The blog describes our trips and experiences towing a Goldstream Crown camper around with our Mitsubishi Outlander Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

Monday, February 20, 2017

Picking up the van and First trip - Castlemaine

With the PHEV now sporting a new RedArc electric brake controller and a 12 pin trailer socket wired for 12V caravan battery and fridge (both courtesy of Boronia Auto Electrical Service - no affiliation but they did a great job), we picked up the new van on Thursday from Pakenham, about 50km east of home. The electrics were perfect!

The old weight distribution hitch (WDH) from the Super Snipe was on the wrong angle and I nearly had a hernia putting the first bar (of four) on the PHEV. So we bought a Hayman Reece chain type WDH from Goldstream and fitted it. It gave us nice control over the ball weight.

Fully loaded I reckon the van is just under the maximum rated towing load for the PHEV - 1500kg.

Saturday came around and our first trip out with the van was to Castlemaine, about 150km north by north west of where we live in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

That meant going up the Calder highway, which is not a steep climb but it's a slow sneaks-up-on-you climb that goes on for many kilometers. On hot days, the Super Snipe always got pretty hot (engine wise) on a Calder trip - so it's a good test. Other folk at work have also noted that it's a petrol sucking climb for the first 45 minutes when towing.

Fully charged, we ran on battery power from home (plus a bit of petrol - more later) until the remaining EV range was 15km then switched to "save"* mode. At this point we had only travelled 15km. For the next 15 minutes, the EV range gradually dropped to 10km then recovered to 12 then down to 10km again. I had to stop shortly after hitting the Calder to adjust towing mirrors (another story) and I shut the car off while I got out - mistake!
When I re-started the PHEV, save mode was off and before I knew it I had 7km of EV remaining. We hadn't really started the slow Calder climb yet...
(An known annoyance with the PHEV is that it does not "remember" that you hit save when you power it off then on again.)

I hit "Save" but 15 minutes later we were down to 3 km EV range then another 10 minutes - none. I switched to "Charge" but the battery range stayed steadfastly on "--.--" for the rest of the drive up the Calder highway. It wasn't until we finally slowed to 60 km in Castlemaine an hour later that we got back 4km of battery range.

It should be noted that at no time did I "run out of power". I'll document my conclusions after the next post describing our drive back home the following day and my more-intense observations about what the PHEV graphics told me was going on.

*The Outlander PHEV has two big button near the handbrake marked "SAVE" and "CHRG".

SAVE attempts to hold the battery State Of Charge at about the same value it was when you engaged save.
CHRG attempts to charge the battery up to around 85% then hold it at that point.
If neither of these buttons are engaged the PHEV uses all the accessable battery power then holds it at a minimum value (around 27% - but gauge says empty).

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