The Mitsubishi Outlander I have here is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, also known as PHEV. The first thing you notice about the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, is that when you start up the electric motor, it is very, very quiet. (Does this remind you of the Mitsubishi heat pump ad?) I think a remote-controlled toy car makes more noise than the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV!
The ‘PHEV’ means that the vehicle has two motors, one powered by petrol, the other powered by electricity. When fully charged, the electric motor gave me a total driving range of 38KM. My daily trip consists of just under 50KM, which means the petrol engine always kicked in, when I was nearing home again.
The best thing about plug-in hybrids is that you never really have to have range anxiety, as if you run of out electricity, the car will automatically switch over to the petrol engine. Although the electric motor is already deadly silent, the cabin is also very quiet thanks to the 4mm soundproof glass. I always tell people that you could run someone over from behind, and they literally won’t even know what hit them, it’s that quiet!
If it wasn’t for the ‘READY’ symbol on the dash, you wouldn’t even know that the vehicle is turned on, not just on ACC mode!
A typical day in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV starts off by unplugging it from the charger. At home, you can have a professionally installed charging system (which can draw more current and charge the vehicle faster), or you can use the included portable charging bundle which plugs straight in to your regular household power point. This is stored in the boot, in front of where the spare tire is located.
It is regulated at 240V and will draw a maximum of 8 amps. A smart safety power brick is also included, so you won’t have to worry about burning your house down at night while charging the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. A manual stop button is also on there, in case of an emergency.
While there are public charging stations for your EV (electric vehicle) around Auckland, there are not a lot. Some notable public charging station locations include Auckland CBD, NorthWest Shopping Center, Sylvia Park Shopping Center, Albany Gull station plus one or two more. Click here for a map of charging stations. While the government has proposed an EV scheme, it is still yet to be implemented. The biggest problem with electric vehicles in New Zealand (and most likely worldwide) is that charging takes an age. That is, unless, you own a Tesla and have access to Tesla’s iconic Supercharger, which is not yet seen in NZ.
Believe it or not, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a 4WD vehicle. Switching to 4WD drive lock mode distributes torque and limits wheel spin to improve traction and straight line stability on snow, dirt and other slippery road surfaces.
Having an electric hybrid vehicle does not mean that the safety features are different. The same levels of safety can be found in the Outlander PHEV as it can be found in the normal Outlander. Forward Collision Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control and Pedestrain Approach Warning System (you’re gonna need this in such a quiet vehicle)!
The petrol engine in the Outlander PHEV is a 2.0L MIVEC. The battery capacity is 12KWh and takes 6 and a half hours to charge on a normal household power point drawing a maximum of 8 amps. When running on electric mode, the car outputs 60kW of power each from the front and rear electric motors.
During the weekend I had the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, I had already depleted the batteries by lunchtime, so when I had to go back out again, using the petrol engine got me around 5.4l/100km according to the trip computer.
In the middle console, there are two buttons which let you control whether to use the battery or use the petrol engine. By pressing the ‘CHRG’ button, the engine continuously charges the battery up to a level of 80%, even when the vehicle is idling. By pressing the ‘SAVE’ button, you activate Battery Save Mode. This reduces battery power usage. According to Mitsubishi, by saving battery power during driving, it allows longer Electric Vehicle driving when needed, such as in quiet residential neighbourhoods. I’ve never needed to drive that quietly through neighbourhoods, so this wouldn’t apply to me. I would still use up the battery first then let it drink on petrol.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV also has Regenerative Braking, meaning every time you use the brakes, part of the braking energy would go back towards the battery. Thanks to its 7″ touchscreen, all the battery information was nicely displayed on here. Animations would occur when you were using the petrol engine, using the electric motors, or that energy was going back into the battery via regenerative braking. The paddle shifters on the steering wheel could also be utilised for Regenerative Braking, with ‘-‘ means it would brake more heavily and ‘+’ would be the opposite.
My VRX model included the following features:
- Mitsubishi-Assist Safety Features (as mentioned above)
- Mutli Around View Parking System
- Leather Seats with Front Seat Heaters
- Twin Motor 4WD
- 7 Airbags and 5 Star ANCAP Safety Rating
- EV Remote System (via an app which I did not get to test out unfortunately) with Charging Timer
- LED Headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights and Headlamp Washers
- 7″ Audio Touchscreen and Satellite Navigation System
- Power Tailgate
In conclusion, my first experience with a PHEV has been a pretty positive one. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is pretty spacious, even as a 5 seater. Boot space is ample, and because of its secondary electric motor at the back, it could not be a 7 seater vehicle. Because I only had this vehicle for one week, I can’t tell you exactly how much it costs to charge it as electricity bills come once a month. I will update you on the figure in around a month’s time, however, during my theoretical calculations, it costs around $80 a month for charging, if you charge it from empty to full, once every night. However, with Electric Vehicles only starting to gain traction, are they beneficial in New Zealand?
The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV pricing starts from $59,990 for the XLS model, to $66,990 for the VRX (my model).