Jan 17, 2016: 1.5L/100km

Regular readers will know that we recently purchased a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) and have been writing about our experience with it over the last few weeks. (New readers can catch up HERE). Suffice to say that, so far, we are delighted with the car.

Last week I received the following email from a reader in Waikiki.

Hi,
Love your blog and choice of vehicle.  We’ve owned an Outlander PHEV for just over 18 months now and have found the advertised fuel consumption figures easily achievable with a little effort.  In fact, so far we have covered a bit over 22,000 klms for a total of 334L, averaging a tad over 1.5L/100km.

Luckily, my most common drive is around 35km each way and as I can recharge at my destination (simply plugging in to a 15A power point, though a 10A will do at a pinch), I can do this on battery alone provided I’m prepared to accelerate gently up hills.  Yesterday we drove a long-standing friend for the first time since we’d acquired the car and he told me: “You drive like an old woman with this new car”.  I took this as a compliment!

Note, if you use “too little” petrol, you’ll find one day you start up the vehicle and it will fire up the petrol motor with a warning on the dash saying “maintaining fuel system”.  The only way to get back to battery is to go straight to the nearest petrol station and fill up your tank!  This happened to me a few days ago as we’d last filled the tank in October last year and had done 3200km since that time.  Filled up with 16L (!) and she was happily back running on battery again.

Hope you enjoy your PHEV as much as we enjoy ours

Rob
Waikiki, Western Australia

I didn’t know there was a Waikiki in Western Australia but I’m thrilled to read about Rob’s experience with his Outlander PHEV. In our first Newsletter after buying ours I questioned whether the manufacturer’s claim of 1.9L/100km was realistic and here’s the proof. Of course, as I suggested then, it depends entirely on how often you are able to charge the car and drive on electric. Rob’s is the perfect situation for this vehicle where he can do almost all his driving on electric.

8L/100km on Petrol Only

As I wrote a couple of week’s ago, I didn’t have any figures for fuel economy if I just drove on petrol with no electric. So I let the battery run down then drove it for a week without charging it, then filled it up and calculated that we had used 8L/100km. That’s still pretty good for an SUV of the PHEV’s size and weight but it’s a heck of a lot worse than 1.5L/100km. So clearly the benefit of this vehicle comes down to how often we can charge it from our solar panels.

More From ShrinkThatFootprint.com

In last week’s Newsletter I introduced readers to ShrinkThatFootprint.com. In the section on Shrink your travel footprint I found the following chart:

carbonintensity2

Of note to me in relation to our PHEV are the figures for ‘Large Car’ which is the WORST way to travel at 312 gCO2e/pkm, ‘Electric Car’ charged off the US grid which is better than a small petrol car at 123, ‘Hybrid Car’ which is better yet at 118, and ‘Electric Car’ charged from solar which is the BEST form of personal transportation at only 43 gCO2e/pkm.

Our Outlander PHEV doesn’t exactly fit any of these categories. It’s fairly large but has the fuel efficiency of a small car. It’s a hybrid vehicle but it’s also an electric vehicle depending on how you use it. In other words, it is capable of being somewhere between the worst way to travel and the best way to travel depending entirely on how we drive it and how often we are able to charge it from our solar system. So the lesson for us is that, to reduce our travel carbon footprint as much as possible we need to a) travel as little as possible, and b) drive short trips on electric drive charged from our solar system as much as we can.

Next week we’ll revisit ShrinkThatFootprint.com and look at our other major sources of carbon emissions which are housing and food.

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