Mom, grandmother, and evening-shift rideshare operator Terry Krech owns and operates a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) that has traveled 160,000 miles without the need for repair. The only operating costs she has incurred other than energy and insurance is the minimal routine maintenance the vehicle was designed to need. Ms. Krech has recently traded to a newer 2019 Outlander PHEV, and thus, has had a perfect ownership experience with regard to vehicle upkeep.
In just two short years, Terry racked up 160,000 miles in her 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, driving between 150-250 miles each day, averaging 35 MPG, and providing more than 10,000 rides. She operates a ride-share business and drives the night shift in snowy Minnesota. "I like to think that I have a purpose in my life and that is to help people get home safely. I mainly drive between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., because that's when people need rides the most." She explained her unusual job and vehicle needs this way: "This is my full-time job, so fuel economy and efficiency are important to me. I typically get 35 MPG, often 38-40 MPG. I track everything in my notebook – expenses, dates, times, distances. I can switch back and forth between eco mode, battery-save mode, and battery-charge mode using the regenerative braking system, just by clicking buttons. That makes it easy (and fun) to operate, even for me. Reliability is also important to me, and electric motors tend to last a long time." The Outlander PHEV has an EPA-estimated all-electric range of 22 miles, after which it operates a gas-electric hybrid with a total range of 310 miles.
In a recent series of focus stories, we have highlighted how plug-in hybrid electric vehicles offer many of the same advantages that battery-electric vehicles do, but without the range, charging, and price downsides. Our comparison of the maintenance costs of the Toyota RAV4 Prime to the Tesla Model Y showed the Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV to have an estimated cost of maintenance lower than the Tesla battery-electric vehicle. Similarly, our analysis of the RAV4 Prime's reduced need for repairs showed a similar result. And we are not alone. Consumer Reports concludes that PHEVs beat BEVs when it comes to low cost of maintenance and repair.
Kia, Hyundai, Ford, Honda, and other manufacturers are planning to join Toyota and Mitsubishi this year in offering AWD plug-in hybrid electric vehicles priced in an affordable range. Watch Torque News for updates on these new green vehicle options.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Image Note: Top of page image for reference only. Second image courtesy of Mitsubishi