In last week’s Newsletter I wrote about bringing home our new Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). In that article I outlined the reasons why we chose ‘the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV’ for our own electric vehicle (EV).
This week I will briefly describe how we feel about it and what we have learned now that we have been driving it for a whole week.
Lots To Learn
So far we’ve really only been playing with our new PHEV but I can tell you that a) it’s really fun to drive, and b) I am getting more and more excited about it as I get to know it. I’ve been attempting to make time to read through the whole owner’s manual but it’s going to take a while. The thing is about 500 pages long!… and that’s just the manual for the car, there’s another entire manual for the ‘Communications Centre’. So, as yet, I don’t really know what I’m doing. This thing is a VERY sophisticated piece of technology which, of course, has it’s pros and cons.
The pros are that it can do amazing things (most of which I don’t understand yet). The cons are that it can only do those amazing things if you know how to operate it correctly. Also, it’s so sophisticated that, if anything goes wrong, I won’t have a clue how to fix it. If I break down or lose the key, etc, etc, etc, I’ll just have to sit down and cry for my mummy.
Impressive Fuel Economy
It’s too early to be able to tell you much because I’ve only put petrol in it once so far, but it does seem like this vehicle is capable of pretty impressive fuel economy. On the day we drove it back from Sydney it told us that we used 5.4L/100km which, for a vehicle this size is quite remarkable (if it’s true). To put this in perspective, Cintia’s little Honda Jazz gets about 6L/100km.
For most of the first week I only drove short distances and was able to charge the batteries between trips. This meant that for about five days I didn’t use any petrol at all so the economy gauge was stuck on 0.0L/100km! That was pretty awesome!
Then, on Friday we had to drive it back down to Lander Mitsubishi in Blacktown to get the tow-bar installed. It seemed like we used about 5.4L/100km on that trip (I’m realising I need to learn how to operate the fuel-economy gauge correctly so I can’t be sure yet). On the way back I reset the gauge just before driving up the big hill to the Highlands. By the time we got to the top of the hill it was reading 12L/100km and I was not feeling so pleased with myself. But, after we had driven another 15 or 20 k’s on relatively level ground, the gauge was back down to 4L/100km which I thought was amazing since we had no battery left and that was all on petrol.
The long and the short of it is that I’m not sure what the overall fuel economy is yet. The proof will come when I next fill it up with petrol. I’m keeping a careful record of how many kilometres I drive, how often I charge it, how much electricity I use to charge it, and (when I put some in) how much petrol it takes. From that I’ll be able to calculate an average fuel economy.
At this point I can safely say that the 1.9L/100km discussed in last week’s Newsletter is definitely achievable with this car as long as we use it mostly for short trips (less than its 50km range on electric) and charge it often. For most people, most of the time, that seems perfectly reasonable to me. Theoretically, if you never drove more than 50k’s between charges, you would never need to put any petrol in it at all!