Monday, September 29, 2014

Outlander PHEV Completes Australasian Safari 2014

Outlander PHEV Completes Australasian Safari 2014
Plug-in hybrid SUV proves again its durability in another grueling off-road race

Tokyo, September 29, 2014 - With technical support from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia*1 (TMR Australia) entered a plug-in hybrid Outlander PHEV in the Australasian*2 Safari 2014 cross-country rally, which took place in Western Australia from September 19-27. The TMR Australia rally car crossed the finish line after completing the 3,529 km grueling course in a total time of 57 hours 49 minutes 14 seconds to finish in 19th place overall while also winning its class. The Outlander PHEV encountered two accidents, once on Leg 4 (September 24) and one on Leg 6 (September 26) which dropped its ranking but this performance proved Outlander PHEV's outstanding all-terrain performance in Western Australia's deserts thanks to its Twin Motor 4WD powertrain and its Super All-Wheel Control integrated vehicle dynamics control system, and that MMC's own Plug-in Hybrid EV System is more than capable of withstanding the punishing road conditions encountered during the rally.




1: Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia is a private team based in Australia.
2: "Australasian" refers to a geographical region which includes Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and neighboring islands in the Pacific Ocean.

·  Rally car outline
Competing in the A1.6 Class for production hybrid vehicles, the Outlander PHEV rally car was built to meet FIA specification with only minor modifications made for durability and safety. These included a roll cage and different fuel tank to meet safety regulations as well as the use of competition suspension, tires, brake pads and an underbody skid plate. It used the same plug-in hybrid EV system and S-AWC integrated vehicle dynamics control system as the production model.





·  Summary of results
The Outlander PHEV, which has only been on sale in Australia since April this year, moved off the Ceremony Start ramp on the first day of the Safari, Friday September 19, attracting great interest as the only plug-in hybrid vehicle in the rally. In the Prologue the next day, it finished an impressive 15th out of the 26 vehicles competing in the Autos class. When the Safari proper got under way the next day on September 21, Outlander PHEV showed its paces as, with assistance from its Twin Motor 4WD system, it successfully navigated unmade road surfaces, having stored extra electricity using the system's energy regenerative function on even surfaces. Outlander PHEV finished 17th overall in Leg 1 on September 21 which featured high-speed sections, very rough and bumpy surfaces, and desert-like sandy sections. In Leg 2 on September 22, it finished 16th overall and in Leg 3 the following day it moved up to 13th overall bravely managing to minimize the time lost after suffering three punctured tires. However, disaster struck in Leg 4 on September 24 when Outlander PHEV smashed its steering gear box as it went over a large bump during the special stage in the second half of Leg 4 on September 24. This caused the team to withdraw from Leg 5 the following day and after receiving a penalty time of 16 hours 50 minutes, Outlander PHEV dropped to 17th place overall. In Leg 6 on September 26 Outlander PHEV suffered another setback as it suffered severe damage to its left side suspension while trying to overtake slower competitors, forcing it to temporarily stop for repairs. A penalty of 16 hours 42 minutes was assessed, dropping Outlander PHEV to 20th place, however Outlander PHEV swiftly completed Leg 7, the final leg with the second best time for the segment, finishing the event in 19th position overall.

·  A word from Yoshihiko Ototake, Technical Director
We proved just how reliable and durable the Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid EV System is in the Asia Cross Country Rally over the last two years but in order to gather more data in a variety of environments we decided to provide support for the Team Mitsubishi Ralliart entry in the Australasian Safari this year. The Australasian Safari presents an extremely demanding road environment with very long stages which are mostly over tough gravel surfaces as well as over craggy terrain and deep sand, surfaces which we were not able to experience in the Asia Cross Country Rally and which were more extreme that we had imagined. Outlander PHEV smashed its steering gear box on Leg 4 and left side suspension on Leg 6 but it rejoined the rally and managed to cross the finishing line without further trouble. In doing so it successfully demonstrated the high reliability and durability of the Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid EV System which delivered trouble-free performance. I'm also very satisfied that it proved the capabilities of the Twin Motor 4WD and S-AWC systems which helped it traverse desert-like sandy terrain where many four-wheel drive pickups and SUVs were getting bogged down and stuck. I am looking forward to utilizing the many kinds of data we gathered in the course of the Safari in our future electric vehicle development.

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