The march towards literally running on the scent of an oily rag is gaining serious momentum. In the EFTM Garage this week sits The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. A 4WD SUV that implements two electric motors on each axle, a large battery pack in its belly with a four-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet. There’s a petrol flap on one side and an electric plug outlet on the other, all this combines to produce an almost ridiculous fuel economy figure.
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with twin electric motors.
Transmission: There is none, just a single ratio.
Vital Stats: Power 87kW @ 4,500rpm (petrol) 60kW (electric)
Torque: 186Nm @ 4,500rpm (petrol), 195Nm @ 0rpm (electric rear motor), 137Nm @ 0rpm (electric front motor)
Mitsubishi Claimed Fuel Economy: 1.9l/100km
EFTM Claimed Fuel Economy: 7.0l/100km. Unfortunately we lacked a 15amp powerpoint. However we picked up the PHEV with a full charge and managed 2.0l/100km for a 80.1km trip.
MRRP Price: From $47,490 (plus on-roads)
Wow Factor: Within city limits this seemingly typical SUV could potentially use zero fuel for weeks. Depending on the composition of your right foot (mine is at least 70 percent lead) a 50km electric only range is possible. The petrol engine will kick in if you need some real grunt, but this particular Hybrid system is designed to lean on electricity propulsion more than petrol power whenever an array of computers rule possible.
Most Impressive: The PHEV takes Hybrid technology to a far more practical level. Sure you can plug it in overnight recharging it much like you would a smartphone. (Around five hours for a full charge). Sure the next day you can then obtain another 50km of fossil fuel free greenness. But the PHEV is no one trick pony. Hit the “Recharge” button and the petrol engine recharges the battery while you drive, after approximately an hour the drive battery can almost be completely replenished. There’s a “Save” button which conserves the battery, handy when traveling at higher speeds. The constant top ups from regenerative brakes and engine braking which can be altered via paddle shifters further add to quite an amazing technology package.
Not So Impressive : Still a Mitsubishi Outlander but heavier. The Outlander sits in middle of the road territory when it comes to today’s lofty SUV standards set by the likes of Mazda’s CX-5. The extra weight from the battery doesn’t help the already ungainly dynamics (1810kg – 1871kg depending on equipment spec). Most buyers will need to install a 15amp powerpoint, few homes have them. The seven seat configuration of the standard Outlander is lost due to the bulk of the battery, You’ll have to make do with five.