Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Long-Term Review

OCT 13 2014 BY MARK KANE 32

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in Australia without CHAdeMO inlet

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in Australia without CHAdeMO inlet

CarAdvice announced early in September that it’s now conducting a long-term review of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which has been available in Australia since March from $47,490 AUD ($41,650 USD).

The CarAdvice team takes the flagship Aspire version, which costs $52,490 AUD ($46,000 USD), for a long-trm test over the next six months.

The Aspire is well equipped:

“the Aspire comes packed with equipment, including leather seats, a sunroof, satellite navigation, heated seats, an electronic tail-gate, keyless entry with push-button start, forward collision warning and auto-braking, radar cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels and a reverse-view camera with rear parking sensors.”

However, we found that there is no CHAdeMO inlet in Australia like in Japan or Europe. Without a decent network of fast chargers, it would be useless anyway.

At 15-amp it will take up to five hours to recharge the 12 kWh battery pack in Australia.

Update (Nov 11 – via InsideEVs community member Just_Chris):  Chris reports that the maximum current draw from the Outlander (via Mitsu) is 9.3A, so while a 15A plug is required/fitted to the charging cable, it would be fine to utilize a 15A to 10A converter for standard receptacles.  Closeby, Mitsu New Zealand have fitted their charging cables with a 10A plug, and Mitsubishi Australia may follow at some point as well in the future.

First observations from CarAdvice are positive and as it turns out 40-50 km of all-electric range is possible:

“Having said that, my initial impressions during the 77-kilometre (one-way) commute I endure from the lower Blue Mountains to North Sydney every morning have been largely positive.”

“For the first 40-50km, the battery takes care of propulsion, while the petrol engine is ready to fire up at a moment’s notice. It does so under harder acceleration, or when the batteries run out of juice. The general result is that my commute is between 60 and 75 per cent emissions-free driving, and it gets better the more traffic I encounter due to the effectiveness of the regenerative braking system. I’ve been noticing a combined consumption figure of between 3.8 and 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the car’s instrument display, which has been as low as 2.1L during a particularly treacherous run.”

“That is truly awe-inspiring for a family-friendly SUV that weighs 1810kg without my extra mass added.”

Interesting is that “everyone” in the office of CarAdvice wanted to take a drive in the Outlander PHEV and quickly the SUV covered more than 3,000 km in just 30 days.

However, the initial lack of a 15-amp outlet at the CarAdvice garage meant that a big chunk of that mileage was in hybrid mode.

“the fuel use average we’ve seen is considerably higher than its claimed 1.9 litres per 100 kilometres – over five fill-ups, we saw 6.2 litres per 100km, which is still thoroughly impressive. Several staff members have taken the PHEV home to challenge its electric range since the 15-amp plug was installed, and I plan to share the car between some of our writers who live closer to the office than I do to see whether it’s a truly viable EV for family buyers.”

CarAdvice plans to release monthly updates on the test. The first from six ends over 6-liters per 100 km (62 miles).

“Date acquired: August 2014
Odometer reading: 4822km (upon picking the car up); 7939km at end of month one
Travel this month: 3117km
Consumption this month: 6.2L/100km”

Categories: Mitsubishi, Test Drives


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32 Comments on "Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Long-Term Review"

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I’ve always hoped Mitsubishi would find it’s way in the American market, and finally become a competitor to it’s Japanese rivals. Being a major heavy industry player in Japan and the world – you would think they could figure out the “code” and actually rise above the struggling point they fall into year after year in the USA. This Outlander was set to be a big winner in this market. Strangely, Americans barely wince at spending $50,000+ on a SUV/CUV these days. Americans strangely just love big station wagons that get awful gas mileage ( go figure ) – and labeling them “sport” or “utility” by marketers has been a very large part of their success here. Sadly, Mitsu stumbles again! This vehicle seems to be sold everywhere in the world BUT America, and we would be it’s largest market, to be sure! On the good side, Mitsu has field-tested this big CUV and in doing so has flushed out some flaws and recalls have made it surely a better product once introduced into North America. That said, it’s no longer new, and with it’s limited electric range less than that of a Chevrolet Volt, it will be entering our… Read more »

* lack of a third row of seating at this size/price category will cost a significant amount of sales.

Don’t worry.
You should get the Hyundai Sonata PHEV and the Kia Optima (new model) too in 2015:

‘A report from R&D vice chairman at Hyundai Motor Group, Yang Woong-Chul, said on October 7 that the plug-in hybrid models of Sonata and next-gen Kia K5 (Optima for overseas markets), are scheduled to be released next year.

He held a press meeting after attending the 2014 R&D Idea Festival held at Hyundai-Kia Motor’s Namyang Research Center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, and also said that both cars will use local parts only.

