Hybrid Electric Car

In November 2015, we purchased a Mitsubishi Outlander Phev, a plug-in hybrid SUV. The SUV suited our family as it could tow our boat trailer and fit kids + gear in, and at the time this was the only plug-in SUV commercially available in the world. Although the Phev is at the ‘bottom’ of the electric car technology range, the price was within an average family budget and we felt it important to get on board with supporting the technology we believe in.

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Charging the car in our garage, with 100% renewable energy.

Our Phev, affectionately named Ferdinand, has been a wonderful addition to our family. The electric range of the car is small (less than 50km), but this is more than enough for our average daily commute (shopping, work, school) to be completed entirely on electricity. As we charge from our off-grid solar powered house, this means the trip is virtually cost free as well as emissions free!  As mentioned in the Solar Power section, our system can support the electricity needs of the car in summer, but is struggling in winter – so we’re now installing a wind turbine.

Beyond the electric range, the car switches automatically to petrol and even charges itself whilst driving, resulting in a very efficient vehicle even in petrol mode. Its silent ‘ninja car’ motion is really cool.

What we also did with the purchase of the car was to begin to ‘normalise’ this technology – now instead of it being an only-on-TV concept to our communities, there are now many people who can say “oh yes, Ella and David have one of those,” creating a sense of familiarity and with that comes acceptance. Lots of people ask us about it, and we always respond with “we’ll never buy another fully-petrol car again!”.

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Charging at a public charge station in Perth. We often get enquiries from curious onlookers as we plug in!

We’d like to thank Lucinda, Simon and Jamie, from Stellar Violets, Manjimup, for giving us the courage to buy an electric car after visiting us with theirs.

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