Hypermiling the Ford Fusion Hybrid

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The following is a guest post by Richard Bornemann who runs the dedicated website http://fusionhybridhypermiler.blogspot.com/.

I’ve always been a car guy. Mostly a high performance car guy, truth be told.

Still am. But when Ford came out with the Fusion Hybrid I was intrigued. From early reports, it sounded like the engineers had designed the car so that hypermiling was a real possibility, and that careful driving could significantly improve fuel economy.

I’ve owned a Fusion Hybrid for 3 months now and this is a summary of what I’ve learned. But first, I want to mention that in everything I do to maximize MPG, safety comes first. I drive the speed limit, am courteous to other drivers, in short, I do nothing that compromises my safety or the safety of others. Safety must be one’s highest priority.

There are two features of the Fusion Hybrid that make it great at hypermiling. First, the car will go up to 47 mph just on the electric motor. Second, the dashboard gauges are innovative, and help’s one to keep the car in electric mode as long as possible.

Let’s take the first point: innovative gauges. The dashboard is radical. It consists of a traditional analog speedometer, flanked on either side by LCD screens. That’s right the majority of the dashboard is made up of computer screens! This allowed Ford engineers to develop innovative gauges, software gauges if you will. The effect is visually lush and the data is highly informative.

To the right is the instantaneous mileage readout. It just states how many MPG one is getting at that time. It goes from 0 – 60 MPG. One cool detail, when the electric motor comes on this readout shoots right to 60 MPG. Stay in electric mode for more then a couple of seconds and a “+” sign fades in to inform you that you are actually over 60 MPG. I like running with the plus showing.

To the left the most innovative gauge. I call it the EV gauge. This readout allows one to maximize driving in electric mode. When the battery is charged, and

the Fusion is driving at a light throttle opening a green “box” appears on this gauge. A red needle moves vertically with throttle opening. As the red needle enters the green box, the car switches to electric mode. It’s pretty simple. Keep the red needle inside the box, and the Fusion remains in electric. Now, this box is dynamic, as

the battery charge is depleted, the box shrinks in size. Eventually the gas engine will come on.

Now to the second point, the Fusion will drive up to 47 mph on electric alone. In suburban driving one does three things over and over. We go up a hill, down a hill, or drive on a relatively flat section. With the Fusion one can really use this to maximize MPG. One can use the gas engine to go up a hill, lighten up on the throttle at the crest and the Fusion will switch to electric. One can drive down the other side entirely on electric if the speed is less then 47. After the down side of the hill, there may be a level section, the Fusion will continue for a reasonable distance along this flat section entirely on electricity.

So what are my results to date? I get 42 mpg highway and anywhere from 55- 67 in suburban driving. Sometimes even more. I have a 10 mile loop that I occasionally run and my highest mileage to date is 79.8 mpg. That is a loop, with start and finish at the same point.

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