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C-MAX Energi: Fuel Saving Tips and Tricks

fuel mileage driving tips

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#1 OFFLINE   C-MAX Guide

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:56 PM

We've added this new section so that other C-MAX Energi members can share their driving tips & tricks that have improved their mileage.

 

Please feel free to share your driving methods that you've used to maximize your C-MAX's efficiency! :superhero:

 

Bill









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#2 OFFLINE   DozerBob

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:56 PM

 My drive to work goes like this. It's a total of 62 miles one way, mostly on the freeways of Orange County and Los Angeles, Average 1 hour and 12 minutes driving time. It's downhill from our house to the freeway so I get a little extra charge on the big battery before I get to cruising. 23 or so indicated.

 

Leaving early allows me to run at a speed which gets the best mileage. At 5 in the morning I can run at 62 in the right lane, by myself. It's 5-7 lanes wide so people that want to go fast are to the left doing 75.

 

If I can get behind a truck, I'll do that. Some trucking companies hold their trucks at 55, so by getting behind them allows you to slow to their speed and keeps you from being the bad guy going 55 by yourself for no reason. Most other drivers will change lanes and pass you because they're not going to drive 55.

If you can get into the mindset that being behind a slow truck is a good thing for better mileage, your all set.

 

Now consider the wind resistance. Nascar drivers take advantage of it, and it can make a big difference. That big diesel truck is plowing through the air and in its wake is more free mpg. I'm not saying ride right on his tail, but follow comfortably for the conditions. 150 ft to 200ft. is where I go. Just be aware of your surroundings so you don't have to slam on your brakes and waste energi.

 

I use the Empower mode on the display. You can see the threshold when the ICE will start and watching the terrain ahead gives you clues of when to throttle up or back off to keep it from starting. If it does have to start because the battery indicator is low, then I get my speed up to help charge and then back off and glide under battery power as long as I can.

 

When I get off work its 3 o'clock and there is always traffic. Perfect for the big battery charge from the night before that I saved using the EV-later from this morning. 21 miles worth of electricity. By going easy on the throttle and brakes regen it gets me through the worst of it. If I can get up to 50 I try to save the battery

for when the traffic backs up again. EV+ is kicking in about 1/2 mile from our house.

 

I look forward to seeing what works for others!  DozerBob


Edited by DozerBob, 04 January 2013 - 07:02 PM.


#3 OFFLINE   robertlane

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:47 PM

There's no way that this forum would really have all of the answers as to why a vehicle is not shipping.  There could be thousands of reasons from a supplier shortage to Ford not being happy with a part or process, etc.



#4 OFFLINE   mightydog

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:55 PM

I find that if you drive 5 miles below the speedlimit that i see a big differnece in the MPG



#5 OFFLINE   pureenergi

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:57 AM

I used to hypermile my old first-gen Scion xB, so I have some experience here.  None of my manual trans tricks work here, so that's out.  One thing I used to do is pulse and glide, and that may help with this car as well - see regular C-Max forums for details on that.  But one area where it is ESPECIALLY useful is behind a truck, like DozerBob mentioned.  In order to not "ride" a truck's tail too much, I will sometimes do pulse and glide behind a truck.  Accelerate (pulse) up to get in a truck's slipstream, within safety margins, then glide back.  Overall, I'm not as close to the truck most of the time as if I was riding the slipstream at a constant speed, but you can't do this on a busy freeway.  The truckers never seem to mind, but other driver will be annoyed at this technique, plus you'll be in the right lane where someone could easily cut across you to make an offramp, so it's a more dangerous part of the highway.

 

Inflate tires to maximum PSI - some will even go up to 5 PSI over the max.  No safety dangers if you read multiple posts and studies on the subject - there was even a Mythbusters episode on it.  Possible increase in tire wear in the center section, but if you notice any, you can lower the pressure later on to use the full contact patch of the tire and wear that out.

 

I've been playing with the Grade Assist and Low gear to help me slow down.  Grade assist to help charge the battery on a gentle downhill, L gear when I want to charge the battery even faster when slowing down rapidly, if brake regen isn't enough to slow me down fast enough, or on a steep downhill.

 

Those are my tricks so far - 105mpg on the info display, but I have only had 3 trips in the past week that have depleted the plug-in battery and each of those were less than 50 miles total round trip.



