Having now arrived in the new decade of 2020, it seems that electric cars and hybrids are becoming more a part of our everyday lives. While there are electric vehicles from many different manufacturers, the Outlander PEHV comes with a different way of getting partially electric and still being able to drive as many miles as we would want.
This new hybrid version of the Outlander has drawn from different books in the Mitsubishi library system. With engineering and design on the electrical side coming from the iMiEV, which is a completely electric vehicle, and other driving enhancements coming from the book on the Lancer Evolution, which was a fine street racing sedan in its own right.
The engineers at Mitsubishi put some thought into the design and function of this new Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, or PEHV.
The design includes three different ways, or drive system modes, the engineers included. First there is an all-electric mode of driving that allows the SUV to be driven completely on electricity, and it will go up to 65 mph in all electric mode. Mitsubishi claims a 22 mile range on a full charge, but we were regularly getting 25. I was easily able to make the short 16-mile commute to work and home on electric power only.
The second drive system is called the Series Hybrid Mode. This is where the gasoline engine in the Outlander actually runs a generator that will feed electricity to the electric motors — and if there is enough extra power it will recharge the battery.
The third drive system is called the Parallel Hybrid Mode. It will use the gasoline-powered, 2.0-liter engine to power the front wheels along with the two individual electric motors adding additional power to all four wheels if needed. This system is set up in what Mitsubishi refers to as S-AWC, a technology that came from the Lancer Evolution that sends power or will brake whichever wheel requires it. This system uses the stability control, anti-lock braking control, traction control and anti-YAW control to accomplish this in milliseconds.
This is all accomplished seamlessly through the use of the electric motors. We never once noticed or sensed any of this happening. Using this driving mode will also attempt to recharge the batteries through the use of the generator, if there is enough power and it economically makes sense to do so.
Parallel Hybrid Mode was used mostly on the long-haul drive. It made much more sense to use this mode on a quick trip to Salt Lake for dinner where it became a game to see how we could keep the batteries charged and use more electric power than the gasoline engine.
We averaged just over 28 miles per gallon for our week with the Outlander PEHV, which by all rights may seem a little low but that doesn’t count the 75-plus miles we traveled on electricity charged from our home or the onboard generator.
Of course, we had to try the Outlander as it was really meant to work in everyday short commute — or mom running around town with the kids. By plugging in and charging overnight, even on just a 120 outlet, it took just under 8 hours to get a full charge, which showed us we had 27 miles of electric power. By installing a 220 quick-charge station in your home, that charging time would drop considerably.
On Saturday, we made two trips from Springville to Spanish Fork and never once had to run the engine, netting us a great 3.3 miles per kilowatt hour of charging. Since our electricity costs us 10 cents per kilowatt hour, that was basically just over 3 cents per mile, where had we used gas it would have been right around 12.5 cents per mile.
Throughout the week we found it was easy to get over 100 mpg with the PEHV if we paid attention to our driving and used the vehicle as it was meant to be used. This included using the onboard apps that allowed us to precondition the SUV in the morning, buy running the heat using electricity from our home. This was accomplished by using the new Mitsubishi app from our smartphones.
It is a different thought process and really a different lifestyle to have the PEHV perform as it was designed to do. There are those that will not want the hassle of setting times and thinking ahead, as we all know it is way easier to just run out jump in the car and get to the destination. However, the future is coming — electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming more prevalent. We are all going to have to come up with a different mindset.
The Outlander we drove came completely loaded with all the comfort and features we would have expected from the top of the line that Mitsubishi has to offer. From the stitched leather seats to the new 8-inch touch screen, it made the everyday drive very enjoyable.
It was also completely cooked on the safety side with blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive headlights, rain sensing wipers and adaptive cruise control.
Going electric can be easily accomplished if the daily drive comes in around 30 miles, and works even better if there is a charge point near the office.
Base price: $41,495
Price as driven: $43,400