With its Concept PX-MiEV II making its world premier at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi is breaking away from electric mini-cars and applying its MiEV electric vehicle technology to the oft-derided SUV. But Mitsubishi hopes to convince the SUV-naysayers with its concept plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV), which it describes as having "high environmental performance and fuel efficiency." To the technology borrowed from the i-MiEV, the PX-MiEV II adds a conventional engine, with the result that the hybrid matches the range of a conventional car, but with significantly improved fuel efficiency. Thus, claims Mitsubishi, its hybrid SUV will happily cruise at 60 km to the liter (141 mpg), to a range of more than 800 km (or 500 miles).

Mitsubishi points to the maneuvering and stability afforded by the drive-train of the PX-MiEV II which uses "Super-All Wheel Control" (S-AW), a four-wheel-drive traction control technology developed for the Lancer Evolution X series. Additionally, Mitsubishi claims the 100% instant off-the-line torque provided by the electric motor gives the hybrid acceleration in line with a 3.0-liter V6 engine.

In electric mode, the PX-MiEV II can trundle 50 km (31 miles) before a recharge - enough, Mitsubishi thinks, for the everyday needs. Beyond that range, the conventional engine will kick in as needed, but the driver can prioritize battery drive mode if noise or localized pollution becomes an issue. Additionally, the driver can elect to recharge the battery from the conventional engine in transit, though we can't envisage many circumstances when it would make sense to do so. The PX-MiEV II is fitted with an electric socket into which one may plug one's appliances: Handy for campers, Mitsubishi suggests; or essential for defibrillating that pedestrian that didn't hear you coming in battery drive mode. Its quick-charge port can be connected at home, so it should be possible to leave home fully juiced every day.