#6 OFFLINE   mightydog

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

I used to hypermile my old first-gen Scion xB, so I have some experience here.  None of my manual trans tricks work here, so that's out.  One thing I used to do is pulse and glide, and that may help with this car as well - see regular C-Max forums for details on that.  But one area where it is ESPECIALLY useful is behind a truck, like DozerBob mentioned.  In order to not "ride" a truck's tail too much, I will sometimes do pulse and glide behind a truck.  Accelerate (pulse) up to get in a truck's slipstream, within safety margins, then glide back.  Overall, I'm not as close to the truck most of the time as if I was riding the slipstream at a constant speed, but you can't do this on a busy freeway.  The truckers never seem to mind, but other driver will be annoyed at this technique, plus you'll be in the right lane where someone could easily cut across you to make an offramp, so it's a more dangerous part of the highway.

 

Inflate tires to maximum PSI - some will even go up to 5 PSI over the max.  No safety dangers if you read multiple posts and studies on the subject - there was even a Mythbusters episode on it.  Possible increase in tire wear in the center section, but if you notice any, you can lower the pressure later on to use the full contact patch of the tire and wear that out.

 

I've been playing with the Grade Assist and Low gear to help me slow down.  Grade assist to help charge the battery on a gentle downhill, L gear when I want to charge the battery even faster when slowing down rapidly, if brake regen isn't enough to slow me down fast enough, or on a steep downhill.

 

Those are my tricks so far - 105mpg on the info display, but I have only had 3 trips in the past week that have depleted the plug-in battery and each of those were less than 50 miles total round trip.

Nice thanks



#7 OFFLINE   DonS

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:29 AM

Questions and a comment pureenergi:

 

1) Pulse and glide. The logic for that technique, as I understand, is that the ICE works most efficiently at a certain rpm. Pulse at that rpm (whatever it is) then glide and you optimize efficiency. Ideally eliminate engine braking during the glide by going in neutral. Does that logic apply while a car is in EV mode? 

 

2) Falling in and out of the slipstream pocket. I am not sure about the physics here and would love for someone who knows more to explain it to me but my guess is that the pocket itself is a low pressure zone but that the area immediately behind the pocket is a high turbulence area with higher average pressure and greater drag. (Moving that turbulent zone and it's consequent drag farther off the lead vehicle is how even a lead vehicle benefits from decreased drag in a pace line.) I know I have sometime felt the resistance and seen it in the instantaneous mpg reads in my last car (the Honda Civic hybrid) when I've approached the pocket and then entered it.

 

The comment: 105mpg. Better than I'm doing! Heck just having to run the defrost every so often is keeping me from gaining back to over 80 so fast. Kudos!



#8 OFFLINE   Shorttack

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:25 PM

Every new C-Max driver should multitask on a PC while watching this very informative, 25-minute C-Max Hybrid review. You'll see pulse-and-glide fully explained.

 

          "MPGomatic.com puts a 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid to a grueling 900+ mile test drive. [ Full Review: http://www.mpgomatic.com/ ]"

 

DonS, I can't find anybody talking about accelerating to a specific RPM as you'd do it with a manual transmission. In C-Max, I suggest accelerating to maybe 5 MPH over the speed limit, then "glide" by letting up the accelerator and going EV as far as you're willing to slow down.
 



#9 OFFLINE   DonS

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:51 PM

That's a nice review but the techniques really are relevant to the hybrid, or at least in charge sustain mode.

 

What I can find on line discusses that electric motors have fairly but not completely flat efficiency curves. Depending on the exact motor there may be some increased efficiency to pulse and glide if you knew the exact shape of its curve. See this discussion ( http://priuschat.com...e.101477/page-2 ) specifically post #25, for example. In that discussion it seems likely only marginally helpful at very low speeds. Otherwise "driving with load" (DWL) - essentially what Eco-Cruise does - seems to be the most efficient.

 

The big deal does seem to be staying under 65 mph, preferably at 60 or below, and dealing with the effects of cold weather on range. 



