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Help! w/New C-Max Hybrid

battery EV hyrbid

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28 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   AllisonM84

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 03:45 PM

I am a new owner (within about a week) of a 2013 C-Max Hybrid SE. I absolutely love it but am realizing there is a lot more to driving a hybrid than I thought. 

 

My initial impression was simply that; braking charges the battery, as long as there is battery power the car will have no reason to use gas. It will only switch to a gas engine when you have been unable to charge the battery and do not have enough power. 

 

But, over the last few days I took a small trip (about 75 miles) and between the trip there and back and some city driving during, I used about a half a tank of gas. While this is better than what my previous car would have used, I was confused because the battery was about half full the entire time. Why wouldn't it have used the battery instead of gas? 

 

I don't know all the terms everyone seems to be using and apparently there is clearly a lot more to owning a hybrid than I thought. 

 

Can anyone offer me a SIMPLE breakdown of how the engine vs battery thing works/what I can expect from my car/what I should be doing to get the best gas mileage/anything else I should know...it would be very much appreciated!









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#2 OFFLINE   homestead

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 03:52 PM

Ease up on the accelerator once you get up to speed and when cresting a hill until

it pops into EV.


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#3 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 03:58 PM

While there are things you can do that are peculiar to a hybrid, your best (and easiest) way to increase your mileage is just to drive like you would drive to get the best mileage from ANY car.  Which is to say, keep it at 55 (or under), don't rapidly accelerate or decelerate (watch traffic flow) and don't use heat/AC (or keep it turned down).  Coast when you can but for sure don't have a lead foot.

 

Your C-Max will "learn" how you drive and your mileage will go up, but you will also learn and putting your left-hand display in the right mode to inform you as to what your current MPG is will also help.  

 

After obsessing about it for nearly a year I hardly ever pay any attention to the gauge anymore, but I also can consistenly average close to 50mpg no matter what trip (in town or highway) I take.  Which is all I expect out of the car.

 

Edit: Oh, and use eco-cruise on the highway and resist the urge to EVER take it off (unless you have to, of course).  Just don't set it too high (the sweet spot is debatable, but I usually set it for 64 or so on a 65mph speed limit road).


Edited by Kelleytoons, 16 August 2015 - 04:00 PM.


#4 OFFLINE   markd

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 05:16 PM

Try and drive nice and smooth, and use the eco cruise, you can also charge going down hill. I use enlighten and just try to stay blue. You should be getting between 500 to 600_miles per tank, I average about 580 but have went 620_before. I switched to mid grade gas and keep my tires at 40psi. And if you have no reason to hurry don't.

#5 OFFLINE   AllisonM84

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 05:31 PM

While there are things you can do that are peculiar to a hybrid, your best (and easiest) way to increase your mileage is just to drive like you would drive to get the best mileage from ANY car.  Which is to say, keep it at 55 (or under), don't rapidly accelerate or decelerate (watch traffic flow) and don't use heat/AC (or keep it turned down).  Coast when you can but for sure don't have a lead foot.

 

Your C-Max will "learn" how you drive and your mileage will go up, but you will also learn and putting your left-hand display in the right mode to inform you as to what your current MPG is will also help.  

 

After obsessing about it for nearly a year I hardly ever pay any attention to the gauge anymore, but I also can consistenly average close to 50mpg no matter what trip (in town or highway) I take.  Which is all I expect out of the car.

 

Edit: Oh, and use eco-cruise on the highway and resist the urge to EVER take it off (unless you have to, of course).  Just don't set it too high (the sweet spot is debatable, but I usually set it for 64 or so on a 65mph speed limit road).

 

Is eco-cruise just the cruise control?


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#6 OFFLINE   HotPotato

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 06:04 PM

The battery in a hybrid is not big enough to power the car all by itself for more than a mile or so on flat ground. Your C-Max will try to maintain about 50% in the battery at all times: enough that it will have reserve to help you get up a hill, but not so much that it won't have capacity to absorb a charge as you go down a hill.

 

A plug-in hybrid, like the C-Max Energi, has a much bigger battery that you can add more charge to by plugging into the wall. It can go more like 10-20 miles on battery alone; so it behaves much more like you were expecting this car to.

