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Mitsubishi's Concept XR-PHEV II could point the way to a future compact plug-in hybrid crossover. (Headlineauto)

Mitsubishi PHEV concept destined for production?

Mitsubishi hints that the Concept XR-PHEV II unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show could be the basis of a second plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) model, following the Outlander PHEV which reached the market in 2012.

The concept is described as a small SUV, but it differs significantly in the PHEV drivetrain department compared with the Outlander. While the serial hybrid Outlander PHEV drivetrain can deliver electric drive to all four wheels, the Concept XR-PHEV II has been designed as a front-wheel-drive only crossover. Internal combustion power is provided by a Mitsubishi MIVEC engine, featuring variable valve timing and lift. Drive torque supplied by an electric motor is also directed through the front wheels.

Mitsubishi says that the drivetrain is designed to propel the vehicle using electric drive for most of the time. The system would switch automatically between series and parallel hybrid operation. Either the engine would drive the generator to produce electric power when needed, or the battery provides power directly to the drive motor. In parallel hybrid operation, the engine would provide drive power directly to supplement the operation of the electric drive system.

Few further details were provided about the hybrid system, but Mitsubishi claims that it is a lightweight and compact design. The drive unit is said to include a high-efficiency inverter and variable voltage system to give high power and torque.

The drive system provides Battery Save and Battery Charge modes. Battery Save uses the internal combustion engine to drive the generator, thereby providing electric power directly to the drive motor and retaining battery charge for use in zero emission zones. In Battery Charge mode, the generator output is used solely for charging the 12-kW·h battery pack. Mitsubishi claims an electric drive motor output of 120 kW and carbon dioxide emissions that could be below 40 g/km, although no test cycle is referenced.

Concept XR-PHEV II measures 4490 mm (176.8 in) long, 1890 mm (74.4 in) wide, and 1620 mm (63.8 in) tall, on a 2670-mm (105.1-in) wheelbase. It has recognizable crossover design cues including the raised ground clearance, short overhangs, large alloy wheels, and wheel arch cladding. Prominent skid plates are fitted front and rear. The design contrasts curves with sharply angular sections. The rising beltline is echoed by the deep crease below it, partially concealing the door handles. The crease is also continued in the hood section, tapering down to the angled front of the vehicle. Narrow-section door “mirrors” suggest the use of rear view cameras.

The interior is laid out with a four-seat configuration, featuring a broad center console extending from the front to the rear of the cabin. Seats and center console were trimmed mostly in orange upholstery. The full-length center console is echoed in a similar panel in the glass roof.

The instrument panel is supported by an aluminum frame which is also repeated in the glass roof sections, giving the interior the appearance of an aircraft cockpit with some switchgear in an overhead console. A monitor screen is located here too, with another rising from the center of the dashboard. Most switchgear is situated in the center console and on the steering wheel.

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