At the 2012 Paris Motor Show this September, Mitsubishi will show its Outlander Plug-in Hybrid EV. Neither an adaptation of an existing internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicle, nor a dedicated plug-in hybrid tech showcase, the Outlander PHEV will share its architecture with the soon-to-be-introduced ICE-powered Outlander range.

Mitsubishi claims that it will be the first mainstream car from a major manufacturer envisaged from the outset with built-in provisions for either ICE or PHEV powertrains.

The SUV will be MMC’s first plug-in hybrid car, based on an EV instead of the other way around. You see, Mitsubishi didn’t join the hybrid party thrown by Toyota and Honda – they went straight to EVs with the i-MiEV. It will also be the first permanent 4WD electric car in series production, according to MMC.

The Outlander’s drivetrain combo of front electric motor, rear electric motor and front traction/generator petrol engine provides a choice of three driving modes: Pure (Twin Motor 4WD EV), Series (Twin Motor 4WD – EV supported by generator) and Parallel (ICE engine supported by Twin Motor 4WD). The ICE engine is only alive when needed, saving fuel.

When fitted to the Outlander, the Mitsubishi PHEV system has a driving distance of over 800 km and a CO2 target below 50 g/km. With the ICE engine added, the range is now more “normal” compared to a pure EV, which is restricted to short distances.

European sales of the ICE powered Outlander (pictured here) will start in fall this year, while the Outlander PHEV will be retailed sometime next year.