Go glad you asked, will give you the best performance thoughts. First off it seems to me that its 95% highway so your only opportunity to use the battery is on the first leg of the trip. Once you get to Daytona I presume maybe you're going a mile off the highway not much more but if you need more then you can save some for that.
If there is no need to save any, then use the Auto mode and drive slower 45mph or less on the surface roads to the highway. But don't use all of it, save 5-10% if you find you're running out before the highway. Once on the highway start the engine but wait for it to warm up and take the load before going to full cruise speed of 65/66mph. I usually cruise at 1/2 blue bar on the coach bars, just under the yellow for max efficiency and good speed to get there (around 66mph). When you start the engine, there is a period where the battery does more of the load (check Engage screen to see this) until the engine warms up and is released from 1300 rpms lock, in this time you want to keep it slower and wait for the Engage screen to go all white power before you accelerate to 65mph. Might be like a mile or two depending on the OAT but I guess in your case in the south it should be around 1 mile. Just stay in the right lane at around 50 and then increase speed to 65 slowly and set cruise control sit back and relax.
If there is a need to save some battery, then start the engine on a section with no lights and warm it up as you keep it running with the power demand low. Once warmed up use the engine to climb hills and then switch back to battery. This process is easy, drive in auto mode, when you see a hill coming, 1/4 to 1/8th of a mile before tap tap (twice) on the EV button to go into EV later, and as the hill comes press the accelerator slightly above the top of the blue (you should be in Empower screen) and the engine runs and you climb the hill. Once at the top tap one the EV button, let off the gas briefly to quit the engine, and press the gas again to continue in EV power. This procedure will extend your EV range by up to 50%, so you'll go from 14 to about 20 miles or so if you exclude hills.
Now here is the important part, once you get on the highway and push EV later, look at the % of battery that will be saved on the left screen. Let's say for example it say 22%. At this point, you want the engine to charge the battery in EV later mode to 24% (+2%) and the battery to stay at 24% (check MFT screen leaf icon screen to see battery level). Once there at 24% then your engine will net 45mpg+ at 65mph on the highway in cruise. See my videos here I posted alot about that. In Florida, there are alot of "flyovers" where you go up over a road crossing under the highway. Usually what happens is that you go up, and on the downhill section the engine quits it goes into EV at 65mph. AS SOON AS the decent is done, you want to TAP the accelerator to reignite the engine. You do NOT want the car to continue on EV power at 65 for a mile or so until the hybrid battery is exhausted and the engine starts automatically. If you do this then your charge level drops from 24% down to 20% or maybe less and then the engine has to charge it all the way back up to 24 % before your MPG go north of 45mpg. Otherwise while its below and the engine is charging the HVB you're getting somewhere between 20mpg and slowly increasing to 45 as the charge level rises assuming a flat road.
Also same thing goes throughout the trip, if the engine quits for any reason while you are cruising on the highway at 65, then you need to tap the gas and restart it asap. Do not let the car yoyo between engine and EV power making the charge level discharge and go back up while cruising on the highway. Keep the engine running as much as possible.
To answer your question, NO do not run the HVB battery down to zero at any time during this trip or other trips, you lose flexibility and I feel its not as good for the battery to be deeply discharged. If you have some charge level left in the battery, you also have the ability to increase that charge level by using the EV later button if necessary (another discussion). Plus you always want to save some charge level in case you run into a traffic jam and to stop off the highway to get some gas.
Speaking of gas, I wouldn't fill up in NC, use whatever you have and fill up in SC, its cheap there. A good place to stop is exit 160A that is 150 miles from you. If you don't have enough gas for 150 miles, put in a couple of gallons to have a little over that and then you can fill up there. You shouldn't need more than 4 gallons total to make that trip assuming you follow the above. Murphy express where I go is currently $1.98. You can also go back to Hilton Garden Inn at that same exit, plug in your car, and walk to get something to eat to break up the trip. Within walking distance is Longhorn, Olive garden, Chili's, Firehouse subs for example. From there you should be able to reach all the way to FL without another stop for gas.
Hope this helps, you can follow this for best efficiency performance or just trim it to whatever you like.
Edited by rbort, 24 February 2019 - 10:04 AM.