MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER PHEV AUSTRALIA
Mitsubishi has launched its (and Australia's) first-ever plug-in hybrid SUV. The Outlander PHEV is now available to order from a retail price of $47,490 - $12,500 less than the only other plug-in on the market, Holden's Volt.
The up-spec Outlander PHEV Aspire is also available at a list price of $52,490. At those prices, the Outlander PHEV is the cheapest plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in the Australian market.
And Mitsubishi Australia hopes it will appeal to more than just tech-savvy early adopters and the environmentally-conscious.
Besides a green credential, its SUV packaging and capable drivetrain offers a combination of space, practicality, driveability and efficiency.
Able to be driven exclusively under electric power for around 52km yet having the security of a range-extending petrol engine, the Outlander PHEV is expected to resonate with families wanting to lessen a reliance on petrol.
The 12kW/h 300V battery costs between $3.00 and $3.60 to fully charge (which takes roughly five hours).
Mitsubishi says that for the majority of commuters, the 52km EV range would be enough to see them never having to resort to petrol power.
If Mitsubishi can find enough bowser-weary customers willing to spend the extra dosh on its plug-in hybrid, the Outlander PHEV could become the most successful green car in this country yet.
Driving the Outlander PHEV is a pair of electric motors - one for each axle - and a petrol engine, which also runs a generator to top up the battery.
Interestingly, the Outlander has no gearbox.
Instead, drive from the motors and engine are taken to all four wheels via a single-ratio transaxle, with the front featuring a clutch to switch drive between the electric motor and the petrol engine.
How does it deal with a petrol engine when it only has one gear? Well, the electric motors supply drive; the petrol engine chimes in only when an extra burst of acceleration is called for or when under load (like going up a hill, or overtaking).
Otherwise, its primary function is to drive the generator to keep the batteries charged.
As for power, each electric motor outputs 60kW while the 2.0 litre petrol inline four develops 87kW. Torque is listed at 137Nm for the front motor, 195Nm for the rear motor and 186Nm for the petrol engine.
It all adds up to an ADR-tested average fuel economy of 1.9 l/100km, and CO2 emissions of 44 g/km.
Drive less than 52km each day and you could conceivably use no fuel at all, though buyers will need to have a 15-amp wall outlet to charge the PHEV at home.
The ADR result is 0.7 l/100km higher than the Holden Volt's claimed fuel efficiency, but the Outlander is cheaper, bigger and arguably more useful. It's also heavier by 90kg, weighing in at 1810kg.
And unlike the Volt, the Outlander is also able to tow up to 1500kg.
What it can't do, is carry seven people. Though the battery pack is slung under the middle of the car rather than the boot floor, the rear electric motor and the hardware that controls it take up the space that would otherwise be used by the Outlander's third-row seat.
Standard equipment levels are good though.
Keyless entry and ignition, sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio, a USB audio input, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers and 18-inch alloys are present across the range, and the base PHEV's specification roughly aligns with the Outlander LS 2WD.
The Outlander PHEV Aspire brings a sunroof, extra chrome on the exterior, a powered tailgate, radar cruise control, a forward collision alert system and leather upholstery.
The Aspire also boasts compatibility with a smartphone app that can control the car's charge state remotely, as well as start the climate control to cool down or warm up the cabin before you get in it.
With the rear seats folded, both variants have 888 litres of luggage space.
The PHEV is covered by Mitsubishi's five year/100,000km warranty, which also extends to the battery pack.
Capped price servicing also applies to the Outlander PHEV, with the first costing $360 and the subsequent three each costing $470 - roughly inbetween the service costs of the petrol Outlander and diesel Outlander ranges.
- 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - $47,490
- 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Aspire - $52,490