Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Completes Australasian Safari 2014
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is nw the first plug-in hybrid to have completed the 2014 Australasian Safari (19-27 September) – (See our earlier article on the Safari here)
As it turns out, the private Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia with manufacturer support was able to cross the finish line after completing the 3,529 km across Western Australia in a total time of 57 hours 49 minutes 14 seconds.
Crew Steve Glenney and co-driver Bernie Webb took 19th place overall (out of 26) while also winning its newly established class (A1.6 Class for production hybrid vehicles).
But this doesn’t tell the whole story.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was pushed to the limit on Leg 3, finishing 13th overall despite suffering three punctured tires. Later, disaster struck when the Outlander PHEV damaged its suspension trying to overtake slower competitors in a later stage.
Here is the little more onthe adventure:
“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.”
Yoshihiko Ototake, Technical Director stated:
“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.”