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Simon Says: ‘go hybrid’ - Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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Is this the future of motoring? Yes, Minister!

Tauranga MP Hon Simon Bridges is also the Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister of Transport, Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues. Photos: Chris Callinan.

Mitsubishi’s new Outlander PHEV breaks ground with a family-friendly SUV body style, strong environmental friendliness, and a record price point.

Mitsubishi’s new Outlander PHEV breaks ground with a family-friendly SUV body style, strong environmental friendliness, and a record price point.

Bay City Mitsubishi managing director Aaron Chatfield says it’s possible to drive the vehicle at 50km/h through the streets of Tauranga and not use a single drop of petrol.

This is due to the 2.0 litre petrol engine’s connection to a generator, which in turn feeds an under-floor lithium-ion battery pack.

In addition, electric motors sit next to both axles, providing claimed fuel consumption of 1.8L/100km – pretty friendly in anyone’s language.

Work life balance

Minister of Energy and Resources and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges has owned his Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for a month, and says it’s still driving on the original tank of petrol.

“If you put it on the charge every night you hardly ever need to use petrol, especially if most of your driving is around town.

“The on-board computer tells you how much electricity and petrol you have consumed, and using more electricity and less petrol becomes somewhat of an obsession, and is great for the back pocket.”

He reckons that while the initial cost of electric vehicles is slightly higher than a petrol or diesel equivalent, over a vehicle’s entire lifespan the potential savings are significant.

Simon has done a lot of research on electric and petrol/electric hybrid vehicles.

“As Minister of Transport, I have done this because I believe this is the future for New Zealand motoring.

“It is good for the environment, and as a country, getting homegrown, renewable energy into our cars instead of imported energy has to be a good thing.”

Looking to the future

If you were thinking that all this means the days of the local service station are numbered, then think again.

Hewletts Road Z Service Station owner Dave Gillies tells us that Z Energy has installed six rapid-charge electric vehicle charging stations at sites in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch already.

The rapid-charge stations are being supplied by and are available for public use.

“The Tritium fast chargers draw up to 400 volts of electricity and can charge a standard electric vehicle in the time it takes a customer to buy and drink a cup of coffee,” says Dave. Z Sustainability Manager Gerri Ward says that the move was part of Z’s continued commitment to moving from being a part of the climate change problem to the heart of the solution.

“We’re not an oil company, we’re a transport energy company and we’re committed to meeting the needs of our customers, whatever they might be.

“We also want to be at the front of the push towards a cleaner, more sustainable New Zealand and to give Kiwis choices to use more renewable fuels.”

The electric charging stations will cost approximately $5-$10 for the vast majority of users to fill up, and the charge time from empty will be approximately 10-25 minutes, as opposed to up to eight hours for a conventional slow charge. “These stations provide another option to keep our customers moving regardless of the vehicle they drive or the fuel they need,” says Gerri.

The best of both worlds

Unlike a conventional hybrid such as a Prius or Camry, the battery can be charged by either the petrol engine or a wall socket, in about five hours.

Unlike a pure EV like a Nissan Leaf, there is no range anxiety, because when the cells die, the engine acts as a recharger.

There is a single-speed transmission channelling the power.

The paddle-shifters on the wheel add or subtract regenerative braking, meaning
they act as level-one stoppers that come in handy on the open road and when slowing down for corners.

It is also much more energy-efficient than using the brake pedal in city driving.
As previously stated, Mitsubishi claims you can drive upwards of 50km on electric power alone, unless you’re travelling at highway speeds, at which time the engine will fire up and send power to the front axle.

This means that if you, like the majority of compact SUV drivers, typically use the car for inner-city work trips or school runs, you could quite feasibly never see a fuel bowser.

The Verdict

The world of motoring is changing at a rapid pace. Once a fad of the rich and famous or the vehicle choice of the elitist greenie, electric cars and petrol-electric hybrids are now becoming mainstream – and most exciting of all, they have finally reached a price point that will only serve to increase their popularity.

With stunning lines, a futuristic interior, and the promise of low fuel costs, the
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is certainly a great choice if you are looking to shake things up a bit and lead the charge into the future of New Zealand motoring.


• 2.0 litre petrol + two electric motors – 1.8lt/100Km
• Regenerative braking
• Seven airbags
• Five star safety rating
• Leather seats + front seat heaters.
• 7” Navigation, Audio and Hybrid touch screen
• Bluetooth hands free
• Power tailgate
• Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV VRX 4WD RRP 66,990 + ORC
(XLS RRP $59,990 + ORC)
• Bay City Mitsubishi
140 Cameron Road Tauranga.
Phone 0800 802 323

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