While the widespread use of electric vehicles to take the Big Lap may be a few years off yet, an increasing number of grey nomads are dipping a tentative toe into the Hybrid world.
Peter and Trish Martin are among them. After 13 years and 300,000 kilometres travelling with their trusty Subaru Tribeca, the couple recently bought a Toyota Kluger Hybrid … and they couldn’t be happier.
“We tow a Bailey Pursuit caravan 2016 (430-4) model assembled in Australia,” said Peter. “This has proved easy to tow as it is a lightweight van, but still has room for a full ensuite.”
He says the Tare is 1220kg and the ATM 1520kg.
“We are careful with the weight we add and have it checked at weighbridges,” said Peter. “And we travel at around 90km/h, providing the roads are in good condition.”
The couple recently took a trip from their base in Bendigo up to Yenda in the Riverina to meet friends and to stock up the wine cellar.
“From there we travelled to Hilston (not a good road from Griffith to Hilston) through Cobar, Bourke, Cunnamulla and Charleville,” said Peter. “Towing in this area with the Hybrid was comfortable, and fuel use was around 11 litres per 100 kilometres.”
However, heading back down the coast Peter and Trish experienced some strong headwinds.
“When going up a steep incline into the wind there was a fair amount of noise generated from the petrol and the electric traction engines,” said Peter. “Overall, the Hybrid handled the conditions well and fuel use was much lower than previous trips.”
He says that over the whole trip, which was 7,160km over seven weeks, fuel use was 11.16 litres per 100 kilometres, and that the car dashboard average figure was 10.6L/100km.
On a similar trip in their Subaru, they would have used 16.39L/100 km.
The couple generally stay in caravan parks on powered sites as they do not have much water storage in their van.
“We like to have good amenities in campgrounds,” said Peter. “And we like caravan parks which have larger sites even though our van is more compact than many we see.”
When back in Victoria, the pair love to take trips out to the Grampians and Bright, or along the Murray River. But now that their fuel costs look like they’ll be lower than ever, more trips north to enjoy the winter warmth beckon.
Their favourite destination is Queensland where they say they can still do their favourite things throughout the ‘cooler’ months.
“We enjoy bushwalking and walking along beaches,” said Peter. “We find it therapeutic.”
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