Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Outlander electrifies Expo

Published:Sunday | April 17, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
The front of the hybrid Mitsubish Outlander in the National Arena at the JPS booth, Expo 2016.
The charging station for the hybrid vehicle.
The hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander at Expo 2016, being held at the National Arena and National Indoor Sports Centre, Arthur Wint Drive, St Andrew.

For many persons who turned up at Expo 2016 at the National Arena and Indoor Sports Complex, which ends today, the two-litre, 16-valve, in-line four-cylinder Mitsubishi Outlander proved a major drawing card and it wasn't for any of the aforementioned features. Neither was it the fact it has a dual-overhead camshaft (DOHC) or the MiVEC - Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing electronic control system which speaks to the variable valve timing technology developed by Mitsubishi Motors.

They were, for the most part, fascinated by the fact that it was plugged into an electric outlet, drawing attention to the fact that the sport utility vehicle is in fact an electric/gasolene hybrid.

The Outlander, which is the flagship item at the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) booth strategically located just inside the National Arena, kept staffers busy as they fielded questions from patrons about how 'real' the Outlander is. With 200 horses available for the asking and 244 Newton metres of torque available, the hybrid accelerates from zero to 62 miles per hour in 11 seconds.

This is why for Kelly Tomblin, chief executive officer of JPS, a recent journey to Montego Bay along the North-South link of Highway 2000 was such fun trip.

"One of the things that people usually get in their head is that it (hybrid) won't go up the hill. So I went to the new road, which as you know is a hill, and it was fun," she told Automotives.

It was an extended ride for the vehicle which Kelly uses to get to and from work. She is doing a comprehensive test drive of the electric/gasolene-powered SUV, the performance of which will be monitored and assessed by a technical team. As soon as she gets to work in New Kingston, the vehicle is plugged into a special electrical outlet to allow the charge to build up in much the same way as a mobile phone, with a display on the dashboard showing the current charge percentage.

"Our mission is to find a solution for every Jamaican, and there are a couple of things that we really are interested in, one of which is energy efficiency for sure. The second one is fuel diversity - having options with fuel - and the third is bringing the concept of fuel efficiency to Jamaica," Tomblin explained.

"For us, the electric vehicle ticks those boxes of Jamaica's brand can be more about technology and really fuel diversity, having other options than gas and oil. So for us it really does tick a lot of boxes, and obviously we are competitive and some of our Caribbean countries will also be getting electric vehicles since the world is getting electric vehicles.

"I live close, so it works for me. I won't have to use gas going back and forth to work. If you live far away, you might have to use gas, but your first number of miles will be gas-free, and what we're trying now is to use me driving for a while to see how it really performs," the JPS head noted.

There is no legislative framework governing or incentives for the importation of electric cars. Kelly is undeterred, convinced as she is that this is just one of the new and emerging innovations with which Jamaica must and will eventually catch up.