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Brand New Owner with Questions


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27 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Tanderny

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 06:29 AM

Hi There,

 

I've leased a 2015 energi and so far, after 3 weeks, I love it.  I've been reading this forum to try and improve my efficiency but haven't made significant improvements so far so thought I'd toss out a few pleas for advice. I live in SE Michigan so will be dealing with cold temps for the next several months.

 

My commute is about 20 miles each way, with about 14 miles on the freeway. In the mornings, the traffic levels are reasonable and I don't hit many slowdowns.  In the afternoons, however, the first 5-6 miles of my freeway drive tend to be stop and go. Of course, a single accident either way and all bets are off.  I do not have a charging option at work so just have the overnight charge to go on.

 

So far, I've experimented with a few things. I've tried starting the journey in auto and then switching to EV later a mile or two before I hit the expressway.  I seem to get a little more bang for my battery buck that way but not that much.  My overall MPG is at about 59 or so but seems to be trending down.

Using the driving coach display, I seem to have problems with "cruising", especially when the freeway is clear.  My braking seems to be getting better - I think that's just going to be a matter of practice. Same with acceleration; as long as I'm consciously thinking about it, I do okay.  If I'm not, I'll bang the gas pedal and see a yellow line.  I'm coming from a MB C-class so it's definitely a VERY different way of driving that I'm trying to learn. :-)

 

So, questions:  

 

1. What are the most important things I should be working on to improve my efficiency? 

2. How do I improve my cruising scores, especially on the freeway?  Also - why is this important (other than I'm not actively burning gas)

3. What is the best way to use my EV time during my typical commute?

 

There's a chance they'll be installing some charging ports here at work in the new year, which would be great. In the meantime, I want to do the best I can with what I have.

 

Oh, and tangent question: I plug in overnight at home. Some mornings, my battery will say fully charged and indicate I have a 20 mile range. Other mornings, it will say 19 or even 17.  I've had one day where it gave me 21. What gives?  No change in temp from yesterday morning (20) to this morning (17).

 

Thanks so much from a newbie!

 

Teri

 

 

 

 

 

 









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#2 OFFLINE   GS Dave

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 06:37 AM

The cruising coach is pretty much based on speed.  If you are traveling at expressway speeds, you will not be able to get good scores at all.  There is no way around it other than to pick a route to work where you speed is at around 45mph or less.  

 

The range on the guage will fluctuate with temperature as well as you driving score from the previous trip or two(I am not sure how this one works, maybe someone else can chime in).

 

The best thing for efficiency is slow starts, brake early, keep the speeds down.  If you want to increase range, try to avoid using the HVAC when on electric only, especially the heater and defroster(you need to see though).



#3 OFFLINE   Binky

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 07:02 AM

Some of us are ridiculous with this so you need to determine how hardcore you want to go.  Some people just want to live their lives.   I like making my commute into a resource management game.

 

The scoring system isn't necessarily the most efficient way to drive and there are members here that get far superior mileage compared to those of us that live and die by the scoring system.  For instance, for the Cruising bar on the coach serves a purpose, but is over zealous at times.   If you're actually driving the vehicle with the driveline engaged, it makes perfect sense.  If however you're coasting in neutral (illegal in some states) and you exceed 37/38 miles per hour, you begin to lose points on that bar, despite the free use of gravity and inertia helping you move instead of fuel/electricity.   That part annoys the hell out of me.

 

Braking has the biggest affect on your score.  You need to do a lot of planning ahead and know how long it will take to come to a stop.  Utilize the Low when needed and hill assist as required to manage speed on the way down to 0.    On highways, I stay to the right.  Oddly enough, I get to work in the same amount of time roughly that it'd take me in my Mustang or Mazdaspeed3 driving like an idiot.   You want to keep speed down.

 

Another thing I've been trying to do as winter comes, is finding the shortest possible route with the least hills.   My commute if I take the highway is 16.1 miles.  If I take back roads it's 15.7, and due to the slower speeds, I end up here with 2 more miles estimated on my battery.   It also takes about the same amount of time, particularly if the highway is clogged.    Doing this has provided me with a score of 99 in the Renaissance Man rankings on My Ford Mobile, so it works.    You'll need to adjust accordingly.

