July 14, 2024

2024 Mazda CX-90 Long-Term Update: From Being Charged to Becoming the Charger

Following an unexpectedly mild winter, I was taken by surprise last week when our utility company decided to shut down our entire substation for emergency maintenance at 8 p.m. on a Friday. Despite this inconvenience, the weather was pleasant and I had no urgent plans that required electricity. However, my phone battery was running dangerously low, with only a single-digit percentage remaining. While some of my neighbors turned to generators, I decided to explore a closer option.

My long-term 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV was parked in the backyard, freshly charged early in the morning to avoid peak utility rates. Although using a plug-in hybrid car as a phone charger may seem environmentally questionable, the situation called for it. As I connected my phone to the car, I had a makeshift charging station set up with the car doors open, creating a relaxing atmosphere for the evening.

The warm weather allowed me to avoid using the climate control, ensuring optimal charging conditions for my phone without activating the gasoline engine. Considering the Mazda’s battery capacity, I estimated it could potentially charge my phone over 700 times. Despite the energy inefficiencies of idling the car, it was still a viable solution for my phone charging needs.

A major drawback of PHEVs is their reliance on being plugged in to fully utilize their electric capabilities. With a level 2 charging setup at home, the Mazda can be fully charged in under 2½ hours, providing 26 miles of electric range. This allows for efficient use during short trips or frequent errands, minimizing the need for gas engine operation. However, the weight of the PHEV may limit its performance, as the electric motor alone is not designed for high-speed capabilities.


Q: Can a plug-in hybrid car be used as a phone charger in emergency situations?

A: Yes, a plug-in hybrid car can serve as a temporary phone charger during power outages or emergencies, providing a convenient backup power source.

Q: How long does it take to charge a plug-in hybrid car at home?

A: With a level 2 charging setup, a plug-in hybrid car like the Mazda CX-90 PHEV can be fully charged in under 2½ hours, allowing for efficient electric driving capabilities.

In conclusion, utilizing a plug-in hybrid car as a temporary power source for charging devices can be a practical solution in emergency situations. While PHEVs offer environmental benefits when fully charged and utilized efficiently, their performance may be limited by factors such as weight and electric motor capabilities. Overall, the versatility of PHEVs makes them a versatile option for both everyday driving and unexpected power needs.

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