Jan 24, 2016: PHEV Goes Bush

By now our regular readers will be quite familiar with our Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle – new readers can get caught up here). This week we took it on our longest trip yet, were delighted with its performance and also received some interesting feedback from other PHEV owners.

Go West Young PHEV

Our Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV outside uncle Simon's cabin in the Warrambungles

Our Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV outside a fabulous off-grid cabin in the Warrambungles

After twenty years of living in Montana I have become quite fond of country music and this year I had three cousins playing in four different bands at the Country Music Festival in Tamworth. So, since Cintia and I love to dance to a bit of country swing, it seemed like a good excuse to take the PHEV on a roadtrip. We spent the first night on the way north with some friends near Orange and the second night at my uncle’s wonderful little cabin in the Warrambungles near Coonabarabran.

The original cabin was an absolute gem but tragically burned to the ground in the intense bushfire that ravaged the Warrambungles a couple of years ago. My uncle has spent much of the last year or so rebuilding and the resulting cabin is totally delightful. As you can see from the photo above, it has a small solar power system (enough to run some LED lights and a CD player); a rainwater tank (as well as spring water gravity fed from further up the hill); a small solar hot water system; plus an Aga stove with a wetback for winter hot water. It’s very small and simple with a loft sleeping area above the kitchen and a high ceiling over the living room. It was wonderful to stay a night in the peace and beauty of the Warrambungles and be reminded of how little we really need. It was also fascinating to see how the bush recovers from such a devastating fire. In a couple more years it will be hard to tell that anything happened.

Since we were there in the middle of summer there was a total fire ban in place so we weren’t able to fire up the wood-fired pizza oven which also doubles as a water heater and shower facility. We’ll have to save that pleasure for a future winter trip and we definitely need to allow more time to just relax there and unwind.

Front and back views of the hand-made wood-fired pizza oven, water heating tower and shower structure.

Front and back views of the hand-made wood-fired pizza oven, water heating tower and shower structure.

It was tempting to ditch our plans for Tamworth and just stay there for the week but the call of the dance floor was too strong so we drove on. The following photo kinda sums up the whole Tamworth Country Music Festival experience.

The Big Golden Guitar.

The Big Golden Guitar.

It’s BIG, larger than life, hot, sunny… sort of tacky but good fun.

The locals were astonishingly welcoming and friendly, especially considering the town doubles in size for the ten days of the festival (from 70,000 to 140,000 people). It was brutally hot and would have been totally overwhelming if we didn’t have friends to guide us. As it was we lasted for three days, heard a lot of great music, danced for hours, slept in the back of the car and spent quite a bit of time at the swimming pool before giving up and heading for the beach. We got home almost a week after we left and have spent the last two days recovering.

7.3L/100km On The Highway with A/C

I didn’t have the opportunity to charge the car at all on the trip so it was another good opportunity to test the fuel economy in highway driving conditions. The heat meant that we had the air conditioning running for most of the time but we still managed to get 7.3L/100km which is pretty good for an SUV with the a/c on. It was right in line with the following comment I received last week from a reader and fellow PHEV enthusiast.

Great to hear about another happy PHEV owner. We have owned ours for about 9 months and its fantastic. We actually bought it after buying an iMiEV 2nd hand for $14k, so we’re now an EV family.
We have driven the PHEV from Sydney to Gold Coast twice and I can tell you the 3L/100km mentioned in your article as being claimed by the dealer is a lie. Its more like 6.7-7.3L/100km on a trip like that, which is still great for a medium SUV. Our overall petrol usage for 11,000km is 3.7L/100km due to lots of EV only trips in between the two QLD trips.
If any PHEV owner is interested, I’ve written an Android App which allows you to see what is going on inside your PHEV battery and Emotors etc. More details here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.EvPositive.EvBatMon

I’m pretty keen to check out this app and I’ll review it when I’ve had the chance to give it a try. Yet another reader sent the following comment…

Congratz on the PHEV purchase by the way. We’ve had ours for 9 months now and we love it. It was a no-brainer purchase for us. During our ownership we have visited the petrol station twice and it was only because an interstate trip was involved.

We’ve yet to receive any negative feedback on the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and it seems there are quite a few owners who are VERY pleased with their purchase. We are certainly happy so far and hoping that we can still say the same in five or ten years time.

That’s all for this week but, if you’re looking for more great information on sustainable living, there’s lots to be found on the website we’ve mentioned over the last couple of weeks, ShrinkThatFootprint.com

6 comments to Jan 24, 2016: PHEV Goes Bush

  • Horst

    Just my 2 cents worth. Have owned a PHEV since November and very pleased with it.
    It really is an ideal vehicle for short runs and commuting. I think Mitsi have not done a very good job marketing it, although the initial cost might have slowed people down a bit. There is no doubt that fuel savings can be substantial for many owners. Had been looking at getting one since the release and finally got one with 10,000 on it for just under 30 grand… grand bargain as far as I am concerned.
    The EVBATMON is a great app to keep an eye on the battery and other systems.
    Really a must have.

    • admin

      Thanks very much for your comments.

      Regarding the EVBATMON… which OBD device did you get to use with it? As I understand it you have to have an OBD device to communicate with the app. Some will allow you to get real-time information as you’re driving and others just let you monitor the state of the batteries.

      And what do you see as being the benefits of the app for your average PHEV driver?

      Andy

  • Horst

    Hi,

    I got the Wi-Fi OBD adaptor currently stocked by Jaycar (PP-2146). You can leave it plugged in all the time, it has an on-off switch.
    There is no other app currently that will do what EVBATMON does, the generic apps mainly deal with petrol engine data, no electrics.

    The main benefit I see is being able to monitor the condition of the battery, it even shows differences between cells. It also allows real time info on each motor and the generator and the engine.

    It will allow you to check whether the dealer service battery report is factual ;-), although I would keep it to myself that I actually plugged something in…..

    The whole thing is probably more beneficial for the nerdy types like me….that’s why I bought the PHEV in the first place, I am fascinated by the technology that went into this cars. It is very un-appreciated.

    Even the motoring journos don’t seem to quite get it. The main game for this car is the fact that it can have ZERO emissions for much of its life, especially when you charge it off your own solar system.

    The car is the best there is for 99% of soccer mums and school taxis… no ifs or buts (if they can afford an SUV, as a lot seem to).

  • Mark

    Sorry I didn’t get to catch up on your blog before your visit – you could have charged up at our place!

  • David

    Horst,
    I bought EvBatMon for my iPhone but have found it’s very hit and miss, often won’t connect and often with scrambled results.
    It’s possibly to do with my wifi OBDII adaptor though it works perfectly with my other car using OBDFusion.

    Q. Is yours on an iPhone, and does it work reliably? When do you open the app and connect to the OBDII wifi?

    Thanks in advance.

    BTW We absolutely LOVE our PHEV!

    • admin

      Hello and thanks for your interest in the Greeny Flat and our PHEV,

      Unfortunately I never actually got EvBatMon working on my phone. I downloaded the app and ordered the adaptor but it never came. I got busy doing other things and found that I wasn’t feeling compelled to know every detail of what was going on inside our PHEV. Too many other things to focus on I guess.

      I might regret that if something goes wrong with the car but for now I’m just enjoying it.

      Sorry I can’t help. Have you tried contacting Jeremy, the guy who wrote the app?

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