Yang said, “We will roll out a plug-in hybrid model of Sonata and K5 next year. Since we will use locally made engines, inverters and batteries, we expect them to have strong price competitiveness.”

“the fuel use average we’ve seen is considerably higher than its claimed 1.9 litres per 100 kilometres – over five fill-ups, we saw 6.2 litres per 100km”

This is HIGHLY irritating. They take a car that has a 50 km AER, and they give it to a person with a 154 km round-trip commute in a country (Australia)where the average commute is 38 km round trip. This when Mitsubishi ADMITTED and ADVERTISED That the Outlander Diesel would be a better fit for long commuters.

So in other words, they PURPOSEFULLY set the Outlander PHEV up for failure. Why not give the car to a person with a fairly typical Australian commute? Like 19km one way? Groundbreaking thought!

What next? Will they give a person who lives on an off-shore Oil platform a car and then complain that it didn’t live up to expectations driving on water? Maybe give a 2 seater coupe to a family of 6? Or an inner-city Sydney resident a Semi Truck?

The review comes off fairly positive once you factor in the idea that they did EVERYTHING they possibly could to make the car fail.

+1. I think the test was designed by BEV supporters, trying to paint a negative picture of the PHEV.

Much more likely petrol heads.

This brief review report actually demonstrates a structural weakness with PHEVs as opposed to BEVs and EREVs.

There is less of incentive to use the electric mode in general, and to charge the car regularly in particular.

Yes, you’ll save money if you remember to plug it in, but each nightly decision is worth perhaps a couple of bucks if that. One might go, just like those Aussies, “Oh well, it’s a hybrid anyway so it won’t consume too much gas”.

If on top of it all, the car doesn’t come with a trickle-charger that can work off of the plain-vanilla household outlet (which seems to be the case with Outlander and other 220/240V countries), the pain threshold might be high enough so that people just don’t bother installing a dedicated circuit for it.

Our next-door neighbors have had a PiP for a while. After seeing it often plugged in early on, nowadays I never see it charging (it is parked outdoors in their yard, within an easy electrical reach of the garage). Given that its EV range is so limited, it is doubtful that they get it sufficiently charged elsewhere.

Ok, I seem to have misread this. They do seem motivated to use the EV mode in this case. But still, couldn’t Mitsu provide a trickle-charger that works with a 10A circuit or whatever is the typical circuit rating? With 12 KWh you’ll still easily charge to full most nights.

It seems most strange that Mitsubishi has chosen to fit a 15A plug on the 10A EVSE. (the data plate on the EVSE shows that it’s rated as 10A. Firstly, with each of the three dealers I’ve visited to discuss the Outlander PHEV, all have used a simple short 15A-10A adapter electrical lead. Secondly, the Holden Volt uses a 10A EVSE with a 10A plug. Holden seems to have had no problems with home charging using the standard general purpose power outlet. Why did Mitsubishi use a 15A plug, that just becomes an additional ownership barrier?

Assaf: what you see as “weakness” I see as “Strength” if the people forget to plug in their EV, it’s dead. If they forget to plug in their PHEV it still works. I think most people who buy a PHEV will plug it in IF they’re buying it for “the right” reasons. I know in the UK business owners get a benefit in kind incentive and thus they’re really just buying the PHEV as a subsidized hybrid. It also doesn’t work if it is an employer who buys this for their employees UNLESS the employer structures it correctly. We saw this with the Volt where employers bought the Volts, paid for gas but not electricity, so Employee Volt owners just used the gas! but I think most people would remember to plug it in, because then they NEVER HAVE TO GO TO A STINKY GAS STATION AGAIN! I calculated it out and I could save $1500-2000 per year in gas with the Outlander IF (big if) it performs. regardless: you can’t really fix stupid. If people are dumb enough to buy this over a Diesel Outlander and then use the PHEV as a pure hybrid… well at least they’re buying… Read more »

Don’t just assume things. I have an 80 mile BEV but rarely charge at home, as I charge at work. Your next door neighbor may be doing the same.
Or, he may be one of those who care more for the green HOV sticker than anything else.

I think the 6.2 l/100km is pretty good considering that it was driven 100km a day with limited access to a charger. I will be really interested to see what happens when they can charge at work and start to use it on the shorter commutes.

Also worth mentioning for those who are in Australia, 15A plugs are not the unicorn of the power world, your AC and oven probably both use them. They are also used at a lot of camp sites to provide power for caravans. Most of the houses that I have seen have their power board / fuse box outside so a 15A plug would not cost a lot to have installed. If you intend to charge the car outside I would recommend getting the plug changed on the charger to a weather proof one with a screw on case (it screws over the plug onto the plug socket) so you can charge in the rain, the electrician who puts in the plug would be able to supply and change the plug for you. God only knows why mitsi didn’t put a weather proof 15A plug on the end of the charger.

