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Mitsubishi's Outlander Plug-in Hybrid SUV will be hitting our shores this fall. Across the Pond, however, it's heading into more no-nonsense territory. That's because the Japanese automaker is making a commercial van variant of the plug-in hybrid for the UK.

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Mitsubishi has a big secret to keep under wraps when it comes to the looks of its refreshed Outlander crossover. Our spy shooters recently caught it testing in Germany, and the CUV had enough buckles, straps and snaps covering up the front end for the vehicle to fit in at an S&M party for cars. The rear was hidden just as thoroughly, too.

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High Demand From Europe, Japan Mean No US Version For Now

It can be difficult to see from the US, where the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid is not yet available, but the all-wheel drive SUV is a big hit in Europe and Japan. In fact, we learned at the Plug In 2014 Conference in San Jose, CA this week that Mitsubishi has sold over 33,000 copies of the PHEV around the world.

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While attending the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with Mitsubishi we got a chance to speak to three Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) executives about the Outlander PHEV, how the brand is strengthening its lineup and how it plans to promote that.

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Plug-In SUV Still On Track To Arrive In US In Late 2015

Like a stiff breeze off the White Cliffs of Dover, UK sales of the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid may have the wind at its back. That's because the Japanese automaker isn't charging any extra, relative to the diesel-powered Outlander. And UK's Duxford Auto Group says it's already feeling the positive effects.

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It seems every time the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV makes the news the information concerns a delay, and the reason always centers on its batteries. Four months ago the culprit was restricted battery supply from Lithium Energy Japan, pushing the arrival to 2015. This time it's no different, with Automotive News reporting that a battery-related request made by California state regulators will push the Outlander PHEV arrival back to "late 2015 or early 2016."

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For UK buyers who are interested in a plug-in hybrid SUV, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV just got a little bit sweeter. The reason is that the base model of the vehicle will be available with or without a plug for the same price at the base diesel model.

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Mitsubishi is getting more and more forthcoming about its plans for the US market. Among the tidbits revealed during a chat with Edmunds at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, MMNA Executive Vice President Don Swearingen said that "We are committed to huge investments in capital as well as huge investments in R&D." The marquee product of that investment could be a new Montero for the 2017 or 2018 model year, suggestions of which were raised with the Concept GC-PHEV at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and a

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Talk about a Dutch treat. Mitsubishi says sales of its Outlander Plug-in Hybrid are brisk in Europe, helped in a big way by plug-in vehicle tax incentives in the Netherlands that are getting more people there to buy the world's first production plug-in hybrid CUV.

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Mitsubishi resumed full-scale battery production in August after a five-month shutdown due to a safety investigation. Supplier Lithium Energy Japan has been delivering 4,000 battery packs each month since September, but that's apparently still not enough to fill the overseas inventory pipeline for the Outlander PHEV and i subcompact EV while launching the Outlander PHEV here in the US. So instead of the previous tentative launch date of Fall 2014, the plug-in hybrid's Stateside on-sale date has

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Mitsubishi may have faced some pesky little battery-fire issues with its Outlander Plug-in Hybrid earlier this year in Japan, but as far as Europeans are concerned, the SUV is pretty darn safe. The Japanese automaker says the Outlander PHEV just received the highest-possible five-star rating by the 2013 Europe New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Mitsubishi notes that other awards for the SUV include the Car of the Year Japan award for 2013-14 and, more recently, the Automotive Researchers' and Jo

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Thanks to a production stoppage caused by battery issues and high demand from Japan and Europe, the US will just have to wait its turn to get the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. That's the news from Green Car Reports, which spoke to Bryan Arnett, senior manager of product strategy for Mitsubishi Motors North America, and learned that "a year from now" is the earliest that the plug-in hybrid SUV could reach our shores. That still fits into the original timeline for US sales, which were only promised a

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Back in March, production of both the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid and the all-electric i-MiEV ground to a halt over a pair of incidents where overheated lithium-ion batteries caused vehicle fires. Following the rocky start, The Japan Times is reporting that production of the Outlander PHEV has recommenced following the five-month stoppage.

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The Mitsubishi Outlander officially is a safe vehicle, earning a good rating in all of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test categories - good enough for the agency to give it the Top Safety Pick+ award. The small sport utility vehicle's little sibling, the Outlander Sport, received the Top Safety Pick award earlier this year.

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Two years ago, it looked like Mitsubishi was ready to have a noticeable presence in plug-in electric vehicles. After all, the all-electric i (also known as the i-MiEV in Japan, where it has been sold since 2009) was considered cute and fun to drive. It wasn't cheap, but at that time it was priced lower than the Nissan Leaf and qualified for incentives. The Japanese automaker said it had big plans in store for more electrified offerings, starting with a plug-in hybrid variation of its Outlander c

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Mitsubishi has already announced that it will be returning as a competitor to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a pair of all-electric MiEV Evolution II racecars. In addition to these entrants, the automaker will also be the presenting sponsor of the race as well as providing the official safety vehicles to the event using specially prepped versions of the 2014 Outlander and Lancer Evolution.

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It's official: Mitsubishi has recalled more than 4,300 plug-in vehicles, almost all of which are Outlander Plug-in Hybrids, because of battery issues, Automotive News says.

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