#10 OFFLINE   pureenergi

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

DonS:

 

1.  Not necessarily - although that may be true for certain cars, the main benefit to pulse and glide seems to be that the car is more efficient in acceleration than in simply maintaining a steady state RPM, and (possibly more importantly) there are always times when engine braking occurs while maintaining a "steady state" speed, unless you are a perfect driver, which no one is.  Pulse and glide eliminates almost all engine braking.  In this car, during "charge sustain" mode, you can *try* to use pulse and glide to pulse in EV then recharge on decal, using terrain and wind conditions as guides.  If you're good, you can probably hypermile using this technique using EV rather than engine as much as possible by watching the instruments.  Things like a thin, flexible shoe or even going barefoot in the summer can give you a finely tuned pedal foot.  Using techniques like this on EVmodder.com, I got my old Scion xB up to 45-55mpg regularly.  Doing this and some engine off coasting down hills.  Still learning how to hypermile this car in charge sustain, which I haven't used that much to be honest - only on two trips.  Most have been EV only.

 

2.  I use going in and out of the pocket to avoid getting tickets and annoying truckers.  I have used a ScanGauge type setup with a Kiwi Wifi OBD-II transmitter and the Rev app on my iPhone paired with it, so I can see the instantaneous MPG change (go up) as I enter the "pocket" and then go down as  I fall away from the pocket.  If you have the windows open, when you feel turbulence, that means you are saving MPG.  It's counterintuitive, but the instruments back it up.  Basically, what is seems like is that turbulence (intermittent buffets of air) are better than a solid wall of air to push through.  The downside, from what I've read, because nothing comes for free, is that you're creating more turbulence behind the truck driver, which slows them down, "pulling" them back in effect.  But they'll barely notice . . . 

 

105mpg: (thanks!) mostly short trips on EV only, but I have just been trying to drive naturally.  It's actually been an above-average week for my out-and-back mileage but I hope to do a longer trip this month that will lower my average but give me some opportunity to try that pulse and glide and charge sustain more.  I still plan to plug in where possible on that trip, but there will be a lot of highway miles.

 

 

Questions and a comment pureenergi:

 

1) Pulse and glide. The logic for that technique, as I understand, is that the ICE works most efficiently at a certain rpm. Pulse at that rpm (whatever it is) then glide and you optimize efficiency. Ideally eliminate engine braking during the glide by going in neutral. Does that logic apply while a car is in EV mode? 

 

2) Falling in and out of the slipstream pocket. I am not sure about the physics here and would love for someone who knows more to explain it to me but my guess is that the pocket itself is a low pressure zone but that the area immediately behind the pocket is a high turbulence area with higher average pressure and greater drag. (Moving that turbulent zone and it's consequent drag farther off the lead vehicle is how even a lead vehicle benefits from decreased drag in a pace line.) I know I have sometime felt the resistance and seen it in the instantaneous mpg reads in my last car (the Honda Civic hybrid) when I've approached the pocket and then entered it.

 

The comment: 105mpg. Better than I'm doing! Heck just having to run the defrost every so often is keeping me from gaining back to over 80 so fast. Kudos!



#11 OFFLINE   DonS

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:55 AM

Actually you are reducing his drag, and the more in the line the more his reduction as well. This much I know from cycling but you can read about it here http://www.explorato...odynamics2.html

 

"Suprisingly drafting not only helps the bicyclist following the leader, but the lead cyclist gains an advantage as well. Paul explained, "The interesting thing is by filling in her eddy you improve the front person's performance as well. So two people who are drafting can put out less energy than two individuals (who are not drafting) would covering the same distance in the same time." While the lead cyclist gains some advantage in this situation she still needs to expend much more energy than the cyclist who is following. ..." The longer the line the better for all, most of all for the one in the middle, but for all. It reduced the lower pressure area immediately behind the truck that sucks him back does something to the laminar flow that is beyond my comprehension. How big this effect is in the real world, I don't know, but it is the same reason why the hatchback design has lower drag.

 

 

Mythbusters found that riding 10 feet behind a big rig (dangerously close) increased mpg by 39%. Unrelated to increasing mpg as it is not safe but it does make wonder with increasing vehicle autonomy and vehicle to vehicle communication if highway ad hoc "trains" or pelotons of vehicles drafting that close to each other controlled together by communication with the lead vehicle, will be one way to increase interstate mpg eventually ...



#12 OFFLINE   Don

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:22 AM

While the lead cyclist gains some advantage in this situation she still needs to expend much more energy than the cyclist who is following

Beside having the lead how does the lead vehicle have an advantage when they have to expend more energy? When chosing "volunteers" to draft behind you are stealing their energy and forcing them to pay for more fuel. When done on the public roadway, without permission from the lead car/truck, it is unethical not to mention very dangerous (the reason it is illegal to tailgate).


