Outlandish figures fuelled by new tech
07 October 2014
The numbers are as impressive as the BusinessCar Techie-winning technology for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: in a market of ultra low-emission vehicles that was worth 981 registrations last year, Mitsubishi's projections for its 2014 sales have gone from an initial 1500 units prior to the launch in April to a current 7500 orders from the UK subsidiary to the factory in Japan.
Mitsubishi Motors UK managing director Lance Bradley predicts it will get to 10,000 by the end of the year. Last year, the company did 2000 diesel variants, while in July, the model accounted for 43% of applications for the Government's £5000 ULEV grant.
As well as the impressive technology, the Outlander's success is helped by Mitsubishi being the first manufacturer to, if you count the £5000 Government grant, offer the plug-in car at the same price as the diesel version.
"We wanted to normalise the technology, make it accessible to as many people as possible by making it a version of the existing car and making it the same price," Bradley tells BusinessCar. "It could change the perception of the brand over a much shorter time than would otherwise be possible. If you get the price wrong and it doesn't sell, it doesn't do anything for the brand; but if you get it right, it's a huge opportunity, and you've only got one chance to get it right, so it's the same price as the diesel."
The Outlander plug-in hybrid is based on the regular Outlander SUV, and is powered by a combination of 2.0-litre petrol engine and 80hp electric motor that's capable of taking the car around 32 miles before switching to conventional fuel. The company claims the tipping point where the PHEV is more economical than the diesel lies at around 100 miles on an individual journey.
The battery sits under the seats and adds around 200kg of weight, but has minimal impact on the boot space, which at 463 litres is just 128 litres shy of the diesel version. An official emissions figure of 44g/km puts the Outlander PHEV in the 5% company car BIK band for this tax year, and the official fuel figure is 148mpg.