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CC Mitsubishi Motors enters Outlander PHEV in Baja Portalegre

For Immediate Release

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Baja Portalegre 500 cross-country rally gets underway
Mitsubishi Motors enters Outlander PHEV Plug-in Hybrid EV

Portugal, October 22, 2015 — The Baja Portalegre 500 cross-country rally is being held in the Portalegre municipality of the Alentejo region in the eastern part of Portugal, near the Spanish border, from October 22-24.

Organized by the Portuguese Automobile Association, official competition vehicle inspections took place on Thursday, October 22nd. The Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid EV, Mitsubishi Motors’ rally car, passed without any problems and is the only entrant in the newly-established TE class*. Weather conditions were warm and sunny. There was no wind and the outside temperature was 23 degrees Centigrade.

Mitsubishi Motors’ staff member Hiroshi Masuoka is driving the Outlander PHEV. He was a two-time winner of the world’s toughest race, the Dakar Rally, in 2002 and 2003. The Japanese is also serving as the Team Captain in Portugal.

His co-driver is Frenchman Pascal Maimon, with whom Masuoka won his first Dakar in 2002. Providing technical support is Technical Director Yasuo Tanaka of the MMC EV Component Research Department. Four staff members from the same department are serving as engineers. The rally team is aiming to extract the full potential from the Outlander PHEV to complete the rally and finish amongst the top teams.

* TE is short for Tout Terrain Especial (from Portuguese). “Special All-terrain Vehicle” class.

The 29th edition of the Baja Portalegre 500 has attracted a total of 315 entrants, consisting of 92 automobiles, 37 buggies, 80 motorbikes and 34 quads. In addition, 106 competitors were entered in a promotional category for bikes, buggies and quads.

The event also constitutes the 10th and final round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup. For that reason, privateer teams from Portugal have been joined by several of the leading off-road drivers who are scheduled to enter the Dakar Rally in January 2016.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, the Baja Portalegre 500 has returned to its traditional format of being fought out over two legs: Leg one takes place on October 23 and offers 90.52 km of special stages and 77.78 km of road liaison in a total route of 168.30 km. The second leg on October 24 comprises 350km of special stages and 151.96km of road liaison in a total of 501.96 km.

The Outlander PHEV rally car is based on the production model but has been modified to comply with race regulations. It uses the main components of the production model’s PHEV system, but with changes made to the control systems for the rally. The front and rear electric motors deliver more power, the gasoline engine is faster revving, the drive battery is larger in capacity and the generator produces more electric power to provide higher overall performance.

Increased traction is made possible via changes to the control system governing the Twin Motor 4WD system, which utilizes know how built up through the S-AWC integrated vehicle dynamics control system employed in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution series. Ground clearance and suspension stroke have been increased and the use of larger rally tires have improved off-road performance. This enables the driver to extract the full potential of the uprated performance of the PHEV and Twin Motor 4WD systems.

Team Mitsubishi Motors arrived in Portugal on October 18 and finalized the rally car set-up the next day at MBP Automóveis Portugal S. A., the company’s Portuguese distributor. On October 20, the rally car was moved to an off-road course, near the village of Santa Margarida do Sado, located around 120km southeast of Lisbon. A preliminary ‘shakedown’ test was carried out to double-check the rally car’s configuration and Twin Motor 4WD/S-AWC control systems. The suspension and other chassis component set-up were also checked to make sure everything was ready for the rally.

The team also made some modifications to the electronic management system after the shakedown test.

A Word from Hiroshi Masuoka –Team Captain & Driver
“I’ve really been looking forward to driving the Outlander PHEV in the Baja Portalegre 500 alongside several of the drivers who will be competing in the next Dakar Rally. With some shakedown tests in Japan and one in Portugal, I’ve been able to affirm the Outlander PHEV’s potential. Basically, we will be driving in series EV mode with the engine serving as a generator, while the car is driven by the electric motors. The electric motors’ smooth and powerful acceleration makes for easier acceleration control, as there is no need to concentrate on shifting gears so I can focus on acceleration. The real thrill of driving the Outlander PHEV is the energy management only an electric-powered vehicle can provide. I’m keen to show the Outlander PHEV’s true performance potential in the field of rallying.”

A Word from Yasuo Tanaka – Technical Director
“We have provided technical support to the team’s Outlander PHEV in the Asia Cross-Country Rally (AXCR) for three years now. The Outlander PHEV we are entering in the Baja Portalegre 500 is basically the same as the one that competed in the AXCR in August. This time, however, we were able to do some fine-tuning to the rally car and match the characteristics of the Baja Portalegre 500 by exploiting the knowhow we acquired through our technical assistance during the AXCR.

“The PHEV system components that have been uprated for the rally, including the engine generator, faster charging speed and increased electric motor power output, are not just for improving the rally car for the race, but we are also using the race to find technologies we could apply to improve the performance of production vehicles. If applied to the production model, these modifications will see an improvement in vehicle performance. By identifying and overcoming a number of issues in continuous to-the-limit driving in rallies, we are aiming to enhance technologies that raise the performance and quality of EV/PHEVs in the near future.”

Partners (12 in all, in alphabetical order)
dSPACE Japan K.K.
Endless Advance Co., Ltd.
GS Yuasa Corporation
MEIDENSHA CORPORATION
Mitsubishi Motors Dealers Association
Mitsubishi Corporation
Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha(NYK LINE)
RECARO Japan Co., Ltd.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.
TEIN, Inc.
Tsuchiya Co., Ltd.
Work-design Co., Ltd.

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Date issued: 22/10/2015

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