Edited by Don, 06 January 2013 - 07:26 AM.


#13 OFFLINE   pureenergi

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:25 AM

I'll reiterate again that drafting is essentially a less-safe driving technique, especially the tongue-in-cheek suggestion in the quote below to have a long semi ride as close as possible behind you to eliminate your vacuum.  I pulse-and-glide at times up to a semi's "vacuum shadow" and then fall back in order to obtain a little more safety as well as not to annoy truckers.  I don't always want to be right up on them.  Although you get better MPG when you're dead, it's only because the pallbearers are not burning gasoline to get you to your final resting place . . . ;)

 

DonS, I'm going from discussions like this - I understand the bicycle effect as a former club rider myself, but only in vehicles of roughly similar aero profiles - the vacuum shadow is elongated and dissipated by the riders following you.  The big benefit though, of course, is that everyone takes turns "pulling" at the front (in terms of comparative effort, not that the guys behind are sucking him back in this scenario) and alternately recuperating.

 

Something different happens in vehicles with very different profiles - "Two vehicle drafting is not the same as pack drafting in NASCAR, or the pelloton in bicycle racing. In a two vehicle draft situation, the lead vehicle's vacuum "shadow" is "filled" by the parasitic vehicle, and thus the vacuum shadow of the lead vehicle is extended by about the length of the parasitic vehicle (at normal road speeds of up to 60 mph), because the presence of the parasitic vehicle prevents the rapid collapse of the vacuum shadow by pressurized air pushed out of the way by the lead vehicle. In effect, the vacuum shadow becomes longer and more turbulent for the lead vehicle, costing it mileage (or in NASCAR situations, top speed). In the case of vehicles of very different lengths and aerodynamic cross sections, the effect will be somewhat proportional to the order in which the vehicles run, i.e. a truck followed by a car will get a marginally longer, dirtier vacuum shadow with increased parasitic losses, whereas a passenger car drafted by a 40' long trailer truck will lose its vacuum shadow entirely in the length of the truck's following aero-profile. So, for best mileage, what car drivers would really want is to get big semis to tailgate them very closely -- if you're a mileage freak, you want 72,000 pounds of semi, complete with full aero-package and low boy trailer, on your bumper, all the time. Of course, your car will be a little bit aero-loose in such situations, and the semi will run right over you if you make the least mistake, but you'll get fuel economy worth engraving on your head stone!"

 

source: http://ask.metafilte...-a-drafting-car


Edited by pureenergi, 06 January 2013 - 08:21 PM.

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#14 OFFLINE   DonS

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:16 AM

Great quote and explanation! Thanks.



#15 OFFLINE   pureenergi

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:46 AM

Pumped the tires up to 51 PSI today.  Ride quality is still great, and it will be tough to say what effect there is on MPG as I'm still on Full and at about 120mpg of maybe 80-90% EV driving.  I also noticed, parking on a steep street this AM to go for a run in the hills, that even at 51 PSI, there was significant deformation of the tire on the curb - this is a heavy beast and you definitely don't want to keep the PSI too low or risk damaging those nice alloy rims! 

Still some tire deformation - heavy car, steep downhill curb, even at 51psi!


#16 OFFLINE   DozerBob

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

50+ MPG the easy way! After almost 3 weeks of 120 mile round trips to work I'm happy to report a consistent 50+ mpg, without the plugin feature. That's right, using EV-Later mode! On the freeways of Los Angeles and Orange County.  I'll try to explain how and why this works.

This first picture shows me at the start of my drive with battery capacity at 28 miles

IMG 2967[1]
I've got 28 mi Electric to use if I want and am at 1983.4 total miles on the car.
     When I got in my car after charging all night it read 25 miles, but after driving down a short hill it regenerated to 28. I switched to EV-later after taking the picture and left it there for the whole trip to work.
Here are my thoughts to consider.
1. I want to get the best gas mileage I can possibly get.
      Running on Electricity gives me the best mileage possible, therefore during this drive I'm going to try to travel as far as I can on Electricity especially when the  electric motor is the most efficient.
      The Electric motor is not very efficient going uphill. It takes more juice to push this car uphill due to its weight.
2. The gas engine gets bad gas mileage, but it can accelerate you uphills and increase your speed and charge your battery. 3 good things. What you don't want to do is cruise on the gas engine. I don't let it run for more than 1 minute at a time, If I can help it. You have the control. It's in your right foot. Use the Empower mode Display and your right foot to control the throttle. Don't use cruise control.
 
