Outlander plug-in hybrid aims for rally victory

Outlander plug-in hybrid aims for rally victory


More than 2,000 gruelling kilometres of potholes, swamps, river crossings and South-East Asian jungle stand between Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and the latest in its long line of international motor-sport victories.

Having won manufacturer’s titles across the world and claimed the Dakar Rally crown more than any other car brand – a record 12 times – MMC is now backing the cross-country charge of its Outlander PHEV, competing in the Asia Cross Country Rally for the second year in a row.

MMC will again partner Osaka-based Two & Four Motor Sports to contest the FIA-certified event, which starts at the Thai beach resort of Pattaya on Saturday, August 9 and ends in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on Friday, August 15.

“The development of Mitsubishi vehicles, such as Pajero and Lancer, has always relied on being tested in the extreme conditions of international motor-sport,” says Mitsubishi Motors NZ head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook.

“Hybrid and electric vehicles are the new generation in Mitsubishi’s fleet; going forward, exposure to competitions such as this can only benefit their development.”

Launched in New Zealand in February, Outlander PHEV sales have already exceeded 100 – double the number of all comparable electric vehicles ever sold in the country.

Future sales are projected at around 50 per month.

MMC engineers will collect data from the rally SUV, which will feature competition suspension and reinforced mountings to raise ground clearance and improve all-terrain performance. The vehicle’s S-AWC integrated vehicle dynamics control system will also be tuned for extra traction. Other modifications include a roll cage, skid plate, lightweight engine hood, rear gate and interior parts, and additional sealing and a snorkel for water crossings.

Pike’s Peak power surge

In related EV news, Mitsubishi hopes to be crowned ‘King of the Mountain’ in Colorado at this year’s Pike’s Peak Hill Climb – a 20km ‘Race to the Clouds’, which climbs nearly 3,000m through 156 turns to finish 4,300m above sea level.

Mitsubishi will contest the EV category for the third year running. In 2013, technical director/driver Hiroshi Masuoka secured second place in the MiEV Evolution II with 400kW at his disposal; the 2014 MiEV Evolution III boasts 450kW from its 4WD quad-motor set-up, a lighter chassis and improved aerodynamics.

Data from the car will be fed back into the development of MMC’s ‘e-EVOLUTION’ technology – an integration of MiEV’s electric motor configuration and dynamic S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) system.

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