PS campsite owners of Australia you are now the proud owners of the largest network of charge points in Australia.

as many know, I’m salivating over the Outlander PHEV. But I learned distressing news about it (besides that it seems to be never coming here)

Evidently, Mitsubishi screwed up its winter performance big time. Finnish/Swedish owners have stated that the ICE comes on all winter long no matter what, and the Outlander runs in Hybrid and not EV mode, even with a full charge. Some of them were then getting as bad as 10-12 L per 100km. (that’s only like 19mpg)

I hope they fix this major bug before the US release.

’44 Outlander PHEVs have been running on Finnish roads for the past two months. In that time the winter functionality of Outlander PHEV has been put to test by the new owners. And looking at the Mitsubishi owners club forums, they are not thrilled. It seems that the Outlander PHEV employs similar system for cabin heating as Chevrolet Volts ERDTT, but with much worse mileage and longer ICE burns than Volt. Average uses are seeing their EV+gas combined mpg in 40mpg to 20mpg range which would be from similar comsumption of Diesel version to far less. For a few mile trips the mpg can dip as low as 15mpg and gas/EV miles driven have been 60/40 – even on trips shorter than the cars EV distance. Discussions with the importer/manufacturer has revealed that this is “by design” and the apparent reason for this is that the manufacturer wan’t to ensure that if and when the engine is needed in cold weather it should be warm, so they keep it warm by utilizing it constantly and also provide the heating to cabin. Some Outlander PHEV owners are now demanding their money back due to this feature. In similar conditions my Chevrolet… Read more »
“Mitsubishi have never claimed that it performs better than their diesel under all circumstances, and cold weather punishes batteries, that is just a fact of life.” I understand that Dave. It’s one reason why I’ve lamented the short AER in the Outlander to begin with, because that 25 mile AER quickly drops to 16-19 in winter… whereas a 40 mile AER would only drop to 25-30 miles or so which is sufficient for most American’s daily commute. But this is not a battery punishment issue, it’s a programming glitch. There is no reason for the ICE to do 100% of the work when temps fall below 0C/32F, but that’s what’s happening. Owners are finding that they’re getting in their cars which show 40 km AER (down from a typical winter AER of 50km). Then they go outside and the display immediately goes to “—” and the ICE does ALL of the work. When they get to their destination? Still 40 km AER remain. The ICE is completely over-riding the EV. GM realized this problem and thus owners can choose when the ICE kicks in, either 15 or 25 degrees off the top of my head. But even when the Volt… Read more »

Fair enough.
Glitch it is.
Between that and the battery issues Mitsubishi has had more than its share.

That is the difference between PHEV and EREV (Volt). =)

Finally, people are seeing the difference even though the designs are similar.

This is hardly a generic flaw with PHEVs.
It is simply a flawed set up by Mitsubishi.

I think there are physical limits to pushing a large SUV, even an CUV, with batteries alone. Tesla has overcome it with gobs of batteries (and a high price) that Mitsubishi can’t/won’t replicate … especially since they have some motivation to keep selling ICE vehicles (and Tesla does not). So, I empathize with those, like JRMW, who want a larger vehicle with a decent all electric range, good storage, and a reasonable price. I too would like one. Incidentally, the Cmax Energi has already shown some of these limitations in a yet smaller PHEV with shorter EV range, and though it has sold ok, it is by no means the “hit” many of us here in the plug-in community would like because the price is a bit higher and it comes with some other compromises (like batteries intruding in upon the trunk). And then there’s the point Assaf has made: A PHEV with a short EV range may turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth to plug in to save a buck. Because of the added initial costs and the lazy plug effect, I’d guess that both a TCO analysis and total carbon impact would only show a… Read more »

‘I think there are physical limits to pushing a large SUV, even an CUV, with batteries alone.’

I have no idea how you get that from a specific programming choice for cold weather for this car.
The Volt works fine in cold weather, and whilst it has a somewhat larger battery, is very conservative in how much of it it uses, and is hardly a featherweight.

‘A PHEV with a short EV range may turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth to plug in to save a buck.’

The Volt has a somewhat longer range than the Mitsubishi, but 20 miles or so is hardly nothing, and the history of the Volt says that is is plugged in more, not less, than the Leaf, as the shorter AER makes people try to take more advantage of opportunity charging.

