OUR FRIEND’S ELEC­TRIC

Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVEWAY - Shauna An­der­son

CAN an av­er­age fam­ily travel 300km a week on zero petrol?

With prices at a five-year high, to drive a car that doesn’t need to be filled up for a week is a wel­come way to push the weekly bud­get back to­wards the black.

My fam­ily’s week of driv­ing sure adds up: four week­end soc­cer games, seven train­ing ses­sions, school drop-offs, swimming lessons, two birth­day par­ties, a fam­ily lunch, three trips to the su­per­mar­ket, five drop-offs to play dates, two trips to pick up take-aways and a round trip each day to work. There was also (ahem) two trips to the dis­count bot­tle shop

A quick tally of just how much driv­ing my three kids and I do over a week comes in just over 300km, a lit­tle over the av­er­age Aussie who drives about 38km a day.

It's hard to imag­ine reg­u­lar weekly runs with­out us­ing any petrol but that's just the chal­lenge we were set with the Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV.

The five-seater SUV, or Plug-in Hy­brid Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle, has a petrol en­gine, elec­tric mo­tors front and rear, and a large recharge­able bat­tery.

The Out­lander isn’t the sleek­est SUV on the out­side but once you open those doors, the large cabin will eas­ily tempt any fam­ily of five or less.

The cabin’s space makes putting kids in car seats a breeze. Comfy seats and ex­tra legroom mean even a large adult could hap­pily sit in the back with the kids.

In or­der to run the Out­lander ev­ery day, you need to charge it overnight, with a full charge tak­ing about six hours.

Work for me is about a 20km round trip, so it got me there and back with­out a drop

of petrol be­ing used. If you had to travel daily any fur­ther afield than that and couldn’t charge it at work, you’d need to rely on the petrol en­gine to recharge the lithium bat­tery, as in full EV mode the top dis­tance is just 54km.

One of the top cri­te­ria on ev­ery mum’s new car wish­list is stor­age and the Out­lander does it well. The boot is a soc­cer mum’s dream with enough room for a mul­ti­tude of kits and a row of side pock­ets.

With light steer­ing and a tight turn­ing cir­cle, the Out­lander was a de­light to drive. In elec­tric mode, it has enough zip to over­take those old-fash­ioned folk in their plain and bor­ing petrol cars.

One thing a busy mum craves is peace and quiet and the ben­e­fit of an elec­tric car is just that; there's no en­gine noise.

In a busy world of noisy kids and non­stop ac­tion, to seal the world away in the big solid cabin of the Out­lander is just the balm a fran­tic par­ent needs. Did we man­age the chal­lenge? You bet we did! One week and vir­tu­ally a full tank of petrol left at the end as we re­luc­tantly handed back our cone of si­lence.

The Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV 2.

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