By Paul Clarke
Model/Engine size: Mitsubishi Outlander GX4hs 2.0 PHEV Auto
Fuel: Petrol-Electric Plug-in Hybrid
Fuel economy combined: 156.9 mpg
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) promises economy of 156.9mpg and a very low 7% Benefit in Kind tax rating for company car drivers – so can it save you money?
As our earlier reports have shown, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) can provide very impressive fuel economy as well as electric-only running for 20 miles or so, even at motorway speeds. It also costs roughly the same to buy as the equivalent diesel-powered Outlander.
These factors make the car quite an attractive option from a cost perspective. In this latest update we’ll look at this topic in more detail.
With an official range of 32 miles in EV mode and a CO2 rating of 42g/km, the Outlander PHEV qualifies as a Category 2 vehicle within the government’s Plug-in Car Grant scheme. It comfortably fits within the qualification thresholds, which demand an electric range of 10 to 69 miles, a CO2 rating under 50g/km, and a purchase price including options below £60,000.
The grant contributes £2,500 to the cost of the car, which is claimed on the buyer’s behalf by the manufacturer.
The Outlander PHEV’s CO2 rating also means it falls within Band A for vehicle tax purposes, meaning it is currently zero-rated for both showroom tax and annual road tax purposes.
The car also qualifies for exemption from the London Congestion Charge, under the Ultra Low Emissions Discount (ULED) scheme. Owners can pay an annual £10 fee to register their car and avoid the £11.50 daily charge for driving into the centre of the capital.
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Courtesy of its 42g/km CO2 rating, the Outlander PHEV benefits from a very low 7% BIK rating for tax purposes. Company car users pay tax monthly at their top PAYE rate on the P11D price of the car, multiplied by the applicable BIK percentage.
For the entry-level Outlander PHEV GX3h, with a P11D price of £34,799, a 20% taxpayer will be charged only £40.60 per month, while the cost for a higher-rate taxpayer will be £81.20. By comparison, the BIK rate for a diesel-powered Outlander GX3 is 27%, yielding payments of £126.67 at the basic rate and £253.34 at the higher rate.
For higher-specification models, the savings made by opting for the PHEV are correspondingly more. A 40% taxpayer will save about £240 per month in tax by opting for the plug-in edition over the diesel at the GX4 trim level.
Note that the taxable price of the car is assessed before the £2,500 contribution of the Plug-in Car Grant.
Other savings for company car purchases include a 100% capital allowance in year one, setting the cost of the car directly against profits and effectively reducing the outlay by 20%.
The lower BIK rate applied to the plug-in Outlander also reduces the Class 1A National Insurance Contributions payable by the employer when it provides staff with company cars.
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As we found in earlier reports, journeys can result in economy of mid to high 50s in miles per gallon. It’s easy to work out the rough cost of petrol from your own pattern of long distance driving. But what about all those short-range journeys on electricity alone? What will they cost, and how will that compare with a petrol or diesel alternative?
We can jot some figures on the back of an envelope and arrive at some ballpark figures. As we noted in Report 4, the worst-case electric-only range of the Outlander PHEV, in the depths of winter where electric cars are least efficient, is about 18 miles.
The Outlander’s battery is rated at 12kWh, but it never runs fully flat to protect its own long-term health. According to Mitsubishi it is treated as empty when it hits 30% charge, which means about 8.4kWh needs to be stuffed back into the battery every time it’s plugged in from empty.
Charging is never 100% efficient so the car will actually need to draw more energy from the mains. Academic research has measured 240-volt electric car charging cycles at around 86% efficient, so the Outlander is likely to demand something like 9.8kWh for every full charge. At today’s typical standard rate tariff of 15.4p per kWh, that equates to £1.51 per charge. In other words, given our winter 18-mile range, it costs about 8.4p per mile to drive on electricity.
In metric units the cost works out at £5.20 per 100km. With petrol costing about £1.10 per litre at the moment, that’s equivalent to 4.73 litres per 100km or 60mpg. That is a rough worst-case based on today’s electricity and petrol prices.
There is also the option to arrange an economy tariff with your electricity supplier and charge the car overnight. That will typically halve the electricity costs, yielding the financial equivalent of at least 120mpg. And in the summer months, slightly better.
So driving on electric you could enjoy the equivalent of between 60mpg and 120mpg depending upon your electricity tariff. Not bad for a large 4×4. And our own economy has been on the rise again – we’ve now averaged 60.3 mpg after 18 weeks
But of course the company car tax incentives are the real attraction for many buyers.
All in all, the Outlander PHEV can be an attractive financial proposition for motorists, especially if the majority of driving is done on electric power. But what about the entire experience of living with an Outlander PHEV for 6 months? Has it been better or worse than we expected? Read our definitive conclusion, coming very soon…
Next report: The definitive conclusion on the Mitsubishi Outlander GX4hs 2.0 PHEV after 6 months
Real-life economy: 60.3mpg after 18 weeks
NEDC electric driving range: 32.5 miles
Real-life electric driving range: 22 miles after 18 weeks
Official CO2 emissions: 42 g/km
Green rating: VED band A (£0)
Weight: 1,845 kg
Company car tax liability (2016/17): 7%
Price: £38,499 (after the current UK government Plug-in Car Grant of £2,500).
Insurance group: 22E
Power: 200 bhp
Max speed: 106 mph
0-62mph: 11.0 seconds
Torque: 385 Nm