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Fuel consumption figures (Hybrid and PHEV vehicles)

In trying to get an answer to the question of vehicle range before refuelling I got this boilerplate response from Mitsubishi.“The vehicle achieves 1.9L/100km during the ADR 81/02 drive cycle test.” I think this test is misleading for PHEV vehicles. On the face of it you might think the Outlander PHEV car with a 43Litre fuel tank has a refuelling range of 2263Km----I doubt that this is correct
The test simulates a 100km journey it begins with a battery that is fully charged and can be used for the firtst 54km leaving only 46 KM for the car to run on petrol.
Recalculating the engine fuel economy would give us 4.1L/100 and a range of about 1000KM.

These figures are my assumptions and repeated attempts to get an accurate range figure from Mitsubishi have resulted in the same “The vehicle achieves 1.9L/100km during the ADR 81/02 drive cycle test.” response.

I think we need another test or a range figure as part of the required reporting since the current ADR is misleading on this type of vehicle.


Your point is valid but I suspect you will find the published fuel economy figures for every vehicle is misleading because the test is simulated allowing for the absolute bestest most impressive official number. My 1.3T official number is 6.1L/100km that might happen going across the Nullarbor, but over months of my personal driving the real number averages at 8.2. On a highway with no more than gentle rolling hills at 100kph I’ll usually still see only 6.7.

Thus because of different terrain and driving styles and drives I doubt a real number that the vast majority of consumers would attain is possible. An alternative might be ‘Expect 4.7 to 12 L/100km’ results, not terribly useful. If you suggest an average, where and how is that average taken that would be different from the synthetic test regarding its relevance to ‘you’?

As it is most of us know they are advertising numbers, not what we will attain, yet the comparisons from vehicle to vehicle remain useful in that context. Do you have a suggestion on something to improve the published numbers?

As for the repetitive response quoting the formal numbers, that is all that can be expected from a company since their word becomes a legal statement. Another example is in computer networking where a standard states something will work for 300m (according to the standard). It might be solid for 1km or more but the company will never tell you that, but recite the specification standard in response to each related question.


I agree. I’m using this for a comparison. My Camry Hybrid has an advertised ideal figure of 4.2L/100Km----I typically get 5.2 but important to me is the fact that I can drive Adelaide to Melbourne on 43Litres out of a 50 litre tank. In my case I’m really looking for a RANGE on any fuel type. How far can I travel before I need to refuel or recharge.


As I noted, that depends on the terrain, load, and driving style as much as anything, and nothing is better than experience. If you have a choice between two vehicles, one with an advertised range of 900km and another of 1000km the only message it that it is probable the latter vehicle will go further than the former. By how much? No way to tell beyond your own real world comparison drive.


For interest and comparisonUS PHEV
They quote their fuel use as somewhere between 3.1 and 9L/100Km–quite different to our ADR test.


We may have differing expectations on computing comparative ranges but I would not find that ‘rating’ compelling to determine if I could got from A to B in the vehicle.

As an aside, around 1980-ish I had a Saab (USA) and the Saab dealer also sold Aston Martins. To this day I remember the EPA sticker on an Aston Martin in the showroom. My numbers are not accurate, but order of magnitude. ‘This Compact car gets 4.2 MPG. Other compact cars get between 4.2 and 28 MPG.’ I always wondered how many Aston Martin buyers cared or chose a different car because of that.

Since a few members do not like to click through, the salient EPA presentation is


yet the numbers are not real world and do not reflect mountains or traffic other than a standardised scripted run, usually done in a lab under controlled conditions to make each report comparable for that specific set of conditions, and yours may obviously vary.


Despite not being real world these standards are meant to be useful ( otherwise why have them?). According to ADR 81/02 my vehicle ( A camry Hybrid) will only travel half as far before refuelling as the Mitsubishi PHEV— the US EPS refutes this and looking at the situation logically the EPA provides better info than our ADR. Logic told me it was unlikely that the range of a heavy non aerodynamic vehicle would be more than twice that of the Camry. That’s what the current ADR purports to say. Its why I started on this journey.


Thanks for clarifying the issue. I better understand where you are coming from.


Good Morning Frank,

We do understand that you are trying to compare the fuel consumption between the two vehicles, however we can only provide you with the ADR 81/02 test information.

In regards to the US fuel consumption testing Mitsubishi Motors Australia are unable to comment or advise on the comparison between the Outlander PHEV’s made for the US market and Outlander PHEV’s made for the Australian market.

Unfortunately, MMAL are unable to offer any further assistance on this occasion.

