Mitsubishi Proves The Market for Plug-in SUVs Is Strong, Increases Outlander PHEV Production

With a slew of production delays, not to mention the massive headache of overheating battery packs caused by poor battery manufacturing practices, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV didn’t have a great start in life.

This car comes cold weather tested in both Canada and Russia. It has also been hot weather tested in the USA.

This car comes cold weather tested in both Canada and Russia. It has also been hot weather tested in the USA.

With all of its battery pack problems rectified and sales figures soaring all over Europe and its home market of Japan however, the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV is proving an instant hit. So much so that Mitsubishi has recently committed to increasing production up to 76,000 units per year.

That’s according to Car Watch (via InsideEvs), which says that a recent expansion of production capabilities as Mitsubishi’s Okazaki manufacturing facility — where the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is made — means that production will eventually rise up to a total of 50,000 vehicles for the financial year ending March 31, 2015.

This represents a massive increase in Outlander PHEV production compared to the previous Financial Year (2013/14), when , despite setbacks, Mitsubishi managed an output of 30,000 plug-in Outlanders.

Mitsubishi says it is now on track to meet production demands for the 2014 financial year, with a goal of increasing it further — up to 76,000 vehicles — for the following year, partly, we assume, to account for the planned 2015 U.S. launch of the vehicle.

Mitsubishi is having to increase production to keep up with Outlander PHEV demand.

Mitsubishi is having to increase production to keep up with Outlander PHEV demand.

It’s hardly surprising. Priced competitively against the diesel variant of the Outlander, the Outlander PHEV is proving popular with car buyers across Europe and Japan. In certain areas, dealerships are even struggling to keep up with test-drive demand, with some dealers claiming they’re the busiest they’ve been in years thanks to the plug-in hybrid SUV.

Larger and more importantly cheaper than the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid — its closest rival in Europe — the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid offers around 35 miles of all-electric range, is capable of all-wheel drive in both electric and hybrid modes, and is also the first plug-in hybrid on sale to include CHAdeMO quick charge capability.

That means it’s possible, with careful planning, to spend most short trips in all-electric mode, taking advantage of the increasing number of quick charging stations to top up the battery pack in under 30 minutes.

U.S. customers have to wait till 2015 to get their Outlander PHEVs.

U.S. customers have to wait till 2015 to get their Outlander PHEVs.

Add to that a continuing rise in popularity of SUVs over other vehicle styles, and we think Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV is set to challenge even some of the most established plug-ins on the market, including Nissan’s LEAF.

We’ve got the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid on review this weekend and of course, we’ll be putting it through its paces to give you the best possible review of this important plug-in SUV. Be sure to let us know what you’d like us to test in the Comments below, and we’ll do our best to oblige.

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  • D. Harrower

    Don’t know much about the Outlander as a vehicle but, as a product, Mitsubishi ACTUALLY seems serious about wanting to move them (unlike many other automakers and their hybrids/EVs). The competitive base price and the standard CHAdeMO compatibility make this a compelling option for those in the market for such a vehicle.