PHEV?

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

My first blog designed to record my experiences with a new (to me) concept of a PHEV car. I am due to collect a Mitsubishi Outlander with the wife tomorrow so have hastily knocked up this page to capture and share what is billed as a game changer by the marketing bods at Mitsubishi.

I will reference some of my research later to make it easier for anyone in the market for an Outlander. Other brands are coming to market with similar products but at the time of ordering (Apr 2014) I don’t believe any were actually available to order.

As you would expect I am excited about a new car. It is not purchased from my own hard earned money, it is a company car in the name of my wife, there for classed as a taxable benefit. The car it replaces is a BMW 3 series touring which has been used and abused with dogs and various runs to the dump (sorry – recycling centre), long drives laiden with bikes and camping equipment to France, Wales and Dorset, and various other, far from glamorous loads. Most of the time I think a van would suit our uses better. The only time it gets cleaned is when it goes in for a service at the local BMW dealer who I have generally been more than impressed with. They really do know how to make you feel special as soon as you walk in the door.

 

BMW

The BMW has had a roof rack on for the bike for the entire time we have had it, killing any fuel economy, but it is generally used for shorter low speed journeys and it is too labour intensive to take on and off every time I want to take the bikes out. Over the 3 years the on board computer tells me I have achieved 41 mpg and most recently reaching 44mpg on my last recorded trip.

Clearly when choosing a car that you feel like you don’t have to pay for you want the best your budget will allow. The wife wanted a 4×4 next and test drove a few small to midsize 4×4’s and all of them were nice, my favourite being the Range Rover Evoque. The quality of  finish on it was impeccable although it did make me feel like a drug dealer and I should have a handgun tucked down my waistband.

However when you sit down and factor in all the costs, it soon looses its appeal (to me anyway).

There are 2 main costs to the end user separate from the actual purchase/lease costs to the company.

1/Benefit in Kind (BIK)

These are costs applied to your tax code and are deducted from your wage every month. The BMW worked out at costing about £200 per month in BIK. Due to some mis-management of tax codes it became clear that the wife had not been paying for this car at all over the previous 3 years and now the taxman wanted his money. An arrangement was made with said taxman to repay this benefit over the next 3 years, so the wife is now effectively going to have to pay for two cars over the next 3 years. This made her determined to find a cost effective solution.

2/ Fuel

I calculated this over 3 years using the milage we had done the 3 years previously of about 45,000 miles. Using the quoted combined MPG figure and fuel being £1.40 per litre.

Using the official combined MPG figures of each car I calculated that an equivalent 3 series touring would cost over 3 years £11,700 for both fuel and BIK where as a Prius would cost £4210 for the same period.

Clearly, after much research, the PHEV Prius was the hands down winner on costs, which was duly test driven, colour chosen and suddenly noticing every other car seems to be a Prius, settled on as being acceptable. Although slightly disappointing in comparison to an Evoque it is a solid performing run around with green credentials. Not quite brief that she initially wanted, but needs must. After learning about how the Plug in  Prius works and how we use the car predominantly for short journeys, (longer journeys are usually work related where fuel costs can be claimed back) the thought crossed my mind that we could drive using only the electric charge to power the majority of our driving.

While she was choosing the colour and trying to get a discount for a number of them for the rest of the company I was booking the free charger point, through the British Gas website, when I noticed a Mitsubishi Outlander option when specifying the make and model for the car charging point.

How had I not seen this? I thought I had done more than enough research. The costs of the Outlander are on par with that of the Prius – namely a 5% BIK rate. Both the Prius and the Outlander quote some unachievable 100+ MPG figure and from what I’ve read a figure closer to 90 is more realistic but still double the current BMW.

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So after a visit to Tony at Mack Mitsubishi and a look around the vehicle we put our (well her bosses) money down as a deposit without much hesitation or test drive. It ticks all the boxes that she needed, simple ones like… being cost effective and… being a 4×4.

It sounds too good to be true, there has to be some draw backs.

Hence the motivation to create blog… to impart a balanced and objective day to day view of how it fits in with the traditional concept of car ownership and use.

Roll on Saturday…

 

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