Mitsubishi celebrates 100 years with modern plug-in hybrid conversion of first model image

The Japanese manufacturer has decided a birthday party is not enough to celebrate a century of existence – and wants to wow everyone with a rebuild of its first-ever passenger vehicle with an Outlander plug-in hybrid powertrain conversion.

Sounds crazy – all wheel drive, plug in and hybrid system tucked inside a car from 1917. But Mitsubishi is confident it will pull the project through – using the Model A which was first seen in 1917 and will be recreated by… West Coast Customs. This modern classic will then feature the platform of the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). It comes with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, two electric motors and a 12-kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery pack – each electric motor for each axle means there’s the company’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system as well.

It’s going to be very interesting when it’s finished – considering all the electronics of this complicated hybrid system. And we also wonder if Mitsubishi is calling for its modern safety systems – blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert, and a forward collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection technology – to be included. The actual Model A was built by the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company, a member of the Mitsubishi group that would eventually morph into Mitsubishi Motors. It was based on the Fiat Tipo 3 and had a seven-seat arrangement.