This Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle looks like a conventional Outlander.
Story By Bruce McMahon
No need here for look-at-me style to attract attention to unconventional power sources. Outside, the Mitsubishi PHEV is only noticed by badging and filler caps either side, one for petrol and one for a power cord. (There’s a five-metre, 240-volt cable supplied.)
The inside is traditional and non-confronting. There’s decent room for four adults or a family of five, and seats are comfortable with good visibility and cabin ergonomics. It’s an honest interior and includes steering wheel paddle shifters as well as the floor shift for the continuously variable transmission.
Readouts on the centre-dash media screen give the hybrid story away and, if a driver was so inclined, could soak up hours calculating fuel costs and power deliveries. Graphics show whether the Outlander is running on battery, being recharged or running on petrol power and more. It can run on electric power alone, or can run with the petrol engine recharging the battery or driving the wagon’s wheels.
Mitsubishi claim their PHEV will run at 1.9 litres per 100 kilometres with the two-litre petrol engine, generator, lithium-ion battery, plus that pair of electric motors to drive front and rear wheels. It’s claimed that with a 15-amp power outlet and electricity at 30 cents per kilowatt-hour, it’d cost around $3.60 to recharge the Outlander’s battery in five hours. It can also be charged on the road.
Move off under electric power and all is quiet. Used with a little care, battery energy will last some 50 kilometres at speeds up to 120km/h. It’s fuss-free, but not super fast when picking a gap in traffic. Hit the throttle and the petrol engine livens up the responses.
The system is smart in knowing when the battery is running out of amps, starting the petrol engine to keep the PHEV on the move to recharge the battery; this can also be switched over by the driver. Or a driver could flick down a gear or two and help with regenerative engine braking to supply power back to the battery.
All this green technology, at a most reasonable price, goes about its business without compromising the Outlander’s practicality or performance on the highway or down a bush track.
This Story is from Issue #98
Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2015