I was not really commenting on the programming “glitch” directly (which I agree – they should give the driver control), except to say, if they allowed the driver to force EV mode in cold winter – heating a big car – the EV only range would be even more pathetic. 20 Miles is in good conditions, in cold, with heat, you might be lucky to get 10. My guess is that Mitsubishi engineers didn’t think that would be a good compromise to give drivers, so just let the engine run more. Or, who knows, they just didn’t design it as well as the Volt. My main point is: to try and replicate an SUV form as a BEVs and PHEVs is like trying to fly a Helium balloon with Neon. It will technically work (Ne is still lighter than air), but the compromises to use it seem hardly worth it. We should be trying to downsize a little – if we can. Big cars will always be inefficient relative to smaller ones, no matter what “fuel” is driving it. As far as the Volt goes, its EV range is long enough that, even in winter, you have a reasonable daily… Read more »

There is not one single ideal AER, and it is particularly incorrect to generalise from the average US commute to the average European, and presumably Japanese, commute.

Presumably the next generation of batteries should give a much more substantial AER, at least as an option.

Hopefully they sort these out before US launch. This is something other car makers can learn from Tesla – to do software upgrades over the air, or at least at dealerships.

I recall from the UK promotion video, that Outlander has modes to choose gas or electric. Seems that has a glitch.

It’s always easy to be critical of other people’s work. Nevertheless, it’s disappointing that the charging capabilities of the car are not better described. There is no mention of the 3.3kW charging capability that can be exploited by an after market product or by using public charging infrastructure. It seems a very Sydney perspective where they are impoverished with few public charging stations (very much more in Melbourne which helps make destination charging quite useful).

Caradvice might have travelled to the ChargePoint head office to demonstrate the benefits, which is not far from where it recorded part of the video.

Journalists might take a greater role in leading and educating the public on charging infrastructure and the differences between EVs.

Most outdoor weatherproof sockets are 15amps in OZ. There are legal adapters for 10amps to 15amps connections (have RCD) used by caravaners and tradesmen. It took time for both users and media to work that out.

By using a 15amp adapter, Mitsu felt safe to max out what a 10amp would handle, So the Outlander will charge much faster than a usual trickle charge. The decision seems to have been correct, just needed a ‘pointer’ to a legal adapter.

I am not sure if I have fully understood your post.

The legal 10 to 15A converters with an RCD are designed to only allow up to 10A to flow before tripping. The idea being that if you want to run the contents of your caravan at below 10A that you should be able to use a 10A plug socket even though your caravan has a 15 A plug. I assume that the outlander is likely to draw 13A (it might not but I bet it does) so your RCD should trip as soon as you start to charge.

The circuits in your house are probably rated to take more than 15A so it should just be a matter of an electrician changing a plug socket and checking the wiring. If not your fuse board is probably outside anyway so I would just pay for the 15A plug. There is no legal way of drawing more than 10A from a 10A plug socket.

Does the Australian Outback have the option of variable charge rates? Or are you forced to charge at 15 amps all the time (which I’m gleening is considered a HIGHPOWER powerpoint in Australia)?

I think the holden VOLTEC which came with the holden Volt was 6 amperes standard, and 10 amperes high power, so that, using the standard ‘travel charger’ included with the volt, it would work with any standard Aussie powerpoint.

From the video it looks like it has the same charge cable as the Leaf with a different sticker on the front and slightly fewer LED’s. The Leaf charges at 13A. I am not sure what the Mitsi charges at and I am somewhat confused by the information provided but all the specs on the web and all the reviews say it requires a 15A plug (the next up from a 10A plug in Australia). They also say it takes 5hrs to charge the 12 kWh battery which would be a constant charge rate of 2.4 kW or 10A @ 240V. Obviously it is not normal to charge a battery at a constant rate so I guess that it charges at over 10A during the mid-range charging. I have read in some places that the on-board charger is 3.3 kW which is 13.75A @ 240V which makes sense but if that’s the case it should charge the battery in less than 4 hrs not 5 hrs. I haven’t seen or heard of any way of changing the charge rate of the Outlander. The RCD’s in the fuse box are generally 16A or 32A in Australia with a typical house having… Read more »

I’m having difficulty negotiating the Aussie vernacular: IS an RCD a resetable circuit disconnect?

Google defines – A residual-current device (RCD), or residual-current circuit breaker (RCCB) is an electrical wiring device that disconnects a circuit whenever it detects that the electric current is not balanced between the energized conductor and the return neutral conductor. (i.e. they are earth leakage devices)

Re-reading my post(s) I have used the term totally incorrectly (sorry), which is probably the source of the confusion. RCD’s (in my limited knowledge and experience) have a maximum current rating and trip when that rating is exceeded (behaving in this instance as a fuse) once the offending high current device is removed from the plug socket the RCD can be reset. So the RCD part of the device will not be the thing that trips but rather the fuse part of the device.

PS I saw 2 Outlander plugins’ in the wild today, in Melbourne that is a pretty amazing thing. I see a Leaf about once a month. There certainly appear to be more Outlanders than Leaf’s around.