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Mitsubishi to Build Plug-in Hybrid SUV

Mitsubishi PX-MiEV concept

The hybrid and electric vehicle race is heating up, as more automakers announce plans to bring a plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle to market. Mitsubishi, whose i-MiEV electric car is scheduled to go on sale later this year, has plans to build a plug-in hybrid SUV.

Motor Trend’s Truck Trend reports that Mitsubishi will produce a plug-in hybrid SUV “based on the automaker's PX-MiEV concept it debuted at the 2009 Tokyo auto show.”

Reportedly, Mitsubishi’s hybrid SUV will be a hybrid version of the Outlander Sport. “Mitsubishi is investing heavily in the plug-in hybrid craze with reports coming out that their … concept Outlander Sport plug-in hybrid will make its way to North American markets by 2013,” AutoGuide.com reports.

Truck Trend spoke with Mitsubishi officials, who say that contrary to these reports of its hybrid being based on the current Outlander Sport, Mitsubishi’s first plug-in hybrid will be based on the PX-MiEV.

The new hybrid SUV will combine a “1.6-liter gasoline-powered four-cylinder and the necessary hybrid hardware to a lithium-ion battery pack,” Autoblog reports.

The new hybrid SUV will join the i-MiEV in Mitsubishi’s green lineup. The automaker says in a statement its all-electric i-MiEV received an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating equivalent to 126/99 mpg city/highway, although the EPA has not posted these numbers on its site yet. The new hybrid SUV’s fuel numbers likely won’t be as high as the i-MiEV, because it is a larger, heavier vehicle, but official data is not available yet.

The 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is expected to cost about $30,000 before tax credits, while the Outlander Sport, the U.S. News 2011 Best Compact Crossover for the Money, starts at $18,755. Mitsubishi has not announced prices for its plug-in hybrid SUV yet.

Mitsubishi is planning to sell a total of eight electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles globally before 2015, AutoGuide.com reports.

Shopping for an electric or hybrid car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

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