Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Damien O’carroll unpacks the Outlander’s alphabet soup of PHEV, EV, SUV and CHADEMO.
It is no secret that I am a fan of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) – I loved the original on its launch and have continued to be impressed by its subsequent updates and facelifts. Probably the thing I like about the Outlander PHEV the most is not the fact that it does something revolutionary (because it really actually doesn’t), but more the fact that it uses common technology in a way that hadn’t been used – or rather combined – before. Much more than just a hybrid, but also with way more usable range than a pure EV, Mitsubishi also had the god sense to wrap it all up in that most popular and practical of body styles - the SUV. The one downside of the Outlander PHEV, however, was its limited ability to run purely on electricity – Mitsubishi claimed around 30km for the original, but really world use saw high teens at the most. However, now Mitsubishi has upgraded the Outlander PHEV to make it far more useful in a round-town gas-free running sense. Not only has the battery pack has been beefed up to provide a bigger electric-only range, but Mitsubishi has also added a fast-charger CHADEMO plug, meaning that the Outlander can now use the ever-increasing number of fast charging stations popping up around the country, including the Chargenet “Electric Highway” network. The increase in battery power now means a usable, real-world range of more than 40km (Mitsubishi claims 52km), which makes it entirely possible for most people to use absolutely no petrol in daily usage. In fact during a week of normal running around, we averaged between nothing and 0.2L/100km fuel consumption when charging the PHEV at night or taking advantage of fastcharging stations. Why any petrol at all? That is because if you give the PHEV full throttle even in EV mode, the petrol engine will still kick in, just to give a bit of extra assistance. Keep it under 100 percent throttle, however (which most normal people do on the daily commute) and it will never kick in unless you run out of battery power. While the addition of the fast charger capability is nice, if you were expecting a 40km range to be a five minute job to top up on a fast charger, you are actually going to be disappointed. While the likes of pure EVS like the BMW i3 and Hyundai Ioniq can jam around 150 to 170km in on a 20 minute charge (and a Tesla can cram in around 250-300km on one of the super-high voltage Superchargers), the Mitsubishi takes around the same to get its 40km topped up. But then, while the fast charge ability is nice, it really isn’t essential in the Outlander. The best way to use a PHEV is to plug it in each night at home and face each new day with a fully charged battery and enough range to get you to work and back. Is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, with its newly-extended battery range the perfect mix of guilt-free commuter car and weekend longdistance roamer? It sure is pretty close.