This was the electrified SUV's toughest challenge yet.
Whereas the Ford Bronco R failed to complete the grueling Baja 1000 last year and was defeated by the Glickenhaus Boot this year, its Bronco Sport sibling made up for these setbacks by winning the 2020 Rebelle Rally. But this wasn't the only historic automotive achievement at the all-female rally event, because the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV became the first electrified crossover to complete the off-road rally in partnership with the military veteran's charity Record the Journey.
Covering 1,242 miles ten days, the competition is the longest of its kind in the lower 48 states. In a new video, Record The Journey founder and team navigator Sergeant Major Rachael Ridenour and driver Master Sergeant Kristie Levy recount the challenges they faced during the epic journey that began in California and ended in San Diego.
With 1,034 points, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV finished third in the Rally X-Cross Class after the Kia Telluride and Ford Bronco Sport. A hybrid electric vehicle doesn't sound like a practical choice of vehicle to use in an off-road endurance rally, but it's a testament to the Outlander PHEV's capability and reliability that it successfully completed the event and secured a podium finish after being pushed to its limits tackling the vast deserts in California and Nevada.
Time allowances were also made to charge the battery. To make the event even more challenging, each team could only navigate the desert using old-school tools such as a compass, maps, and a road book instead of modern GPS technology.
"After two successful years of partnership with Record the Journey, it's an honor to be able to celebrate our mutual achievements with this latest 'Small Batch - Big Impact' film," said MMNA Chief Operating Officer Mark Chaffin. "We've made history together at the Rebelle, but I hope the real legacy of our collaboration will be increased awareness of, and greater support for, the valuable work that Rachael and the RTJ team do for military veterans every day."
Nicknamed "Electra," the Outlander PHEV was "lightly modified" to compete in the Rebelle Rally, but Mitsubishi didn't provide any further details. In the road-going version, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and two electric motors producing a combined 190 hp and 137 lb-ft of torque. With a DC fast charger, it takes 25 minutes to charge the battery, enabling an all-electric driving range of 22 miles.