 

Another thing that most people fail to think of at first is planning routes around your daily/weekly needs that have L2 EVSE's.   Think about it this way, you need to go grocery shopping anyway, why not find a grocery market on the way home that has a L2 charger near by.  Whole Foods seems to be big on that for instance.    During Lunch is typically where I charge for my second round.  Main charger I use is a mile away.  I walk back to work and back to the car after work.   That's 2 miles of exercise, and a total of 24-30 minutes of brisk walking that I need anyway for cardio-vascular health that I wouldn't get in otherwise. 

 

Basically anything that you normally spend an hour or so doing a week, (lunch, gym, shopping, ect) try to find a charger within a short walk from. 

 

As for your battery range.. like Dave mentioned, HVAC system will mess with it.  CT has been in the 20's-40's and I end up with 25 miles a day or so but I use no heating in the car.   I preheat the cabin on the L2 EVSE in the afternoon and it's comfortable until I get home.   I use the seat heaters almost exclusively and wear gloves.  I'd prefer to have the range if I can keep warm in other ways.

 

If you have to drive at higher speeds, use EV later a mile or two before you get on the highway and use the car in hybrid mode until speed goes back below 40 mph.

 

Accelerate in a slow but linear fashion.

 

Setup your My View for the Coach and Engine temp.  When engine temp hits the center of the gauge you can use heating/defogging with out a battery hit.   With heating, utilize the recirculation and turn it off once the cabin is warmed up.   Turn it back on as needed.


Edited by Binky, 19 December 2014 - 11:04 AM.


#4 OFFLINE   fotomoto

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 07:03 AM

The cruising coach isn't necessarily telling you that you're the problem it's your route/speed.   

 

Save battery for low speeds. 

Switch from EV later to EV Auto/Now anytime you need to come to a stop or dramatically slow down on the highway, you'll bank "free" EV miles.  Switch back to EV later upon resuming acceleration (easy to forget this step). 

Cold temps and winter gas will reduce gas mpg.  Not much you can do about that except look into grill blocking (do a search).

Your ev miles and gas mpg will come up considerably with spring.

Start lobbying now for charging at work on 120v.  No infrastructure for them to add and only cost pennies a day.  Agree on a monthly rate and donate the money to the company's favorite charity if they don't want the hassle of collecting it from you.



#5 OFFLINE   fotomoto

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 07:13 AM

HVAC temps=watch out!  LOL  

 

Use the climate usage screen to monitor kWh usage.  You'll be surprised at how much the electric heater can draw.  You'll need to make decisions on how best to handle this personally.  Use EV later immediately to get the ICE running and provide quick heat?  Or pre-condition and use seat heaters to get by until the highway leg when you switch over to EV later with engine heat?  Decisions, decisions.....   



#6 OFFLINE   dr61

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 07:49 AM

Important to remember that the battery charge level and 'miles' number are different, even though they are superimposed on the display.  The 'miles' number is a computer estimate based on battery charge level, temperature, climate control settings, and how efficiently you drove on the previous few drives.  It can vary considerably so don't take the number too seriously.  I have seen mine vary from 14 to 28 miles with a full charge.



#7 OFFLINE   bro1999

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 08:01 AM

1 thing I've noticed: if you even breathe on the defroster button, the engine will switch on. I've tried to turn it on at a lower setting, but the ICE comes on without fail no matter what.

 

Also, you might try setting up "Go times". It will precondition the cabin in time for whatever departure time you set, and may also help warm the battery a little in the process, resulting in better efficiency out of the battery.



#8 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 08:14 AM

All great answers here, I'm happy to see many folks are learning how to use these cars to their best ability!  :smile2:

 

I would say to you look around the garage at work and see if you can find any 110v outlets.  If you can ask if you can use it and if so use your stock charger to recharge the battery while at work back to 100%.  I would highly recommend that you get a 14 gage 25ft extension cord (Home Depot has them) and use that to bring the outlet to inside the car, plug in the charger and leave it inside the car, and run the wire back out to your plug on the car to charge.  This will protect the charger from being stolen, I lost one last month because some people have no morals and they saw easy money opportunity taking my charger.

