Mit­subishi Out­lander’s day in the sun

The stag­ger­ing ef­fi­ciency of the new Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV (plug-in hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cle) – at 1.9L/100km – has rightly re­ceived plenty of press. It’s a game-chang­ing equa­tion which, put to­gether with so­lar power, pro­vides for vir­tu­ally cash and ca

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The Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV will do even bet­ter than 1.9L/100km pro­vided you’re driv­ing less than 52km per day – the range of the ve­hi­cle’s bat­tery bank. Add up your com­mute, your trips to the shops – you’re un­der that, right? The aver­age daily com­mute in New Zealand is a 38km round trip, so most of us are.

At $1.41 for a full charge (6.5 hours from an in­ter­nal house­hold power point), you’re do­ing well. But you could do even bet­ter. Con­sider putting so­lar pho­to­voltaics on the roof of your home or busi­ness – wher­ever your Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV is parked most of the time. With the ap­pro­pri­ate so­lar ar­ray (see side­bar) your weekly travel is now com­pletely free – in terms of both cash and car­bon.

The Out­lander PHEV will, of course, re­quire some petrol for mo­tor­ing from time to time – when you go on hol­i­day, for ex­am­ple. In Se­ries Hy­brid mode, the two 60kW elec­tric mo­tors run the wheels and the petrol en­gine charges the state-of-the-art Lithi­u­mIon bat­tery. The bat­tery will be fully recharged in just 40 min­utes, hav­ing used around three litres of fuel to do it. In Par­al­lel Hy­brid mode, which kicks in at higher speeds, the petrol en­gine helps to drive the wheels. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of two elec­tric mo­tors and a

“With the ap­pro­pri­ate so­lar ar­ray your weekly travel is now com­pletely free – in terms of both cash and car­bon.”

2.0L petrol en­gine (not to men­tion the 3 clever drive modes that bring it all to­gether) and means the Out­lander PHEV isn’t bound by the range lim­i­ta­tions of all-elec­tric ve­hi­cles. Even us­ing fuel the ve­hi­cle has emis­sions of just 44 grams of CO2 per kilo­me­tre. The Out­lander also uses re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing to con­serve even more en­ergy.

Thanks to the use of elec­tric mo­tors, torque is right there when you want it. Lit­tle won­der Mit­subishi has po­si­tioned it as the per­for­mance model of the Out­lander sta­ble. And it’s quiet; in fact, it has an alarm that warns pedes­tri­ans of its ap­proach when it’s in Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle mode.

Its cruise con­trol adapts to the ve­hi­cle you’re fol­low­ing and it will even stop you to mit­i­gate a col­li­sion if its radar de­tects a haz­ard but no brake in­put. These are just some of the fea­tures that con­trib­ute to the 5-Star ANCAP safety rat­ing. The XLS starts the range at $59,990, but the VRX is where things get truly in­ter­est­ing and it lands at $66,990. The VRX gets all the ex­cit­ing kit–sat­nav, for­ward col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion, adap­tive cruise con­trol, a power tail­gate, heated front leather seats and the full PHEV colour dis­play screens–plus the PHEV re­mote app that is avail­able for iOS and An­droid phones.

Check out El­e­ment next month, July 28 when El­e­ment edi­tor James Rus­sell con­nects the Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV to his own so­lar ar­ray and puts it to the test.

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