Malcolm Flynn | Oct 24, 2012

Mitsubishi remains committed to expanding its range of pure-electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models.

Speaking with TMR at this week’s Australian International Motor Show (AIMS), Mitsubishi Motors Corporation President Osamu Masuko said the carmaker is on target to deliver eight new EV and PHEV models by 2015.

In Japan, the existing i-MiEV Minicab kei-class van will soon be joined by a trayback i-MiEV Minitruck variant.

Locally, the existing i-MiEV pure-electric city car will be joined by the Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV in the first half of next year.

While the upcoming Mirage light car is also being evaluated for both EV and PHEV variants, Masuko-san said that market forces will determine a production reality for either version.

Masuko-san admitted that EV production is no longer limited by battery supply, but rather the relative value of the Japanese Yen keeping prices high, along with current EV models’ intrinsic cruising range limitations.

“The battery supply we have is sufficient, but unfortunately the sales of pure-electric cars is not [presently] really economic”, Masuko-san said.

Mitsubishi’s planned expansion of PHEV variants is expected to bridge the gap, with the format's lower relative price-point and higher cruising range expected to generate more mainstream sales in the short term.

On the motorsport front, Masuko-san has confirmed that the Japanese carmaker will again field EV entries in the Pikes Peak hilllclimb event next year, following an impressive first outing in August.

The purpose-built i-MiEV Evolution placed second in the Electric Vehicle class (eighth overall), while a production-based model (on display at Mitsubishi’s AIMS stand this week) finished sixth in the Electric Vehicle class.

Masuko-san is confident the team can compete for outright honours (bettering conventionally-fuelled entries) in 2013, in just their second assault on the historic event.

“We are trying to change 90 years of history, in just two years of attempts”, Masuko-san said.

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