 

Some people like to lock it under the hood, but I've just placed mine on the floor in the driver side and ran the cords under the door rubber seals.  

 

If you can charge at work and you do a lot of the things that Binky said you'd be able to go to work and come home gas free.  20 miles is well within reach of this car even in the dead of winter.

 

-=>Raja.


Edited by rbort, 19 December 2014 - 08:17 AM.


#9 OFFLINE   jeff_h

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 08:17 AM

1 thing I've noticed: if you even breathe on the defroster button, the engine will switch on. I've tried to turn it on at a lower setting, but the ICE comes on without fail no matter what.

 

To prevent it as much as possible, I switch to EV-Now and then turn on the middle button for panel and then also the top button for defrost -- in my experiences that help prevent the ICE from coming on, don't think it is a 100% guard against it but is the best combo I've found.



#10 OFFLINE   fotomoto

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 08:28 AM

To prevent it as much as possible, I switch to EV-Now and then turn on the middle button for panel and then also the top button for defrost -- 

 

Agreed.  I can even use EV auto mode and not get an ICE start with defrost.  I also set the temp to L in another HVAC mode first.  I think it's most likely a combination of ambient and battery temps forcing an ICE assist.



#11 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 09:39 AM

To prevent it as much as possible, I switch to EV-Now and then turn on the middle button for panel and then also the top button for defrost -- in my experiences that help prevent the ICE from coming on, don't think it is a 100% guard against it but is the best combo I've found.

I get a warning that the Engine is Enabled, but the ICE doesn't actually start unless I use too much pedal.



#12 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 09:49 AM

You've gotten some good suggestions here. This is what I do when I need to go on the freeway for short distances:

 

1. Always use EV Now on the surface streets. The idea is to plan such that you have sufficient range for the entire trip for each end.

2. Switch to EV Later for the freeway. Unless there is an uphill and downhill, it is most efficient. If you have a large hill, you can switch to auto for part or all of the uphill, and recover most of that energy on the way back down (providing the battery meter is blue and the ^ indicator is above it). But that really depends on the type of hill and the grades on each side.

3. At a minimum, when exiting the freeway, go to EV Now as soon as you begin the off ramp braking. This will add some EV time to the battery. It is also possible to switch to Auto during hard freeway braking (then switch back to EV Later, thus recapturing some energy), but that can be distracting - the first job is to drive! EDIT: Use the L when exiting the freeway if possible - it provides more regen.

4. Watch the traffic and try to stay off the brakes. Don't go any faster above the speed limit than you have to. Speed is the MPG killer for this, and most, cars.

5. Remember, except for the freeway on ramp, use as little pedal as you can to accelerate - the electric is no different that the gas engine when it comes to energy use - the more you press the pedal, the more energy you use. Obviously, you don't want to impede traffic.

6. When braking, try to do it slowly - the opposite of a normal car - so that the energy can be recovered.

 

Some of these are contrary to "hypermiler" techniques (especially the slow braking - they like to coast in neutral). I just try to get good mileage, and coasting is illegal in CA.


Edited by stevedebi, 19 December 2014 - 09:53 AM.

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#13 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 03:48 PM

Steve, what you learned in the other post, just remember if you are trying to bank battery miles you should do it only after you confirm that you are above the set percentage otherwise it has a negative effect on battery charge level.

With that being said you don't have to cycle ev later before braking to get off the freeway or using L. You can cycle it at the stop sign at the end of the ramp if it makes sense or its a delta positive.

-=^Raja.

#14 OFFLINE   drdiesel1

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 10:38 PM

I recommend raising tire pressure. They're rated for 51 psi and I run 55.

IMO, the door label is just way to low.


Edited by drdiesel1, 19 December 2014 - 10:38 PM.