 

A fully electric vehicle, like a Focus Electric, has an even bigger battery and can use battery power for about 80 miles -- but there's no gas engine, so you then have to recharge the car, which takes between 4-24 hours depending on how powerful the charger is. Some newer electric vehicles can mostly recharge in about 20-30 minutes from a high-power public charger, but there aren't many of those installed yet. 


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#7 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 06:49 PM

I don't think there is any other cruise option other than eco-cruise, but it doesn't operate as a "normal" cruise control would (trying to keep it to the exact speed as much as possible).  Instead, it will slow down and speed up accordingly as it senses the best use of power -- it's much smarter than you have to be so don't worry about it (so you don't worry if you have it set for, say, 64 and your speed drops down to 60 for a bit -- that's part of the equation).

 

I did forget about the tire pressure -- when I first picked up our C-Max the tires were set for 35psi, which is WAY too low for best mileage and way below the effective limit (which is around 50psi).  Now I have mine set for at least 40 and that added quite a bit to my mpg without loosing much comfort.  So that's another thing to keep an eye on (there are folks around here who keep theirs MUCH higher, but I think around 40-45 is a good compromise).


Edited by Kelleytoons, 16 August 2015 - 06:49 PM.


#8 OFFLINE   HotPotato

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 09:41 PM

You get to choose whether you want your C-Max's cruise control to operate normally or in Eco-Cruise mode. In Eco-Cruise mode, it responds to speed changes more slowly, allowing you to lose more speed on a gentle incline for instance. You can look in your vehicle settings -- play with the left-hand control pad on your steering wheel to see options in the left-hand screen--to see if Eco-Cruise mode is currently turned on or off.

 

Personally, nothing annoys me more than following some jerk on the highway who can't maintain a set speed, and having to constantly speed up and slow down to accommodate their inattention.  Turning on Eco-Cruise means I actually become that jerk who can't simply maintain a speed, and I refuse to do that to other people. But it probably does have some small MPG benefit. 


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#9 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 09:43 PM

Is eco-cruise just the cruise control?

 

The Eco Cruise is an "option" of the normal cruise control. If it is turned on, you will see "ECO" printed vertically on the far left of the driver display when using cruise control. If it isn't on, use the left steering wheel circle to move the display to "Settings", "Driver Assist", and on that screen there will be an option to turn Eco Cruise on and off (I believe this is consistent on all model years).



#10 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 09:55 PM

You get to choose whether you want your C-Max's cruise control to operate normally or in Eco-Cruise mode. In Eco-Cruise mode, it responds to speed changes more slowly, allowing you to lose more speed on a gentle incline for instance. You can look in your vehicle settings -- play with the left-hand control pad on your steering wheel to see options in the left-hand screen--to see if Eco-Cruise mode is currently turned on or off.

 

Personally, nothing annoys me more than following some jerk on the highway who can't maintain a set speed, and having to constantly speed up and slow down to accommodate their inattention.  Turning on Eco-Cruise means I actually become that jerk who can't simply maintain a speed, and I refuse to do that to other people. But it probably does have some small MPG benefit. 

 

I'm going to disagree with you a bit here. Granted, if you are in mildly heavy traffic, then I can see wanting the Cruise Control running a constant speed. OTOH, Eco Cruise only slows down/speeds up on hills -- and to some degree pretty much all Cruise Controls have that issue. There is almost always a lag between climbing a hill and the cruise control realizing you are going up a hill, the only question is how much delay there is and how the cruise control responds. 

 

The other thought is, unless the person is wanting to stay right on your tail, it shouldn't effect them much anyway. If they are staying a constant speed, while the distance they are following you may not remain constant, the shouldn't have too many issues. The Cruise Control has the delay going uphill, and goes uphill about slower -- so it will force the car behind to slow down. However, on the downhill side, the Cruise Control allows a faster speed as it has a similar delay going down the hill -- you should gain distance between you and the car behind you. For a full hill, the speed should average out. 

 

Personally, I "upset" people more just trying to anticipate lights, where I let off the gas, to coast, well before a red light to try and keep from needing to fully stop. It amazes me how many people will race around me, basically rushing to get to the red light, just so they have to stop hard and then sit and wait for the light to turn -- but at least they are one car closer to "the front of the line".


