Mitsubishi's plug-in SUV

ELECTRIC SUV: The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
ELECTRIC SUV: The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Mitsubishi has offered up fresh details on its incoming Outlander PHEV, a plug-in hybrid SUV due to arrive in Australia in mid-2013.

The Outlander PHEV is the first plug-in hybrid SUV in the world to make it to market, and Mitsubishi Australia product planning manager James Tol says the brand will try to offer the new Outlander plug-in model at realistic and attainable price.

"You'll just have to wait and see. It's not going to be [that expensive] that you'll fall over dead. We're working hard to get a very good price," Tol says.

"We can't say what the price will be, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you see it," he says.

Tol says the company hasn't yet decided whether the plug-in SUV will be offered with a seven-seat version.

The Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) is powered by a complex drivetrain which includes a front electric motor powering the front wheels, a rear electric motor sending power to the rear wheels, and a petrol engine that can act as a battery range extender (or generator) for longer trips, and can even power the car's front wheels if need be. It can be plugged in to a household power outlet to recharge the SUV's under-floor battery pack.

The company estimates it will run purely on electricity for up to 50 kilometres, while overall range is expected to be close to 800km.

Mitsubishi will also add an automatic version of its diesel ASX softroader from mid-2013.

The move will bring the Japanese brand's compact SUV into line with the likes of VW's Tiguan, Renault's Koleos and Kia's Sportage.

Mitsubishi would not confirm what type of transmission the automatic would be, but the brand recently announced that on the bigger Outlander SUV, a six-speed automatic transmission will be offered on both the petrol and diesel variants.