Kind regards,

cid:image001.jpg@01D6CCAE.4AFB7E60\ 100x100 Hayley Muldoon
Customer Care Consultant Customer Experience

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited
1 Tonsley Blvd Tonsley SA 5042 Australia
Phone: 1300 13 12 11 Facsimile: 1300 55 33 19

“boiler plate redacted”

From: Frank Holland
Sent: Friday, 26 March 2021 11:57 AM
To: MMAL Ask An Expert
Subject: Re: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Enquiry


I understand the legal requirements and the fact that all cars of all types go through the same ADR. What I started to look for was can I do with the Outlander what I do with my Camry Hybrid and drive without fuel stops to Melbourne from Adelaide. Comparing the ADR L/100Km does not give me that information.

The US fuel consumption tests (link provided) have given me better information and a more believable result for long distances somewhere between 3.1L and 9L/100Km.

For Australian conditions it is useful to know the vehicle range ADR 81/02 doesn’t provide that hence my question to you.



So it seems MMAL dont want to tell me the fuel use. Probably because its not complementary to their vehicle. This stinks. I won’t consider it as a result

I’ve learned something from this, thanks.

There are two ways to assess the fuel usage of a plug in hybrid electric vehicle, PHEV.

One the current ADR measure is based on a typical short daily trip basis where the battery meets most of the power needs.

The second is the measure of fuel required for a long journey where the battery meets only a small proportion of the power needs. This is not reported in Australia.

We are looking at new vehicle options. We have a mix of longer journeys several times a week and short trips. I thought a PHEV might be the right compromise between cost and GHG impacts. It’s obviously not the simple. One of the Toyota hybrids may be a better deal, especially in the second hand market.

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They possibly can’t. Two different drivers, driving the same vehicle can have significantly different fuel use when driving. Likewise with other behaviours or vehicle uses (mainly stop start, loaded vehicle, incorrect tyre pressures etc). This is why the testing regime tries to provide an arbitrary reference to compare different vehicle makes and models.

The figure from MMAL for the AS test method possibly assumes that majority of driving will be done using the battery pack/EV motor…short distances regular charging. This pattern of use possibly won’t be that of most drivers, and as a result, fuel use would be substantially more…especially when the vehicle operating on ICE has to carry around the extra weight associated with the EV system.

Maybe the standard testing method should be changed so that the information provided below is as follow:

  • estimated range under urban and non-urban driving using EV system only
  • fuel use under urban and non-urban driving using ICE only.

If the above is given, one would be able to determine if a PHEV suits one’s driving patterns and if the EV is beneficial. I suspect that if one does a lot of long distance trips (substantially more than the EV range), the fuel savings will disappear and could be more than an equivalent vehicle without the additional weight of the EV system.

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3 years ago I bought a Toyota Yaris, whose fuel economy was extolled by the salesman. The fact is be it highway or city driving, I never manage any better than 40% worse fuel economy than was plastered on the vehicle in the show room.

Why, as was correctly suggested, must the public put up with this fictitious statistics?


They are a benchmark, so they can be used for comparison. They are not always fictitious.

I have a Subaru Forester manual diesel. The claimed consumption is 6.3 l/100km and some say you will only get 8 or 8.5. The only time I have ever got over 7.5 was in the city with the aircon on or mountain climbing. When it was new in the country I got 5.8 consistently and 5.6 now and then. Now it is 6 years old I get 6.4 consistently (includes some aircon use) and 6 on a good day without it.

I am not a hypermile extremist, I am not a dawdling traffic hazard but drive to the conditions and the speed limit. But I don’t plant my foot on the accelerator and I can go to town (35km) without touching the brake except at the front gate and the car park.

While this is not very relevant to PHEV comparisons it does show driving style and conditions play a huge part in fuel consumption.


@grizzlyowl was spot on pointing out the anomaly in how plug in hybrid vehicles are tested. They need two different results for a fair comparison.

I’m not driving a hybrid or PHEV.
I have no problem achieving the stated highway fuel consumption, providing there is little other traffic, and the vehicle is not carrying a load other than I. I used to regularly drive three different branded, models and types of vehicles over long distances, on quiet roads. The observation holds true for all three.

Around town, can any of us worry about fuel consumption? Sometimes driving in hilly places like the NW burbs of Brisbane at peak hour or the dead pan flat roads of Townsville on a Sunday morning. Neither are comparable to being stuck in the Lane Cove tunnel on the way to Cherry Brook in Sydney.

We seem to have limited control over the driving conditions. Which should we test for? Personal experience might suggest a particular driver uses 40% more fuel than the laboratory test results in their everyday use. Should one add 40% to all?

We all don’t use 40% more. In true old time Top Gear tradition does one drive as might J Clarkson, or more like Captain Slow?

Vive la difference .