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#11 OFFLINE   HotPotato

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 11:37 PM

I'm going to disagree with you a bit here. Granted, if you are in mildly heavy traffic, then I can see wanting the Cruise Control running a constant speed. OTOH, Eco Cruise only slows down/speeds up on hills -- and to some degree pretty much all Cruise Controls have that issue. There is almost always a lag between climbing a hill and the cruise control realizing you are going up a hill, the only question is how much delay there is and how the cruise control responds. 

 

The other thought is, unless the person is wanting to stay right on your tail, it shouldn't effect them much anyway. If they are staying a constant speed, while the distance they are following you may not remain constant, the shouldn't have too many issues. The Cruise Control has the delay going uphill, and goes uphill about slower -- so it will force the car behind to slow down. However, on the downhill side, the Cruise Control allows a faster speed as it has a similar delay going down the hill -- you should gain distance between you and the car behind you. For a full hill, the speed should average out. 

 

Personally, I "upset" people more just trying to anticipate lights, where I let off the gas, to coast, well before a red light to try and keep from needing to fully stop. It amazes me how many people will race around me, basically rushing to get to the red light, just so they have to stop hard and then sit and wait for the light to turn -- but at least they are one car closer to "the front of the line".

 

Ha! I hear you. C'mon y'all...drive friendly. :-)


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#12 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 12:39 AM

Ha! I hear you. C'mon y'all...drive friendly. :-)

 

I probably should have added that I don't necessarily disagree with you, at least in terms of driving the way you are comfortable with. That is one of the advantages of the C-Max, you have a choice to drive it for max MPGs, to drive it like you stole it (as well as some decent power), or somewhere in between, and still be able to improve your fuel economy over a gas only powered car. In my case, I try to drive efficiently, but with fast enough acceleration and speeds that I don't enrage those behind me. 

 

It seems to be impossible to make everyone else on the road happy with the way you drive; there are those that think you aren't going fast enough unless you are going X miles over the speed limit, and then others that will camp out in the left lane going the speed limit trying to slow traffic down. Even going 10 or more miles over the speed limit, you can still have people upset and tailgate you for not going "fast enough".

 

Even before I drove efficiently, I typically tried to drive smart (things like timing lights on commutes I frequently took, etc.). Even before buying a hybrid, I noticed how many people hurry up to red lights -- as if the light is going to change faster if they get in line for the light sooner. One example I remember, though, is heading toward work and having a coworker pass me up a couple of miles before we got there, but then we drove up basically together. If I remember, I actually was ahead because he had to stop at the last light, where I had timed it well. When he asked how I did it, I explained that the lights were timed so, if you drove at the right (slower) speed, you would hit all the lights and not have to stop -- rather than driving faster and having to stop at almost every light. Unfortunately, it seems most Americans (at least in states I've lived in) tend to think they need to drive faster, even if they stop at every light.



#13 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 04:15 AM

If you are the sort of person who gets "mad" that someone isn't going at an absolute constant speed... then you need to seek a therapist (although I will admit you are also in the majority of the folks here in the U.S., and perhaps elsewhere as well).  The same goes for folks who get upset when people are driving the limit and, indeed, anticipate the red lights.

 

As long as you are in the right lane...   (And there are at least two lanes).  On the contrary, I think it's perfectly reasonable to get upset at idiots who drive dangerously (including such things as driving even FIVE miles over the limit when road conditions are bad, like in rain or poor visibility).  These people put everyone in danger, not just themselves, and yes, ironically they are usually the same people who get upset when others don't drive as fast as they would like.

 

Road rage is getting to be a bigger and bigger issue in the states, and I believe it just reflects a general anger trend (but that's a whole other topic).  In any case, I am not going to let it affect me even one slight bit as to how I drive in both a safe and sane (and environmentally sensible) manner.  Folks who don't like it... well, they can do what Bette Midler suggests to people without a sense of humor.


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#14 OFFLINE   fbov

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 10:04 AM

Getting back on topic....

 

I found this kind of view helpful. Knowing how the energy moves around allows you to "play the hybrid game" and improve your fuel economy.

Energy Flow Diagram.jpg

 

Moving left to right...

- You have energy stored as gasoline in your tank.

- The internal combustion engine (ICE) can convert that energy into motion (kinetic energy) or it can convert the energy into electricity (charge the battery).

- The wild card is terrain - potential energy - as going up and down hills stores and releases kinetic energy.

