Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - MOTORING - Joshua Dowl­ing

Be­lieve the in­dus­try hype and we are on a path to an elec­tric car fu­ture, ready or not. For the record, I’m in the “not” camp be­cause Aus­tralia has the fifth cheap­est petrol on the planet, en­dures high elec­tric­ity costs and lacks charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

But I’m spend­ing a few months with the Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV, Aus­tralia’s big­gest-sell­ing plug-in hy­brid – be­cause, to date, it’s an elec­tric car with the fewest com­pro­mises.

It’s a fam­ily SUV that, in the­ory, can travel up to 50km on elec­tric­ity alone and then a fur­ther 450km on petrol power when the bat­tery runs flat.

The first hur­dle: I can’t charge it when I take it home. I have on-street park­ing and don’t want to leave a power cord as a trip haz­ard across the foot­path.

Sec­ond hur­dle: the com­pany rep­re­sent­ing the elec­tric charge point at the car park near work won’t an­swer the phone for me to sign up and cre­ate an ac­count.

Third hur­dle: Mit­subishi sent a card to un­lock the elec­tric charge point but I got only one use out of it. It’s been dis­con­nected dur­ing main­te­nance. Hope it’s re­con­nected soon.

I’ve also no­ticed the elec­tric-only driv­ing range is op­ti­mistic. On full charge the car says I have 32km of range. But that runs out af­ter about 20km of city driv­ing.

These chal­lenges aside, I love the idea of not hav­ing to stop for petrol and have the car charg­ing while I’m work­ing or sleep­ing.

And I love the re­fine­ment and seam­less ac­cel­er­a­tion from the elec­tric mo­tor and the prac­ti­cal­ity of an SUV.

Mean­while, I’m hop­ing to find some­where to charge the Mit­subishi, oth­er­wise we’re go­ing to be test­ing a petrol car car­ry­ing a use­less bat­tery pack and elec­tric mo­tor.

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