For everything else, there is a proper explanation in the following.


Yes we all expect to get worse than the laboratory test. No question. The ADR is just a starting point but in the case of the PHEV its not only misleading but since MMAL refuses ( after 4 attempts) to clarify the real situation its intentionally misleading. WE need a more appropriate or additional test/ADR.

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What ever the testing regime, most drivers won’t achieve the test result. The current testing is as follow:

Urban cycle testing accounts for around 67 per cent of the test, while the extra-urban cycle accounts for the remaining 33 per cent.

The urban cycle consists of a lower average speed and is designed to simulate driving in a city environment with a constant element of stop/start driving at an average speed of 19km/h and considerable idle periods of around 30 per cent.

The extra-urban cycle is run at a higher average speed of 63km/h with a peak speed of 120km/h. It’s not an accurate representation of the regular fuel consumption on a highway, as the test isn’t conducted as a set speed over a period of time.

Driving with an average 63km/h with a peak of 120km/h possibly isn’t really relevant for those who tend to do most highway driving on the main highways where maximum posted speed limits are 100-110km/h. The 63km/h possibly is more like intraurban motorways where posted speed limits range from 70-110km/h and where there is likely to be some traffic where the average speed of a vehicle is significantly less than the posted limits.

I suspect that the 63km/h is used as it represents intraurban and some interurban movements. This is possibly where most vehicles do their extra-urban cycles as most of Australia’s car fleet is urban based (~90% if it correlates directly with Australia’s population urbanisation).

There is always opportunity to change the testing to better suit one’s particular driving pattern, but sure enough, the change is likely to be more different to another drivers driving pattern.

If one uses the values as a guide or standard benchmark to compare different vehicles at the time of purchase, it is suitable for that purpose (a vehicle with a ADR fuel use of 7.5L/100km combined will use less fuel than a 10L/100km combined cycle). What an individual actually gets will depend on a wide range of factors.

The above may also however bias towards lower fuel consumption from hybrid and PHEVs, where these vehicles use part of the onboard batteries to propel the vehicle. If a car owner does longer trips within a day (between charges), the fuel consumption is likely to be higher than the ADR test results as the (heavier) vehicle will mainly be propelled by the petrol engine potentially negating any perceived savings.

Whilst I agree with your analysis, I started this thread based specifically on the mismatch between the new types of hybrid vehicles and the ADR 18/2. The ADR is calculated for a 100Km trip. Its fine for comparing like vehicles perhaps but in the extreme case if a car had a large enough battery to be able to go 100km just on the battery its likely the fuel consumption could be quoted as ZEROLitres/100KM!! That figure doesnt give a useful figure of petrol range. Mitsubishi quote 1.9L/100Km for their Outlander PHEV but they did the first 54KIM on battery so the figure is useless if you are comparing cars for the ability to travel between larger cities without refuelling.

Some interesting solutions?

The PHEV Outlander in the standard test required 1.9l to travel the extra 44km to complete the 100km test.

Hence it uses approx 1.9l per 44km, operating as a pure hybrid once the battery is fully consumed. That equates to 4.32l per 100km.

The Camry Hybrid is similar in weight and slightly greater in engine capacity. The Toyota marketing suggests 4.2l per 100km for a combined cycle. The lead foot motoring reviewers typically report higher.

It would seem unlikely the Outlander which is shaped more like an aerodynamic brick than a Camry might do any better. One review of the 2021 PHEV Outlander reported 9l/100km at the end of the lead footed journalists session. They must have been having too much fun?

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid claims 4.8l/100km and in one motoring test returned 5.8l/100km.


  • In the absence of science look to the motoring reviews.
  • As we only have Mitsubishi to vouch for the 54km battery range, it’s possible the test vehicle as new had a bit more stored than 54km, which would help to lower the apparent fuel consumption.
  • Given a choice between a Mitsubishi and a Toyota, I know which one I’d buy.
  • Is driving for 12 hours without stopping and refuelling all that important?

Well done–I have to say that becasuse I came to the same conclusion :slight_smile: :laughing:. What bothers me is the people who dont or cant do what we have done and are ‘duped’ by the figures that MMAL put out. Sent them 3 emails and got the same feedback–“we cannot tell you anything other than per the standard we get 1.9L/ 100Km”. They know its wrong but they are using it to their advantage. I regularly drive between Melbourne and adelaide and do that trip in my older Camry hybrid averaging 5.5L/100 (Toyota quotes 4.5 for that car per ADR18/2) and while looking for a replacement car one of my criteria was to still be able to make that trip without refuelling… Id really like a governement body to introduce a separate new ADR that would allow potential buyers to guage the range of the vehicle. Have written to various transport departments without joy :(.