A Walk Through an Affordable Plug-in SUV
Hybrids are all the rage these days. Every car manufacturer is jumping on the bandwagon. One of the more affordable plug-in SUVs is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
What Does PHEV Mean?
PHEV stands for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. It’s a general industry term for any vehicle that plugs in, but also has a normal combustion engine alongside it.
Plug-in hybrids offer a better electric-only range than normal self-charging hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius or Lexus offerings.
The Outlander will run for up to 33 miles in electric silence. Most commutes are less than that range, meaning you can get to and from work on electric power only. When running low on battery power, plug the PHEV in, or the gas engine will charge the battery up as you drive.
You Also Get Four-wheel Drive
Mitsubishi have a long history when it comes to all-wheel drive cars. Starting back in their rally days with the Mitsubishi Lancer, the GSR Evolution packed a punch with trick rear differentials and a powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
This was back in Mitsubishi’s heyday when they were in competition both on and off the World Rally Championship arena. The GSR Evo Lancer packed up to 360 horsepower in its most potent form. These days the most powerful Lancer is fitted with a 2.4-liter engine, with just 168 horsepower.
Thankfully, you get more power in the PHEV, along with four-wheel drive…of sorts. Independent motors power the front and rear wheels. Meaning there’s no need for a propeller shaft linking the engine to the back wheels.
Being electric, this means you can leverage the instant torque the motor provides, getting out of sticky situations off-road, if the need arises.
The PHEV can also “lock” the four-wheel drive. It’s a pseudo-central diff lock, which distributes torque to all four wheels at the same time. This helps give you extra traction, which is especially useful in mud or on snow.
What Range Will the PHEV Get?
You can drive for 33 miles on electric alone. Combined with the gas engine, the theoretical range on a single tank and a full charge is 542 miles. Not bad for a vehicle packing 200 horsepower and a 0-62 mph time of 10.6 seconds.
Unlike many non-plug-in hybrids, the Outlander can be powered by electric-only up to 74 mph. You can also tow up to 3,306 lbs of braked cargo behind you, making the PHEV an ideal tow car.
How Long Does It Take to Charge?
Most all-electric cars have huge batteries in them, which take a long time to charge. The PHEV is a hybrid you can charge quickly.
From a standard home socket, it can be charged to 100 percent in roughly five hours. Compare that to a Tesla and you’d be looking at nearer 24 hours.
If you use a dedicated Level 2 EV charging point that supplies 16 amps, a full charge takes 3.5 hours. A DC fast charger will charge the PHEV to 80 percent in just 25 minutes. Fast chargers are more often available out and about; they charge at a higher, faster rate than your standard homeplug. Typically they provide power at roughly 50 kW as opposed to around 3kW at home.
How Do I Know When It’s Charged?
So you don’t have to sit and wait to know when your PHEV is charged, there’s an app for the car.
It’s relatively straightforward to get the app connected. Once you’re linked, select when you want the PHEV to charge–like at night for cheaper electricity rates. Via the app, you can also preheat or precool the car, monitor its status and unlock it.
Unlike other connected car apps that connect to the mobile network, you connect to the PHEV via Wi-Fi. This can be limiting depending on your range.
The World’s First Hybrid SUV
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was the first plug-in hybrid SUV to market, though it has yet to make it to America (soon, Mitsubishi says).
Since, it’s given Mitsubishi a worldwide profile boost. They have a highly competitive car in a growing segment. Something they’ve been lacking for a number of years.