How a PHEV works

Home / How a PHEV Works

How a PHEV Works

How do plug-in hybrids work? Simply put, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is a car that can be powered by either an internal combustion engine or an electric motor or motors.

The battery of a plug-in hybrid can be charged by plugging it into an external power source, such as a wall outlet or a charging station. PHEVs are capable of running purely off battery power, often referred to as electric vehicle mode, only relying on their traditional combustion engine for extra power, charging the drive battery once it is low and for travelling over extended distances.

The benefit of a plug-in hybrid is that it can drastically reduce emissions and save on fuel costs. In the latter example, the combustion engine is run in parallel or series to the electric motors to provide superior fuel economy. In addition, many governments offer tax incentives (including New Zealand's "Clean Car Discount") to drivers of plug-in hybrids, making them even more affordable. For those looking to reduce their environmental impact, a plug-in hybrid is definitely worth considering.

The main components of a PHEV

While many people are familiar with the inner workings of a traditional combustion engine, PHEVs present the next evolution of combustion engine technology. In a PHEV, a traditional combustion engine is present, but it plays a supporting role to that of the star of the show - the electric vehicle components.

Mitsubishi has been a leading innovator in the electric vehicle space since the technology's inception. They have refined, evolved, and optimised this technology into a masterpiece of technical proficiency.

Here are the main components behind Mitsubishi's PHEV offerings.

Click/Tap the name of a feature below for details.


The heart of the PHEV, this is where the electricity is stored to power the electric motors. The size of the battery is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), and the more kWhs, the more potential range the vehicle has. For example, the Next Gen Outlander PHEV has a 20 kWh battery (one of the largest in its class) and offers a full electric range of up to 84km and a combined range of over 800km.

The charge port allows the car to be connected to an external power source, either a standard New Zealand power outlet or a FastCharge Station, to charge the drive / lithium-ion battery that powers the electric motors.

This is used to reclaim power/generate electricity from the rotating wheels while braking, transferring that power back to the lithium-ion battery.

Find out more about Regenerative Braking

The PDU works with the generator to help convert electric power and transfer it to the electric motors.

The Next Gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV have two electric motors, one on each of the SUV's axles, that provide power from the lithium-ion battery to drive the vehicle's wheels. The front electric motor is responsible for sending power to the front axle’s wheels.

The second electric motor provides power to the rear axle’s wheels. By having electric motors at both the front and rear axles, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Eclipse Cross PHEV can optimally control the driving and braking force of each wheel. This is not possible with a conventional 4WD vehicle.

A traditional combustion engine that is powered by the combustion of petroleum. Its purpose is to extend the range of the PHEV when run in parallel and series mode, recharge the lithium-ion battery and provide additional power when required.

converts incoming AC power supplied via the charge port to DC power for charging the lithium-ion battery. It also communicates with charging equipment and monitors battery characteristics such as voltage, current, temperature and state of charge while charging the pack.

What are the Different Drive Modes for PHEVs?

PHEVs can switch between these two power sources, the drive battery and the combustion engine, depending on the driving conditions. For example, PHEVs typically use electricity for city driving, where stop-and-go traffic means that the battery can be regularly recharged. However, for highway driving, the combustion engine is used to generate electricity, which then powers the electric motor. This allows PHEVs to take advantage of the efficiency of both power sources. There are three different drive modes that Mitsubishi PHEVs use to take advantage of their innovative design and electrical technology.

EV Mode: Electric vehicle mode runs purely off the power stored in the drive battery supplied to the electric motors without the need to run the combustion engine, exactly like an electric vehicle. It produces no emissions and will automatically switch to Series Hybrid Mode when the battery is drained.

Parallel Hybrid Mode: When the battery needs charging, the vehicle is powered by the combustion engine with periodic electric motor assistance, allowing time for the lithium-ion battery to recharge efficiently via the engine. Another situation when this mode is utilised is in high speed driving.


What is the Regenerative Braking System and How Does it Work?

One of the most impressive pieces of technology in the Next Gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV is their Regenerative Braking System. This is the vehicle's ability to reclaim power from the engine and braking to charge the lithium-ion battery. This allows you to significantly extend your driving range.

So how does the Regenerative Braking System work? When the accelerator is released, the system automatically starts to charge the drive battery. This process allows motion energy to be converted to electrical energy by using the motor as a power generator. At this point, a braking force is generated and converted to energy that is charged to the drive battery.

The selector lever allows you to choose between two intensity levels of the Regenerative Braking System, while the intensity can also be selected from among six different levels using the paddles. In the instance where a large regenerative braking force is applied using either the selector lever or the regenerative braking level selector (the paddle), the brake lights will automatically illuminate.

Simon Lucas Mitsubishi are Auckland's Mitsubishi PHEV Experts

PHEVs are a fascinating step forward in the world of automotive technology. With every day that goes by, the technology behind these vehicles becomes further refined, optimised, and impressive. Mitsubishi has kept its finger on the pulse, and its latest PHEV offerings are available at Simon Lucas Mitsubishi.

If you want more information on the latest in PHEV technology on offer from Mitsubishi, call our Simon Lucas North Shore showroom today and talk to our expert staff. They will provide you with all the information you need to know about how plug-in hybrid electric vehicles work and how they can easily fit into your driving lifestyle. Contact Simon Lucas today!

Enquire now

We are committed to respecting your privacy and we'll use your details to keep you informed about the products and services you requested from us. From time to time, we’d like to contact you with relevant content that might be of interest to you. You may unsubscribe at any time. View our Privacy Policy.

We're here to help!

We would love to hear from you, please let us know your new Mitsubishi vehicle requirements and any other relevant details. One of our Sales Team members will contact you shortly.

Contact Info

Mon - Fri 8:30am - 5:30pm

Saturday 8:30am - 5:00pm

Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm


0800 001 107