Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV

Damien O’car­roll un­packs the Out­lander’s al­pha­bet soup of PHEV, EV, SUV and CHADEMO.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

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.

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