The One

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Entries in mpg (11)


Tips for good gas mileage

I've got some experience under my belt now with driving the FFH for good gas mileage.  I haven't been able to achieve the phenomenal 84+ mpg that Wayne Gerdes and Ford did in driving 1440+ miles on one tank, but I've been able to average a respectable 41 mpg or so over the last 6 days / 175 miles, which means I still have 3/4 of a tank left.  Here are some tips/techniques I've developed for achieving good mileage without going to extremes.

  1. Go downhill.  I get better mileage on the way to work (51 mpg) than on the way home (36 mpg). Today, I stopped for coffee on the way to work and from the coffee shop (near my house) to work I got 71 mpg.
  2. Avoid hills.  You can get much more consistent results and achieve longer pulse and glides (see below) when its flat and open.
  3. Avoid highways.  The engine turns on at 47 mph and gas mileage goes down.
  4. Go on the highway.  Too much stop-and-go traffic, or hilly back roads, reduces mileage so the highway can be a better choice.
  5. Drive like an old lady.  You must try and stay in electric (EV) mode whenever possible, which means pulling away from stops slowly, coasting whenever possible, and braking slowly to allow for regen.
  6. Drive like a race car driver.  Take corners fast so you don't lose as much speed coming out of the turn.  The FFH handles nicely around corners.
  7. Creep along slowly.  When you're in a parking lot or driving up your driveway, take it slow and don't get out of EV mode.  Let the car slow down topping a hill if it means you can stay in EV mode.
  8. Drive as fast as possible.  When you've got a good hill to build up speed and a good run-out at the end or another hill, build up some speed on the way down so you can coast as far as possible.
  9. Keep it in "Drive".  When you've built up too much speed, you can scrub off some speed productively by braking lightly enough to activate regen without actually using the brakes.
  10. Put it in "Neutral".  If you've got a decent stretch of road to coast on, you'll get more distance if you slip the transmission into neutral, but you won't get any brake regen.  You can put the FFH back into "Drive" at any time without hurting the transmission.
  11. Pulse and glide.  Select a speed range (eg 30 - 45) and accelerate slowly up to 45 then coast down to 30 (with or without going into neutral - see above) and repeat.
  12. Feather the gas pedal.  Let it off a little just to get back to EV mode. Keep your speed up as high as you can without getting out of EV mode.
  13. Use the Empower gauge - you can see at a glance how close you are to turning on the gas engine.
  14. Turn off the A/C.  I have noticed a difference with A/C on or off in how easy it is to stay in EV mode.  You can also turn it on but leave the fan on low.
  15. Be patient.  It takes discipline not to revert to old habits.  But be sensitive to the cars behind you too and don't force them to get good mpgs ;-)

With these techniques you can improve gas mileage.  But it takes concentration and can be frustrating.  At times I just want to step on it and get moving!

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