Fast charging a hybrid

Fast charging a hybrid
Outlander PHEV charging

Less than a year ago I cashed in my shiny new hybrid Camry for a used Mitsubishi outlander plug-in hybrid. I haven't looked back. A compromise between petrol and electric,  it gets only 30km on its 10kWh battery, and 550km combined with the petrol motor providing charge and drive at higher speeds.

Personally, I'd have rather bought a full battery electric vehicle, but price for size led me to the outlander, which is bigger than most available EVs, far cheaper, and much more available.

Most days I don't use more than the 30km, or only slightly more. Occasionally though, I take a trip down to Sydney and that uses more than 10kWh. Today, I decided once I got to the motorway to put the car in "save" mode, which means it starts operating as a self charging hybrid would, or how it would operate if empty of charge - alternating between charging using the petrol engine and discharging, keeping the level of charge relatively the same.

This meant when I reached the end of the motorway I could cruse the city streets on electric power all the way to my destination - effectively restricting my emissions to the open highway alone. This, of course left me with little charge remaining when I reached my destination, but thankfully there's an ampol service station nearby with a CHAdeMO rapid charger, and I was alone for the return trip.

After filling up my car with petrol, as I occasionally do,I headed over to the rapid charger. The nice blue parking spaces make you feel like royalty. I proceeded to plug the correct charger into my car and open the Amp Charge app (which I had prepared earlier, thankfully) and hit "start charge". Well, I must have tried that 5 times and reconnecting the charger and looking mighty stupid before I realised I had selected the CCS charger, not the CHAdeMO one. Once I got the right charger we were off. I locked the car (I was thankful that worked, because it didn't on earlier models) and headed into the store. I took my time but ended up with a hot meat pie and ice coffee which I took back to the car.

The APM Charge App giving me.a choice of chargers

I remembered that switching on the accessories cancels charging, and sensing rain on the way I had shut all the windows. Now I had to open the door to get some fresh air. I enjoyed eating my pie and watching the world go by. With the door open the dash displayed the charge level, as did the display on the charger itself, and the app,  though none of them gave a time estimate. I finished my dinner and went back inside to use the store bathroom.

How my charge went

I prepared myself for another ten minutes or so until completion, but at that moment I heard it switch off and confirmed that it had stopped at 80%. Apparently this is standard procedure as the charging must slow as the battery nears capacity. This makes great sense when you've got a full BEV and that extra 20% might take another hour, and it isn't needed to get you where you need to go, but when you're charging a PHEV, it certainly feels like you don't get enough.

I had considered washing the car at the car wash, but the drops of rain on my windshield and the lighting on the horizon told me that would be a waste of time. I got back on the road and was pleasantly surprised to find myself  all the way at the north end of NorthConnex still running on battery power.

That charge was expensive at 60c/kW (more than 3x my home charge rate, when the sun isn't shining) totalling nearly $2.50, but it got me nearly 25km, so 10c/km. Since my car usally uses around 8L/100km, and petrol is mighty expensive at $1.90/L that costs me around 15c/km, so this was still cheaper than using petrol, and even though the electricity is generated in a dirty manner, it's still somewhat better for the environment than straight up burning the dinosaurs in my car directly.