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Mitsubishi Oz on fast track to electrifying core line-up

Crossing over: The Eclipse Cross could be one of next Mitsubishi models in line for electrified powertrains.

Plug-in hybrids, full EVs from Mitsubishi should be here across major lines by 2022

28 Nov 2017

MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) intends to offer an electrified powertrain in every core model line by early next decade as part of its Japanese parent company’s ‘Drive for Growth’ strategic plan announced last month.

Drive for Growth dictates that every core model in Mitsubishi’s portfolio include electrified powertrain technology by 2022, which includes full-electric and/or plug-in hybrid variants.

Speaking to GoAuto this week, MMAL chief operating officer Tony Principe said Australia should receive the new green powertrains at the same time as other markets.

“What they (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation) are saying now is that they would like to make global vehicles, global,” he said.

“So they’re trying to make sure that all the key markets – and we’re classified as a key market within the Mitsubishi Group – that we should basically get all those core technologies at the same time.”

Currently, MMAL only offers one electrified model in its line-up, the Outlander PHEV medium SUV, which is also the only non-luxury plug-in hybrid electric vehicle currently available in Australia.

The Outlander PHEV teams an 87kW 2.0-litre petrol engine to a pair of 60kW electric motors – one situated on each axle – for a combined output of 120kW/320Nm. Pure-electric driving range is rated at 54km, while combined fuel economy is a claimed 1.7 litres per 100km.

Under the Alliance 2022 business plan announced in September, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced that the plug-in technology from the Outlander would be adopted for use in C- and D-segment vehicles, meaning other Mitsubishi vehicles such as the ASX and forthcoming Eclipse Cross could share the same technology.

Mitsubishi will also be able to lean on its alliance partners for full-electric technology, with both Nissan and Renault offering a variety of zero-emissions passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles – including the Kangoo ZE compact van in Australia.

The Renault Zoe hatch and new-generation Nissan Leaf are also confirmed for Australia.

Mitsubishi, which helped pioneer EVs in Australia with the i-MiEV (discontinued in 2013), is yet to reveal how it plans to electrify the diesel engines powering its Triton, Pajero Sport and Pajero range.

MMC chief operating officer Trevor Mann told GoAuto earlier this year that ever-tightening emissions regulations were prompting manufacturers to look for alternatives to diesel.

“When you try to achieve Euro 5 and Euro 6 (emissions standards) the amount of investment that you have to put into the vehicle becomes prohibitive,” he said.

“I think that you’ll see a lot of the manufacturers, I wouldn’t say stopping, but they’ll certainly be curtailing their diesel investment.”

Mr Principe said this week that the squeeze on diesels is likely to affect smaller passenger vehicles rather than larger purpose-built models such as Pajero Sport.

“The European situation is changing a lot, the government regulations are getting – some people say crazy – they are getting quite severe and what we’re hearing is that it’s getting harder and harder for those smaller cars to develop to a level that meets all of the criteria,” he said.

“The positive for us is that when you look at cars like Triton and Pajero Sport, most of the volume, most of the profit is coming out of ASEAN and Australia, so it’s not like they have to sell those cars in Europe.

“It’s pretty much Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia – most of their global profit is coming out of those regions which means Europeans can do whatever but they’re still going to have to make those sort of cars to maintain their presence at the level that it is in this area, and that includes us.

“I can’t imagine Australians ever wanting to not have a diesel Triton or Pajero Sport.”

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