Well, I did it. I bought a hybrid vehicle. My 98 GMC K1500 has served me well, and will continue to, but not as a daily driver. It has not graduated to "beater" status, and I will be parting with my 86 Chevy C-10.
Its an 08 Ford Escape Hybrid 4x4 with 52,000 miles. Factory certified used, and I got the Ford 7 year, 125,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. Add in a sweet 2.4% interest rate for 60 months, and I got a killer deal for under $20,000.
Right now, my only experience driving it is from the dealer about 35 miles away to home, and the test drive I took. First off, the thing is super quiet. On the test drive I drove it with the windows down and radio off, and even then you can't tell if the engine is running or not unless you look at the tachometer. The engine will start and stop, and from the driver's seat you can't hear or feel it.
I drove home on the DC beltway at the beginning of rush hour, so there was plenty of stop & go traffic. Traffic doesn't seem to bother me as much when I'm not sitting there wasting fuel idling. The trip back the trip computer says I averaged 39 MPG, and its EPA rated for 29 City/27 Highway/28 Combined, so I'm really excited that I can probably squeeze a lot more out of it than the EPA rating.
Its pretty comfortable, but not like my Buick or my Sierra. Its a lot more comfortable than my mom's 1st generation Escape though. Steering is nice and tight, I went through some curvy roads on the way back, and it felt pretty good in the turns.
Only thing that feels different about driving it is the brakes and the transmission. I can tell when its in regenerative braking mode, but I think that's because I was looking for it. If you threw a normal driver in that car and covered up the tach, they would never notice that it was a hybrid and starting & stopping on its own. Its a little odd with the CVT as it never "shifts", but I'll get used to it.
Well, I gotta run for now. Talk to everyone later.
We have one at work that I hope to one day get to take for a spin.
There is some quirks to regen braking. Going over certain bumps might cause the car to 'surge'. It's a momentary(less than a second) loss of braking. You aren't actually speeding up in that instant, but it feels like it. The regen is only braking with the front wheels, and when they lose contact with the ground, there is a lag before the rear friction brakes engage.
There was one or two spots on my commute where I had it reliably happen with my 2005 Prius. Depending on the software, you might never experience it. Just wanted to warn ya, since it can be disconcerting if your unaware of it.
Read the manual. It should cover any other differences between the hybrid and convential car. Like noises from brake actuators and coolant pumps.
On to hypermiling, these hybrids make it easy. The secret is learning to feather the accelerator. I don't know how easy it is on Ford's system, but you want to give just enough 'gas' to turn off the regen 'transmission' drag, but not deliver any motive force. That's the glide, and the car should coast as well as, if not better, a convential model in neutral. 99% of the time the ICE will also shut off during it. It won't work at higher speeds, but you use the technique there to extend coasts with electric propulsion.
Thanks. I read the manual cover to cover last night. I have been lightly using the brakes to maximize the regenerative brakes, and lightly touching the throttle. One thing I noticed though, if I'm in electric mode, and I come to an incline, the engine starts, even if I'm going slow and barely touching the accelerator. I'm sure after some time with it I will find what works best for this vehicle, and maybe with some experience I can prevent the engine from starting in those circumstances.
Thanks Fetch. I'm not a Ford man either, I've always owned GM vehicles. It is the highest mileage 4wd available right now, and I got the Hybrid for less than I could have paid for a comparably equipped standard model. Plus I bought the Ford 7 year 125,000 mile bumper to bumper extended warranty, so if anything goes wrong in the next 7 years, I take it to any Ford dealer and they fix it for free. I told the salesman I'm gonna drive it till the doors fall off. At least I'm not going to be getting 13 MPG on my daily errands anymore.
Well, I would not exactly say that. because the tail end of summer business was bad, and we haven't paid ourselves for almost 2 months. I had spent some of the money I intended on spending on a vehicle. I also had to modify my plans. My intention was to put a new engine in Rusty and get him repainted, but since I had spent the money I intended to do that on frivolous stuff like rent and food, I had to change my plan. The plan now is to sell Rusty, drive The Beast as a beater till the doors fall off, and later get the Hooptie repainted.
I did get a great deal on a low mileage, high MPG 4wd, with a low interest rate, and I didn't have to drive a couple hundred miles to get it. I felt it was the right vehicle at the right price, so I jumped on it.
One thing I noticed though, if I'm in electric mode, and I come to an incline, the engine starts, even if I'm going slow and barely touching the accelerator.
Is there a state of charge (SOC) gauge? The amount of juice in the battery is going to affect when the system decides to use gas or not.
Considering the conversion losses, focusing too much on keeping it in electric might work against you. As I said before, focus more on the brakeless and powerless glide if your drive allows it. It's all the benefits of EOCing without the drawbacks.
Since winter is coming, consider a basic WAI and grill block. On start up, on Toyota hybrids, and surely Fords, the system goes into a warm up mode burning gas to get the engine and cat up to operating temp. It's why the Prius takes a heavy hit in fuel economy for real short trips. So shortening that warm up will help.
Yeah, I've been reading articles on the internet about hypermiling the FEH, and there's lots of good stuff out there. I'm still learning as I've only had the car 3 days now. I am excited that some very experienced drivers with the FEH FWD model are getting up to 70 MPG, mine is the AWD model, so I may not be able to do that well, but certainly I'm on the right path. I posted my first fillup last night and already in % over EPA I've beat out a couple of Hondas, and I'm just getting started,,,