OKAZAKI, Japan -- Mitsubishi's upcoming plug-in hybrid crossover is a mixture of several hybrid vehicle systems already on the market.
When the production vehicle arrives -- as early as next year -- it will operate both like the series hybrid system used in the Chevrolet Volt and the parallel hybrid system on the standard Toyota Prius.
Mitsubishi's goal is to maximize electric-only driving time by having the gasoline engine work solely as a generator to recharge the lithium ion battery during driving. In that way, Mitsubishi's hybrid system operates much like that of the Volt.
But at speeds over 75 mph it switches to parallel hybrid mode, with the engine simultaneously exerting direct mechanical force to the front wheels while recharging the battery. At the same time, the electric motors keep supplying power to both axles. That makes it similar to the standard Prius.
And the Mitsubishi hybrid will be a plug-in vehicle that allows drivers to charge their batteries from a wall socket or a quick-charging station.