Endurance test: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - reader questions

Every week there is a new article here in the blog about our current long-term test vehicle. Of the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid was the first SUV to hit the road as a plug-in hybrid. The small Japanese automobile manufacturer Mitsubishi has turned the big Fords, VWs, Mercedes, GMs, BMWs and Toyotas of this world a long nose. Who would have thought that 10 years ago? Mitsubishi as the engine of innovation and the “early bird” of electrification in the automobile.

Equipping an SUV with two electric motors, a petrol engine and a power generator and then placing a large 12 kWh battery deep between the axles - nobody had tried that before. Many emails from readers show that Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV arouses great interest and asks many questions.

Answers to reader questions about the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid as a towing vehicle

Question: The Outlander as PHEV can pull 1.5 tons of trailer load. How does a caravan on the hook of the Outlander PHEV affect volume and consumption? There is currently not much concrete on the Internet.

According to Radio Yerevan, I would like to answer: It depends. If the drive to the next campsite is only 40 kilometers away, I would not worry. The Outlander PHEV probably doesn't manage this route with a 1.5 ton trailer purely electrically - even if it ideally comes over 50 kilometers. But as long as the 12 kWh battery is charged, pulling a trailer with the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid should turn out to be a quiet task.

After the battery is empty, however, it gets louder. Due to the system, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV can only connect the petrol engine with its 121 PS directly from about Tempo 65 directly to the axle. Then the gasoline engine comes in its most efficient area. Between 65 and Tempo 120 works the gasoline engine, he acts directly on the axle, quiet and unobtrusive. Unlike other hybrid vehicles can then be quite properly accelerate, without the engine to howl and get those rubber band effect of a continuously variable transmission.

We have not yet driven a trailer at the PHEV ourselves, but the topic is on the “to do list”. In particular, the question of pulling power and the possible battery range with and without a trailer.

As I said: a trip to the hardware store, the local building yard and a simple trailer at the rear? No thing. Not even across country. With the residential trailer across the Alps? Tel.

Of course it is PHEV Outlander as an SUV just right for this job. But: Especially in the mountains and overland, if you are not always faster than 65 km / h, the gasoline engine will have to provide electricity. For a lot of electricity. And you will hear that and you will see it in the consumption.

We will definitely go into this point again! Promised!

Until then, my answer would be: Once a year, a longer route with a trailer? That's OK. But you should keep in mind that the plug-in hybrid Outlander is primarily designed for short trips. For commuting to work, for electric driving from home to the next supermarket. The real system advantage of the PHEV can only be used by those who really use the battery technology of the PHEV. Not just as a “buffer battery” in everyday hybrid life, no - the Outlander PHEV is a plug-in hybrid and that means: You should use the charging function!


Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid as an athlete with three hearts

Question: Do all engines perform at the same time? Can you use the 80 + 80 + 120 PS at once?

A typical “men's topic” 🙂 and probably came up at the regulars' table over a delicious cold hop bowl. The short answer is yes and no. So, do the neighbors in the Porsche long away from the traffic lights? Rather not. This is due to the system structure of the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid. The front electric motor acts directly on the front axle, the rear electric motor on the rear axle. Both produce a maximum of 60 kW each. The rear electric motor, however, has more “power”, it has 195 Nm of torque, the front one over 137 Nm.

The battery of the Outlander PHEV can only provide 60 kW of power itself. As a top performance. If you get more power from the two electric motors, the necessary difference is provided by the gasoline engine and its generator.

This, in turn, is only possible if the petrol engine is not yet acting on the axle, i.e. below 65 km / h, and is less sensible from the point of view of efficiency. The gasoline engine is the weak point in the Outlander PHEV. The efficiency of a petrol engine is less than 30%. In other words, a good 70% of the energy of gasoline is lost in waste heat and other power guzzlers (frictional resistance etc.). The efficiency of an electric motor is around 90%, and the braking energy is also fed back by a generator. At least partially and in terms of performance, around 80% of the efficiency.

What I'm getting at: The Outlander PHEV's drive system is quite complex. The interaction of the energy sources and the motors is a little more complex. The goal: Maximum efficiency in everyday commuting when using the charging technology. Yes - when the batteries are full, the PHEV pulls out of the starting blocks properly. This is simply due to the fact that an electric motor already provides its power from zero speed and so “theoretically” 332 Nm are available from the first rotation. But that's really pure theory. In practice, it silently pushes the PHEV forward, but if you fully demand the two e-motors, you can start the gasoline engine so that it supplies the “delta” of the missing amount of energy to the drive train. That may be “sporty”, but from a consumption perspective it is completely nonsensical.

From a Tempo of 65 - theoretically - all three engines work directly on the propulsion. The petrol engine was switched to the front axle via the clutch, the front e-motor and the rear e-motor are in use. Whoever accelerates sensitively now accelerates with the power of “three hearts”. However, whoever gives “full throttle” challenges the two electric motors and they can only deliver “full power” if the gasoline engine is also working as a “power generator”. Therefore, the PHEV will uncouple the gasoline engine again, the engine revs up and produces electricity and the two electric motors push the Outlander PHEV forward.

You can do it. You don't have to. 

The Outlander PHEV has been designed with an extensive and very modern powertrain to offer the safety, comfort and space of an SUV - without consuming it. As long as you understand and use the idea of ​​the plug-in!


How it feels with the “Max-Acceleration” can be seen in this video:

You can see it quite well: the electric motor revs up completely and produces electricity so that the electric motors get enough “juice”. It is then no longer efficient! If we think of the power loss of the gasoline engine, then converting gasoline into electricity is the less sensible option. It is better to let the gasoline engine act directly on the axle from 65 km / h and let the PHEV control the engines.



In the next week we will dedicate ourselves to the topic of “bi-directional charging” and we will also offer an extensive photo shoot of the PHEV. 

Until then! 



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