- The price you pay is in parasitic losses, rolling resistance (constant) and aerodynamic drag (varies as speed squared).

 

The "game" is learning when to run the ICE so you spend the most time in EV and use the least fuel. In any round trip, all energy comes from the fuel, so the more efficiently you can use it, the less you need.

 

From a settings standpoint:

- use brake assist to learn the regen brake's threshold, as the only real waste is turning fuel into hot friction brakes.

- use EV+, so you can use less fuel near common destinations (and store the high voltage battery (HVB) in a favorable state)

- use "Empower" display on the left of the dash. The blue outline is how much EV you have available, so you can adjust the throttle to stay out of ICE, or start a burn, as needed.

- use "My View" with a tachometer and an engine coolant temperature display. The tach helps you control engine speed, while monitoring engine temp is helpful understanding the car's behavior in cold weather. Warm-up is a harsh mistress...

 

Have fun,

Frank

 


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#15 OFFLINE   hybridbear

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 11:16 AM

Personally, I "upset" people more just trying to anticipate lights, where I let off the gas, to coast, well before a red light to try and keep from needing to fully stop. It amazes me how many people will race around me, basically rushing to get to the red light, just so they have to stop hard and then sit and wait for the light to turn -- but at least they are one car closer to "the front of the line".

I think it is even more hilarious when someone changes lanes & accelerates past me just to end up behind me after the red light since I timed it so that I never had to stop while they stopped and then have to accelerate again.


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#16 OFFLINE   HotPotato

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 11:33 AM

If you are the sort of person who gets "mad" that someone isn't going at an absolute constant speed... then you need to seek a therapist...

Folks who don't like it... well, they can do what Bette Midler suggests to people without a sense of humor.

 

Aaand once again a thread has been hijacked by our shared belief that we're the only good driver out there and everyone else is a bunch of bozos. Everyone has a particular flavor of bozo that they most love to hate--mine being the guy that passes me, then slows down, then I have to pass him, then he rides my bumper, which is what I mean by not maintaining a speed. But the funny thing is, I think 95% of us agree on 95% of the principles of good driving and follow them 95% of the time. That means we're the bozo 5% of the time, and there are enough motorists out there that wow, the road is just filled with bozos!  :) 


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#17 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 04:46 PM

If this thread was indeed hijacked it wasn't by me -- I suggested driving procedures to get the best mileage which is what the OP was asking about.  And then continuing to insist that those are the way to drive.

 

Do I drive them only 95% of the time?  Hmmm, doubtful, more like 98% or more.  There is VERY RARELY a time I speed up in order to make a light I think I can make.  Even then it's about 50/50 as to whether it's better for me to have slowed down and wait it out.  But, no, while I don't say I'm the greatest driver in the world I can tell you with absolute confidence I *never* engage in bad driving practices (errors in driving that come with old age, like turning the wrong direction in our insane one-way roads here I make from time to time).

 

Now, when I was much younger I was an idiot -- perhaps much more than 50% of the time.  Maybe even a reverse of what you are suggesting -- I wasn't the WORST driver in the world, but I was certainly in competition for it.  I drove way too fast, and if I didn't think I'd live forever I at least wasn't concerned about ending it in a car.  Things changed in a big time way for me, and I have driven responsibly ever since.  But I at least understand how folks (usually younger -- not always, as there are a lot of old idiots around here) drive without thinking.

 

However, I would have thought that with the price of gas rising way up *everyone* would have learned some lessons.  Apparently not -- apparently that doesn't impact in the slightest the way people see their cars like the famous Goofy short (which I won't link here although everyone should seek it out -- made in the 40's it's absolutely as relevent today).  Road rage and negligent (cell phone) driving worry me every single time I'm on the road.

 

So for the OP -- drive safely and sanely and the mileage will go up.  WAY up (even in our gas guzzling Durango I was getting about twice the mileage shown on the EPA sticker, by using almost exactly the same careful principles).



#18 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 01:01 PM

I am a new owner (within about a week) of a 2013 C-Max Hybrid SE. I absolutely love it but am realizing there is a lot more to driving a hybrid than I thought. 

 

My initial impression was simply that; braking charges the battery, as long as there is battery power the car will have no reason to use gas. It will only switch to a gas engine when you have been unable to charge the battery and do not have enough power. 

