OUR FRIEND’S ELECTRIC
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.