2015 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Liz Pickering
So it's been exactly 1 year since we picked up our PHEV. First of all it's worth noting our car purchasing decisions are usually considered affairs. We typically take our time selecting make and model options based on practicality, resale value, maintenance costs, looks and smile factor.
We also like to keep our cars for a loooong time to ride out any depreciation and ‘sweat the asset’. Flipping cars with the wind is certainly not our thing and we'd only just (the previous year) bought our 10 year (daily drive) car - a 2011 Subaru Liberty GT wagon. So a new car wasn't on the agenda. Until, that is, we decided to see what the fuss was all about and test drive an EV, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. It was love at first drive.
So what is it?
Well it’s a large 4WD SUV with plenty of space, grace and practicality – which just happens to be a plug in hybrid too. So it can typically run on batteries for 50km before the petrol engine needs to kick in and either charge batteries OR drive the front wheels directly. It's also an incredibly accomplished tow car as proven by multiple tip runs with our loaded 8x5 trailer.
What the PHEV offers is a bridge between petrol and electric vehicles. If you're worried that an electric car, like the LEAF isn't going to be versatile enough for you but you still want to dip your toes into the EV revolution then a Plug-in Hybrid is the go.
For more detailed info on features and benefits' a video test drive I suggest you head over to Bobby Llewellyn's Fully Charge page here.
So back to our PHEV, it was only 3 month’s old when we bought it and the deal we got puts most standard new cars to shame - $27k on road to be exact. But that's not all, it came with 10yrs manufacturer’s warranty and 5 year dealer warranty plus fixed price of $295/year service and RACV membership.
What's it like to live with?
Well there’s an element of serenity driving around in silence and the satisfaction of knowing for the best part, it costs us practically nothing, both in fuel and maintenance costs. In fact we have filled up only 3 times in the past year and there has been periods of 3 months at a time where there was no engine use at all, despite covering 4000kms. It also challenges us to drive as efficiently as possible, mostly by finding routes that have optimum flat or downhill roads where we can use the brakes less and regen more (less wear and tear too).
Does it really cost that little to run?
Oh absolutely! We already had solar panels so our ROI has now increased with the PHEV charging during the day, using up the excess energy that ordinarily would have given us very little due to a reduced feed in tariff. Also we no longer have to fork out $300 every month on petrol and pay for expensive annual service costs.
We are still wondering when the novelty is going to wear off, 12 months on and the PHEV is still the car of choice. We still can’t get enough of driving our PHEV.
Of course there are some negatives – for starters, it does not come with a spare tyre, only a repair kit. This is not an ideal substitute when you are 100km from home in the bush on a Sunday arvo and you get a flat (we found that out the hard way). Once the proverbial horse had bolted, we bought a spare tyre which we now always 'pack' on a long trips
Also, the engine automatically kicks in if the petrol hasn’t been used in a few months (to stop it going stale). The only way to override this is to put in 15L or more, of course this means you need to have enough space in the 44L fuel tank to squeeze in 15L otherwise you will be driving on fuel until you do. Kind of defeats the object of an EV?
Top Tip, unless you are going on a long road trip, we recommend keeping a ¼ tank only to give enough buffer for 15L should the engine decide to take over.
We can’t recommend the PHEV enough to our friends, colleagues and even passers by who are intrigued – there have been a lot of people come up to one of us when plugging in, eager to find out more and we love to tell them all about how great it is. Why? Because it’s still an unknown quantity to most people as there is no marketing in this country yet every other house has solar panels on it – they go hand in hand!
Tesla is the only one to actively sell its products in public spaces like shopping malls but their prices are currently out of reach to most average income families and the idea of electric only cars may not appeal. Plug in Hybrids however are, right now, the more practical option and despite the limited 50km range (plus any regen you can glean), its usually more than enough for an average daily trip – with the added bonus of petrol back up should the need arise.
So let’s get the word spreading and although we love being the only EV car that seems to have used the green public car park spaces, it would be great to not only see more people hooking up, but seeing more green car spaces in general because of increasing demand.