MITSU’S PLUG-IN OUTLANDER: The Mitsubishi plug-in Outlander PHEV has an claimed fuel consumption of 1.9 litres/100km and can travel up to 50km on battery power. Image: Mitsubishi
CIRENCESTER, England – In October 2014, Wheels24 reported on Roz Drinkwater (50), a mum-of-two from Christchurch, England, who enjoys free motoring, thanks to the solar panels on her home also recharging her hybrid Mitsubishi plug-in Outlander PHEV.
The Outlander PHEV uses a unique energy recovery system to harvest electricity that would otherwise be lost. The hybrid, Mitsubishi says, has a claimed overall fuel consumption of 1.9 litres/100km with emissions of 44g/km.
The automaker reports that during 160km of mixed driving, as much as 15kW/h of otherwise wasted energy is harvested and put back into the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery.
Mitsubishi said: "This means that, in a year of driving (16 000km), a single Outlander plug-in could create enough electricity to keep on the lights and appliances in 150 suburban homes for a day – OFGEM* figures put average daily electricity use in a UK home at around 10kW/hr."
The recovery of kinetic energy is maximised by the car using what the automaker claims is a unique paddle-shift system that selects from five precise levels of regenerative braking.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Drivers control when and where kinetic energy is harvested significantly increases the mix of battery power in the vehicle’s hybrid drive-train. The automaker comments: "Replenishing the battery in this way extends the petrol-free driving range and offsets the need for power that would otherwise be drawn from a power-grid charging infrastructure."
The Outlander plug-in accurately displays harvested energy and use while paddle-shifts enable the driver to optimise the level of regenerative braking.
Steep descents and motorway speeds allow for stronger regenerative braking using level five. Levels two, three and four provide a productive level of regeneration in urban areas. Level one provides a lighter but still beneficial level of energy recovery.
PLUG-IN CAR GRANT
The Outlander plug-in attracts zero vehicle excise duty in the UK and is exempt from the London anti-pollution charge. It also qualifies for the UK's R86 000 plug-in car grant.
For company-car drivers the Outlander attracts only 5% benefit-in-kind tax, saving the equivalent of R141 390 in personal tax over three years compared to a similar normal 4x4 SUV.
The family-sized SUV has both battery and petrol power but the Outlander PHEV can travel 50km on battery power.
* Office of Gas and Electricity Markets - Regulates the electricity and gas markets in the UK.