I'm going to call this technique, "Surfing". Just like in surfing, You use the waves to propel you. You will be using the waves, or small hills to decide when to use the ICE and when to go EV-Auto and "surf" down the hills.
 
 
      Get the car up to 68 and back off the throttle until the blue threshold comes on. Then don't let the center of the bold blue performance indicator get past it so as to stay in electric mode, easing off the throttle a bit as the Threshold Indicator slowly comes down. When I've slowed to 55 or so, I step on the accelerator and increase my speed, taking about 30 seconds to a minute to get back to 68. That way I've charged the hybrid battery back up so when I go to electric mode, the Threshold indicator will stay at about the second line on the KW indicator longer. That's what I do on flat stretches of road.
       Highways in the cities are not flat. There are undulations in the terrain caused by overpasses and underpasses, They are called "vertical curves" and are the result of elevation changes. Overpasses are usually a mile or so apart as they cross over roads below. Sometimes the freeway will go underneath a road and you will descend in elevation to go underneath a bridge.  
        Now Here's the "Surfing" trick, try to eyeball the road ahead so that you are at the top of an overpass when you are at 68 and you are backing off the throttle to go into electric mode. The electric motor is more efficient going downhill, even slightly and you can maintain your speed longer because it takes less KW or juice to go downhill. The C-Max is a heavy car and it's own mass going downhill is a big plus. The longer you can run the electric motor, the higher your mpg will be simply because electric mpg is way higher than than using the ICE. That is the crux of getting higher mpg. At the end of your trip you should see a definite increase in the percentage of EV-Miles used.
      Now if you see the road ahead is going uphill for an overpass, time it so you are firing up the ICE to propel you uphill and increasing your speed to the top.
If all you do is run the gas engine from the bottom of the hill to the top, and go electric from the tops down you will increase your mileage.
IMG 2969[1]
I ran 63.6 miles total 32.6EV and got 50.2 mpge in EV-Later mode
IMG 2968[1]
The 28 miles on the battery indicator was reduced to 24 even though I was in EV-Later the whole way.
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Edited by DozerBob, 19 January 2013 - 08:57 AM.

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#17 OFFLINE   fwroberts

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:58 PM

That's cool Bob! The press is bashing the C-Max because instead of 47mpg as advertised some people are reporting 37mpg. And you're consistently getting 50mpg without using the EV battery! Good job.

 

It takes a lot of paying attention to your driving. I'll try this "surfing" technique on my Monday commute.

 

Today though I made my first completely electric drive into Northampton from my home, and back! I found a charging station in Northampton (free charging, free parking!) and didn't burn a drop of gas today! Felt good to be able to do this, for sure.

 

Rick



#18 OFFLINE   DozerBob

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

 I couldn't be happier with this car. My mpge keeps going up everyday. I am getting a kick out of running in EV-Later mode the 63 miles to work and seeing what I can get out of this car for mpge. I can't recharge at work so I run the plug-in portion on the way home. Please check your mpge after your commute a few times and tell us your results. Thanks,  DozerBob



#19 OFFLINE   Shorttack

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:39 PM

I hit 50.0 MPGe this morning at about 550 miles on the clock. I'd post the photo but I can't seem to make that happen with Mac/Chrome. You guys will trust me, right?

 

Happy customer on the mileage front. I do a lot of around town errands. Use Eco-mode cruise control. It only takes a left paddle flip at 20 mph to put it back into eco-cruise.

 

I'm also happy with the 9% of my miles that are regen -- free!


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#20 OFFLINE   Don

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

I totally believe you. My wife is up to 59 MPGe. We picked up the car on the 19th of January with a full tank. We drove the car home from the dealer, about 45 miles away, and she commutes 25 miles to work and back each week day (she has been getting all the way to work on EV only). She also drove up to San Francisco (about 35 miles) and all the trips, including her work, do not/did not have a plug at the destination(s). We have taken the car out for many errands (all on EV only) and we still have about a 1/4 of the original tank left. With good planning, and favorable conditions, the Energi offers fantastic performance. We are very impressed since her 2005 escape only got 18 MPG and she had to fill up every week.











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