In January 2013 a plug-in hybrid petrol/electric car called the Outlander PHEV was launched by Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV can run on either the electricity stored in it’s battery, or on petrol from it’s fuel tank.
We had a 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for a 3 day test drive. During this time we only covered 50 or so miles, yet it was enough to confirm that we’d go ahead and order the vehicle.
The Outlander PHEV can be charged from a conventional 3 pin domestic plug, from a dedicated 16 Amp electric car charger, from a motorway services fast charger which’ll give 80% battery in 20 minutes. If you want to be old school, you can take the car to the petrol station and fill it with conventional petrol. Fundamentally, the Outlander PHEV wants to be an electric car. Even if the battery that drives the wheels (called the ‘Drive Battery’) is depleted, the petrol engine will still shut off when it can. The drive battery keeps 30% or so of it’s charge in reserve to supplement output from the efficient petrol engine.
Not Cutting Edge
The Outlander PHEV is not to be mistaken for the next-generation of electric vehicles such as those in the Tesla range. The Outlander PHEV is an amalgamation of existing technologies put together to provide an electric car experience with the unlimited range of a petrol engine car. If you like, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is to the Tesla what a Ford Model-T is to the very first Ford Prefect.
What isn’t great about the Outlander PHEV? The dashboard is very poorly laid out, the ergonomics are abysmal, there are drive-train inefficiencies and compromises, which wastes both petrol and electrical energy. For example, the front electric motor has oil cooling and an electric pump, yet the Tesla’s motors are air cooled. In comparison to the Tesla’s interior, the Mitsubishi could be confused with that of a standard car. If you’ve seen a Tesla, it is a whole different kettle of fish, yet only £15,000 or so more than the Mitsubishi to buy.
So why didn’t I order the Tesla? Well Tesla is still very much an unknown, Tesla has only been producing vehicles for a few years and who can guarantee if Tesla as a company will still be around in 3, 5, or 10 years time? It is too much of my money to risk on a new manufacturer.
What Is Amazing?
The Outlander PHEV is totally silent when in electric mode. It is uncanny, weird, unnatural. My first manoeuvre in the Outlander PHEV demonstrator was a reverse hill start, it did this silently and with no quibble. The acceleration for a two ton permanent 4×4 is amazing. As the car is so quiet, close watch needs to be kept on the speedometer at motorway speeds.
The GX4hs model has adaptive radar cruise control, 360 degree cameras, heated seats, LED headlights, a Smartphone App and it’s own WiFi network. In addition, an electric tailgate, keyless entry and keyless start. So yes, it does have a few bells and whistles, though nothing like the Tesla’s auto-pilot self steering mode.
We have a East/West Solar Panel system being installed later this week. This Solar Panel system will give us free electricity to fuel our Outlander PHEV. As our Solar panels will face East and West we will get free electrical energy from the sun all day.
If you have Solar Panels, and have your car sitting on your driveway during the day, then moving to an electric car makes a lot of sense.
Our new car is on order, we have an estimated delivery date of this coming December.
Car For Sale
The tough part will be saying goodbye to our 2002 Ford Focus, it’s been part of our family for coming up to 14 years and in that time has only had just one breakdown. It has to go; we have three growing children and it is a heck of a squeeze to get us all in. With just 54,000 miles, and one owner (me) it has been the best, cheapest and most reliable car I have ever owned. Will the Outlander PHEV be as reliable?