The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, is highly efficient, but the driving range achievable can be maximised with a few simple steps. The potential driving range is available to view through a display on the dashboard or MMCS screen, and is constantly adjusted based on a number of factors that influence the energy usage of the vehicle. As with a conventional car, the potential range is very much depended on the way the car is driven and the ambient conditions. The onboard computer also takes into account the previous journey. If the car was driven vigorously or gently, then it will assume that the following journey may also be similar, and adjust the estimated range accordingly. The total estimated EV range displayed when the car is started after a full charge can therefore vary each time.
Power consumption in range is also very dependent on driving style. Excess speed will use more energy, so better range can be achieved by moderating acceleration, braking and speed. A road route with long steeping climbs or hills will use more power, but this can be mitigated by the use of regenerative braking which captures energy when the accelerator is released to charge the battery, and is especially effective when going down steep hills. Moving the selector lever from D to B allows the driver to select the level of regenerative braking manually by using the paddle shift levers around the steering wheel. Holding the right paddle for two seconds will return the vehicle to the D setting.
There are six levels of regenerative braking strength available to suit the driving conditions. The range may also be affected by the ambient temperature. In particular, extreme cold; this can affect the efficiency of the traction battery, as can the use of items such as heating and air-conditioning, both of which use electric power from the main traction battery to operate. Air-conditioning systems are particularly energy-hungry, so excessive use will consume more power. It is good practice to preheat or precool the car while plugged in before the journey to reduce the impact on the range.
The use of heated seats and heated steering wheel functions rather than the main heating system will also help preserve battery power. Both are far more efficient than heating the whole cabin for a single passenger. In addition to these measures, Eco mode is also useful to conserve energy and improve the overall range. It reduces the power allocated to the heating and air-conditioning units as well as reducing the power available at the throttle to provide a longer range and encourage gentle driving.
Finally, battery save mode preserves the remaining drive battery power for use in appropriate driving environments such as towns and cities. And at the end of every trip, your Eco driving can be measured and displayed as a series of green leaves. The more leaves you receive, the better your driving style.