#15 OFFLINE   Tanderny

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 03:18 PM

Wow, thanks everyone! Lots of great tips to try out in the coming year. I do have an alternative route I can try that's about the same mileage but no highway - I'll have to give that a shot. I also plan to flex my start and quit times a bit to see if avoiding rush hour helps any - although it would seem the stop and go might be my battery's friend. :-)

No garage at the office, Raja. Just a large lot surrounding the building so no 120v option, unfortunately. The company I work for, an ad agency, has gotten very serious about going green and there are more than a few of us with plug-in C-MAX or Fusions so I'm hopeful. While density of charging stations in the area is fairly low, I'm hoping more start popping up. With all of the plug-in Fords and Volts in the area (Detroit is nothing if not a "company" town!), they'll have to start adding more sooner or later. Ford has plenty around their headquarters- hopefully they'll add some on my side of the highway.

One question: when some of you refer to "using L", are you referring to that position on the transmission?

Thanks!

#16 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 05:43 PM

Tanderny:

 

This car shines in traffic, you'll be grinning ear to ear driving through all that while other people in traffic and idling the motors and going through gas.  It feels the same way to me when I'm in line in Dunkin Donuts or some other place like that.  I'm dead silent and everyone else around me is running, what a nice change this car is!!

 

L is "Low" gear on the shifter.  Use to to slow down the hardest without using the brakes as using the brakes too hard will use the friction pads.  Its a training gear for you, I used to use it all the time and never use the brakes but over time you learn to brake properly without digging into the friction pads and now I just use it when conditions call for it, coming off the highway to a ramp or going down a steep hill for example to hold the car from running away with speed.

 

-=>Raja.



#17 OFFLINE   drdiesel1

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 08:01 PM

On hills you should use the DHA feature :shift:



#18 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 08:20 AM

Dr diesel:

 

I'd say yes on shallow hills but not on steeper ones.  Hill assist can only hold the car with shallower hills, once they become steep it seems to let the car overspeed.  I'm saying using L to maintain the speed so you get better mpge numbers as letting the car run away and back down to the speed I found less mpge for the same distance traveled due to more friction.

 

-=>Raja.



#19 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 01:57 PM

Steve, what you learned in the other post, just remember if you are trying to bank battery miles you should do it only after you confirm that you are above the set percentage otherwise it has a negative effect on battery charge level.

With that being said you don't have to cycle ev later before braking to get off the freeway or using L. You can cycle it at the stop sign at the end of the ramp if it makes sense or its a delta positive.

-=^Raja.

Raja,

I was above the set percentage. What I've discovered is that even then it costs MPG. When the mileage is "banked" back into EV Later, the car lost MPG on the instant meter.

 

As to the going to EV Now, I do it on the off ramp to make sure I remember to switch to EV Now. I've forgotten a couple of times!



#20 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 04:55 PM

As to the going to EV Now, I do it on the off ramp to make sure I remember to switch to EV Now. I've forgotten a couple of times!

 

Yes but sometimes it doesn't count!  Here is an example.  You're driving on the highway and push EV later at 55% remaining charge.  The car runs the engine and stops it as needed as you go up and down hills.  You reach a point on the highway where its a shallow downgrade, the battery is at 54% but the engine shuts off as you have room to the downside.  You're going downhill on the battery, it goes on for a little bit and now you're at 51% and your on-ramp is coming.  You switch to EV later and get on the ramp, but you switch at 51%.  You brake, regen all the way to 53% at the end of the ramp.  You cycle back to EV later but now you're at 53% instead of the original 55%, you actually LOST 2% of the bank instead of gaining any.

 

Make sense?  If you're trying to bank any excess charge, you must cycle EV later ONLY when the charge level indicated in MFT is 56 or 57%, no other option other than that.  Anything lower, 55 does nothing and 54 or less you lose charge.  However, if you lose charge down to 53% new setting, the engine does not have to recharge the HVB past 55% now, before the limit was 57%, now its 55% (the setting plus 2% max) so now your gas mileage goes up a little bit on the account of using 2% battery charge.

 

-=>Raja.


Edited by rbort, 22 December 2014 - 04:57 PM.









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