The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Iain Curry

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV's positive power

MUCH of Australia may not be ready to embrace electric cars, but there's no question the motoring public is interested in our long-term road test, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Work colleagues, family members, friends and random strangers are constantly asking me how the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Electric Hybrid (PHEV) is faring.

How far can it go? Have you been stranded yet? What's the economy? Why does it run silently? How long does it take to charge? Has anyone actually bought one?

I find myself constantly giving updates to people, and, in general, they've been positive reports.

The PHEV performs so much like a "normal" car that I find myself just going about my everyday drives, but I'll admit that I'm constantly thinking about the electric charge.

I'm loathe to feed the four-cylinder petrol engine, you see. I've made it a challenge to get through my motoring week without ever totally draining the electric batteries, as when this happens the petrol motor fires up and sups the fuel.

The only other time the PHEV draws from the petrol motor is when I floor the throttle; the demand for quicker acceleration needing the internal combustion motor to back up the electric.

My 35km drive from home to work is easily covered by electric only (total range with a full charge is about 50km), and when at work I simply plug it in again and at shift's end, travel home electrically too.

I won't lie; the plug-in process is a bit of a fiddle. This is due to me having to charge in more than one place - my garage and the office - meaning the connector plus 15A transformer box travel with me.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV reveals its enviable fuel economy. Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily
The fuel economy of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Iain Curry

This daily five-minute job adds up over a week, whereas I'd only lose maybe five minutes a fortnight filling up a conventional car at the servo.

All this is forgotten when my journeys end with the magic readout of 0.0L/100km. Very satisfying.

I love this figure so much that I'll admit to turning the energy-robbing air conditioning off when charge is low, and I now never floor the throttle.

In that way the car has made me alter my driving style, which is no bad thing if our future involves even more crippling fuel costs.

If I've any grumbles, the PHEV's filler flap hiding the electric charge point doesn't have the best shut line, resulting in a couple of paint chips.

And while the 18-inch wheels that come as part of the Aspire package look great, they're quite low profile tyres (for an SUV) which means a jarring ride on poor road surfaces on the small amount of unsealed road driving I've done.

I'll continue to revel in my typical 0.0L/100km economy, but my next report will include how much I'm actually paying to recharge the batteries each day, and what my quarterly electricity bill is as a result.