The One

Build your own FFH
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No FFH yet :-(

So I spoke to the dealer Thursday and the car was on the loading dock at 2AM Thursday.  It didn't arrive at the dealer until Friday (today), but they could not prep it today.  So I was to pick it up Saturday.  Then the salesman called and told me the only guy who is certified to prep an FFH is out sick until Monday.



Hybrid tax credit and AMT

For those who are worried that they won't qualify for the hybrid tax credit ($3400 if bought before Mar 31, $1700 after) because of AMT, there is good news!  The 2009 stimulus package removes the AMT exclusion for the hybrid tax credit.  See this article in USA Today (at the end of the article) for details.


Pulse and Glide

I've been learning about "pulse and glide".  This is a technique used by dedicated hypermilers like Wayne Gerdes at to dramatically increase gas mileage.

Pulse and glide (P&G) is a bit unintuitive.  I had always assumed the best way to get good gas mileage was to maintain steady yet light pressure on the accelerator, keeping the revs low and allowing the car to slow down going up hills and speed up going down.  The idea behind P&G is that you drive within a range of MPH, say 30-45 mph.  First you accelerate to the upper limit (the "pulse"), then you release the accelerator somewhat and "glide".  You try to maintain an average MPG figure that's higher than normal.  For instance, if you pulse for 20 seconds at 15mpg, then glide for 20 seconds at 45mpg, you should get 30mpg during that P&G cycle.  You need an instantaneous mpg readout to do this.

To increase mileage during the glide phase, avid hypermilers will put the car in neutral during the glide.  By putting the car in neutral you can keep engine revs low and eliminate engine drag.  This means that you must put the car in drive again before the next pulse, which depending on your car may require you to match the revolutions of your engine with the car's speed.  The FFH does not require rev matching because of the transmission design.

The FFH doesn't have engine drag at low speeds; however when you lift off the accelerator below 47 mph the internal combustion engine turns off and the electrical engines go into battery regeneration mode which simulates engine drag to the driver.  You can add gas pedal pressure to reduce the amount of regen / drag but putting the FFH into neutral can reportedly give you a longer glide.  The downside is that in neutral there is no regen available even through braking.

I've tried P&G with my Audi A6 (although I usually don't put it in neutral during the glide). Its a difficult technique to use in traffic or stop and go conditions such as I have on my drive to work. I think it does increase mileage but only when I'm paying attention! That's the main issue - P&G requires a lot of concentration and dedication; and it can be frustratingly slow.  I'll report on P&G in the FFH once I get mine.


T -4 and counting

I spoke to the dealer today and my new FFH should be here on Tuesday or there-abouts.  Its in Ohio now.

I just ordered a 64gb flash drive from Amazon.  After researching the 6 or so models available, the Patriot looked to be the best overall.  I can fit my entire music collection on this drive, so I'll just put it in the FFH's usb port and forget about it, except for plugging it into the computer occasionally to update with any new music.

I plan to use my BlackBerry over stereo Bluetooth to play podcasts, Audible audio books, or stream internet radio.

I met a guy at work the other day who had spent thousands on setting up an extreme audiophile system in his truck cab.  While I don't think the Sony in the FFH will quite match his 5-channel, 1000 watt system with 12-inch subwoofer, Alpine DVD head unit and in-door soundproofing, I do think it will do 90% of the job!  :-)


CVT overview

Autobloggreen has an introductory article on continuously variable transmissions as seen in the FFH.


Ballmer gets one

Ford's CEO, Alan Mulally, delivered an FFH with the one millionth MS Sync system in it to Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft.  Nice present!  He will be in good company soon when I get my FFH.


Nice overview of Fusion hybrid system

This is a nice short overview of the Fusion's hybrid system:


MPG and safety too

One of the things I love about the FFH and Mercury Milan is that they are very safe cars.  In fact, they recently were selected as top safety picks by the IIHS:

To earn a Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must score top "good" ratings in the IIHS' offset frontal and side impact tests. They must also earn the top rating in a rear impact test that measures the effectiveness of seat and head restraints. Finally, since 2007, vehicles going through the IIHS regimen must have standard electronic stability control.

I noticed recently while browsing through the Fusion brochure that the Hybrid has a driver knee air bag.  The other Fusions do not.  Go figure!


Hybrid is on its way

Last Monday I called Ford Customer Care (1-800-392-3673) and they said my car was starting production!  My dealer called Thursday and said it was finished, and was to be shipped soon.  Hoping to get it next week or the week after.


Plant delay

Thanks to member RWFFH10 who posted this unfortunate tidbit:

It appears there may be some delays with the Hermosillo plant due to the H1N1 flu out break. I'm wondering if this will add to the wait / ship time for vehicles already built in the last week or two. My Fusion was built the week of 4/20 and I was notified today to expect delivery the week of 5/24.

Looks like my FFH will be delayed somewhat.  Oh well, gives me more time to come up with the money!