– By Marc Sibbald –
One of the best stands at the 2017 Australasian Fleet Conference and Exhibition was by Mitsubishi. They had the Outlander PHEV on display and next to it was a tent. I thought it was a different approach and was a link to the Mitsubishi current ad campaign ‘living in the back of the car’.
But there was also a large spot light and flashing traffic lights which didn’t have any link to the TV commercial.
So when I started talking to Craig Norris from Mitsubishi about the recent announcement from Western Power that they had purchased 12 Outlander PHEVs, he quickly explained the link to the tent and traffic signals.
They were demonstrating the obvious. That the PHEV (and other hybrid cars) have a battery can power things.
It was at that moment that I realised that I, and most other people in the industry, had never made this connection. We were too busy focusing on the running costs and the different powertrain. There is so much more.
Norris explained how emergency services fleets in Japan had been using the battery power to provide lighting and other services at the scene of accidents and major events. There are hours of useful power sitting in the car that can be used to power anything.
I started to see how this could be used for a range (pun intended) of other activities including camping and recreation. No need for aftermarket dual battery setups with the Outlander PHEV when you go camping.
The conversation then lead into the broader power grid and how the Outlander PHEV could possibility plug into the house when you arrive home from work and supplement the household energy consumption in peak periods. It’s probably not the cheapest source of electricity but it’s being generated on the drive home from the office anyway.
It was the same week that Tesla was in the new for their new solar panel roof tiles and just one week after the Western Power announcement so my mind was racing with possibilities. I felt embarrassed that my thinking was so confined to the fleet-only benefits of a hybrid vehicle and not the endless possibilities that this display had presented.
So well done to Craig Norris and the team at Mitsubishi for being innovative.