Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer: Silly Name, Smart AWD

This plug-in was shown alongside a home electrical system tailored to PHEVs.

Mitsubishi may not be a big player in the US, but its Outlander plug-in hybrid is a bestseller in Europe, with good growth potential as more cities move toward banning internal-combustion propulsion in city centers. So it's no surprise that Mitsubishi chose Geneva to reveal its latest concept vehicle, a plug-in-hybrid SUV named called the Engelberg Tourer. The moniker is taken from a Swiss ski town; if it were revealed in America, perhaps it'd be called the Vail Tourer or perhaps the Jackson Hole Tourer. (As it sits, we wish it also incorporated the wider region's name and was called the Engelberg-Titlis Tourer, because comedy.)

The concept is meant to showcase the adaptive nature of Mitsubishi's twin-motor PHEV system. Largely similar to the driveline in the Outlander PHEV, which teams a 2.4-liter gasoline engine with electric motors at each axle, the Engelberg Tourer uses Mitsubishi's Active Yaw Control to split the torque front and rear. With a destination programmed into the navigation system, it can also use available data on weather, traffic, and road conditions to fine-tune both the torque split and battery management. Mitsubishi claims a battery-only range of 43.5 miles and a fuel-and-battery range of 435 miles.

The Engelberg Tourer's styling points to the future direction of its SUVs. Even allowing for the flights of fancy that are part and parcel of any show property, several elements could easily make it to production, including the large, blanked-off grille; the high-mounted running lights; the sharp bodyside creases; and the vertical chrome element on the front doors. The bulge on the roof is a concealed carrier for snowboards. Inside, the Engelberg Tourer has three rows of narrow-profile seats designed to free up interior space.

Along with this concept, Mitsubishi demonstrated the Dendo Drive House, a home electric system designed to work in conjunction with a PHEV like the Engelberg Tourer. The system encompasses solar panels, a home battery, a bidirectional charger, and the PHEV itself. The DDH system can use the solar panels to supply power for both the home and the PHEV battery, and, when high electricity rates make it advantageous to do so (and presumably with the driver's schedule in mind), use the PHEV's battery to feed power to the house. Mitsubishi plans to offer the DDH system, including sale, installation, and maintenance, to Outlander PHEV buyers in Japan and Europe later this year.