Mitsubishi will debut a plug-in hybrid version of its Outlander SUV at the Paris Motor Show later this month. Mitsubishi says in a statement that the new Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) is “the world's first plug-in hybrid SUV.” The Outlander PHEV will hit Japanese markets early in 2013 and go on sale later in Europe, North America and additional markets.

“The Outlander PHEV uses MMC's [Mitsubishi’s] own Plug-in Hybrid EV System powertrain derived from 100% electric systems used on the i-MiEV and other MMC all-electric vehicles,” Mitsubishi says. The powertrain consists of a four-cylinder gas engine, lithium-ion battery and two electric motors. The Outlander PHEV has three drive modes: EV drive (the SUV runs on battery power alone), series hybrid (gas engine acts as a generator, providing electricity to the electric motors) and parallel hybrid (gas engine generates most of the vehicle’s power, with help from the electric motors when needed).

Autoblog Green notes that the Outlander PHEV will be capable of traveling off-road, but wonders how an electric vehicle will perform when the pavement ends. “Though few will venture the Outlander off the smooth tarmac, it would be very interesting to experience the driving characteristics of the Outlander PHEV in electric mode off the beaten path.”

Mitsubishi estimates it will take about 4.5 hours to completely charge the Outlander PHEV with a 200-volt plug, or about 30 minutes to charge it about 80 percent with a quick-charge station. The automaker says the plug-in hybrid SUV is capable of traveling more than 34 miles in all-electric mode, which Kicking Tires says, “means the model won't beat the Chevrolet Volt's mileage (38 miles), but it should beat the Ford Fusion Energi (20 miles), Ford C-Max Energi (20 miles), Toyota Prius Plug-In (11 miles) and the Honda Accord plug-in hybrid (15 miles).”

Features and pricing information for the Outlander PHEV have not been announced yet.

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