space since back in 2010, when it became the first brand to launch a mass production EV Down Under in the form of the quirky i-MiEV.

That trend continued in 2014 with the local release of the first-generation Outlander PHEV, well before the Toyota RAV4 took the market by storm and now commands a wait time 18 months.

Mitsubishi also sells the Eclipse Cross in PHEV guise, which features a 13.8kWh battery good for around 55km of all-electric motoring.

However, Mr Westcott said there are still some hurdles to overcome before he believes Australians will adopt electric cars en masse, but Mitsubishi’s plug-in technology will help bridge the gap.

“We need to address their [Australian customers’] concerns around range anxiety and availability of charging stations and everything else,” he said.

“We solve all those problems, straight up.”