He would not be drawn on what the new range will be, but said that improvements in battery technology were behind the gains.
Currently, the useable electric driving range of the Outlander PHEV is around 50 kilometres in real-world driving. While the ability to recharge fully from the petrol motor eliminates ‘range anxiety’, Australian buyers would seem unconvinced by the relatively short electric range in the current car.
Improvements here may be the key to wider market acceptance of the PHEV. Certainly, it is a car that has convinced TMR of both its environmental merits and everyday savings.
It will however not be the only choice for Mitsubishi buyers looking for green solutions to their transport needs.
“Mitsubishi is working on hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles in the far-future,” Mr Aikawa said.
Things are not so promising for Lancer. Since news surfaced that the proposed alliance with Renault for the development of a replacement had fallen through, the Lancer has been friendless - even, it would seem, within Mitsubishi.
“(The) C-segment car is not a matter of priority (for Mitsubishi)”, Mr Aikawa said
That means that Mitsubishi is going to soldier on with the current Lancer, like the current Pajero, for at least the next four years.
“One thing I can say is for us to develop a (C-segment) sedan independently is very difficult, (but) the business case did not work out with Renault.”
“If we can find an OEM partner, as soon as possible we will get this new product underway,” he said.
The priority for Mitsubishi, clearly, is with SUVs and the company's growing interest in PHEV and EV technologies.
“We’re planning to launch by fiscal year 2017 a five-model SUV line-up,” Mr Aikawa said.
MMC And Fiat Chrysler Partnership Firming
“We are providing FCA with Mirage in Mexico,” Mr Aikawa said . “We carry development costs because it is our vehicle, but if (they...) wanted a specific product, they would share development costs.”
That partnership is to be extended beyond the Mirage with the provision of the Triton – as a Fiat-badged pick-up – to Fiat Chrysler from next year.
While speculative images of the new 'Fiat' light-commercial suggested a totally new look for this car, we can confirm it will instead be “fully built by Mitsubishi, but with changes to the bumper and badges”.
In other words, a badge-engineered product – straight from the factory and ready for the showroom – provided by Mitsubishi.
Perhaps Mitsubishi's C-segment solution can be found in this relationship.