Mitsubishi has silently wheeled out a plug-in hybrid concept dubbed the Engelberg Tourer at the Geneva motor show, which hints at an evolution of the Outlander PHEV mid-size SUV with extended range and boosted customer appeal.
Named after the Engelberg Swiss ski resort, the concept adopts an unashamedly show car version of the company’s ‘dynamic shield’ design language, along with the now-obligatory dispensable design touches, including cameras for door mirrors and heavily stylised tyres.
But this design study also showcases technology that is less ostentatious and which is much more likely to reach showrooms - although a production version of any form is yet to be confirmed.
Like the current Outlander PHEV, the Engelberg’s twin-motor electric drivetrain sends drive to all four wheels for “high levels of performance in the most challenging weather conditions and on all surfaces,” according to Mitsubishi. It’s backed up by a 2.4-litre petrol engine. The Australian-spec Outlander PHEV has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine.
When fully charged, the Engelberg’s battery offers up to 70km of pure electric driving, which exceeds the current Outlander’s range by 26km. When combined with petrol power, the concept has a claimed 700km range - perfect for adventures to regions without widespread charging infrastructure such as the snow, says Mitsubishi.
Underneath its conspicuous styling, the Engelberg has a sophisticated Super All-Wheel Control torque distribution system with yaw control that was developed using the rally-conquering Lancer Evolution system as a baseline.
The concept’s design incorporates sharp design features that are also functional, including slender LED lighting which extends to the leading edge of an aerodynamic roof storage pod and a bold radiator grille with active shutters for reduced drag.
Mitsubishi says the vehicle is the embodiment of its ‘drive your ambition’ global catchphrase and previews a more desirable SUV with the promise of advanced technology and more possibilities for the adventurous.
If the show car does herald a new generation of Outlander, the added style and technological appeal will help correct the balance of private to fleet sales, which currently sits at about 90 percent to the latter in the Australian market.
The Japanese car maker also used Geneva as the stage to premiere a new Dendo Drive House home-charging infrastructure package - DDH.
Dendo - the Japanese word for electricity - will offer customers in Japan and ultimately other global regions the ability to more closely manage their power requirements for both vehicle and home use.
The package includes solar panels, a home storage battery and a bi-directional charger enabling customers to generate free electricity from the sun, store it, and use the energy to either charge an electric vehicle, sell it into the national grid or use in the home.
The number of other manufacturers that offer so-called ‘power wall’ home power storage is increasing, joining early adopters Mercedes-Benz and Tesla. Mitsubishi is, however, the first to offer a complete infrastructure solution that includes solar cells.
It’s a statement of intent by Mitsubishi and an indication of the growing electric car momentum in certain parts of the world, which also serves to highlight how far behind Australia lags in the alternative energy stakes.
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