 

But, over the last few days I took a small trip (about 75 miles) and between the trip there and back and some city driving during, I used about a half a tank of gas. While this is better than what my previous car would have used, I was confused because the battery was about half full the entire time. Why wouldn't it have used the battery instead of gas? 

 

I don't know all the terms everyone seems to be using and apparently there is clearly a lot more to owning a hybrid than I thought. 

 

Can anyone offer me a SIMPLE breakdown of how the engine vs battery thing works/what I can expect from my car/what I should be doing to get the best gas mileage/anything else I should know...it would be very much appreciated!

Nobody seems to have given a simple answer for the battery "half full". For highway driving, the hybrid works by using the battery constantly to supplement the engine. It runs down to a certain percentage, then uses the ICE to recharge. That is why your battery will always display some charge. The car tries to use the battery efficiently, and will recharge from going downhill or during braking when possible. It is possible for the car to drive in pure electric (blue left hand displays) up to 85 MPH.

 

For in town use, it is similar, but the car will tend to go into EV more often, and EV works better at slower speeds.

 

There are lots of resources on this forum for tips on maximizing MPG in town. There is less you can do on the highway, other than slow down to 65 or less MPH.



#19 OFFLINE   jeromep

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 03:35 PM

I am a new owner (within about a week) of a 2013 C-Max Hybrid SE. I absolutely love it but am realizing there is a lot more to driving a hybrid than I thought. 

 

My initial impression was simply that; braking charges the battery, as long as there is battery power the car will have no reason to use gas. It will only switch to a gas engine when you have been unable to charge the battery and do not have enough power. 

 

But, over the last few days I took a small trip (about 75 miles) and between the trip there and back and some city driving during, I used about a half a tank of gas. While this is better than what my previous car would have used, I was confused because the battery was about half full the entire time. Why wouldn't it have used the battery instead of gas? 

 

I don't know all the terms everyone seems to be using and apparently there is clearly a lot more to owning a hybrid than I thought. 

 

Can anyone offer me a SIMPLE breakdown of how the engine vs battery thing works/what I can expect from my car/what I should be doing to get the best gas mileage/anything else I should know...it would be very much appreciated!

The general engineering concept behind Ford hybrids is similar in concept to Toyota's hybrid system.  Identical, no!  But there are only so many ways you can skin a cat and there are only so many ways you can successfully hybridize a vehicle.  Most of my knowledge comes from over 10 years of living with a Prius and becuase there is engineering similarity I felt supremely comfortable purchasing Ford hybrids.  I need to find some links to the varous Prius based explainations of how this hybrid system works as it is a good baseline for explaining the mechanicals behind the C-Max (and the current Fusion Hybrid, and the previous generation Fusion Hybrid and the former Escape Hybrid).

 

The remainder of my comments will be very general.

 

Inside the transmission case are 3 major components which make this whole hybrid thing work.  There are two motor/generators and a planetary gear pack (this is where a graphic would be useful).  Let's define some terms (I tend to use Toyota's definitions as that is what I'm most familiar with).  Motor-generators are electric motors which also act as generators depending on what the on-board computers want them to do.  A planetary gear pack consists of an outside ring gear, a series of planet gears and in the center a sun gear.  All the gears are meshed together permanently.

 

A hybrid of this design has 3 potential sources of motive power; motor/generator 1 (MG1), motor/generator 2 (MG2) and the gasoline engine (internal combustion engine or ICE for short).  All three of these motive devices are connected to the three major components of the planetary gear pack.  The two motor/generators are of different physical sizes.  There is a large, lower RPM motor generator (MG2) and a smaller higher RPM motor/generator (MG1).

 

MG1 is connected to the sun gear at the center of the planetary gear pack.  The ICE is connected to the planet carrier which is connected to the planet gears at the center ring of the planetary gear pack.  MG2 is connected to the outer ring gear and in turn the outer ring gear is connected to the wheels through the final drive.  The only motive device which is actually connected to the wheels of the vehicle is MG2.  MG1 and the ICE cannot independantly motate the vehicle unless MG2 is instructed to move the vehicle by the onboard computers.

 

To muddy the waters further, a hybrid vehicle gets its motive power from two sources, gasoline and stored electricity.  The stored electricity all comes from the ICE or regenerative braking.  So effectively a hybrid vehicle gets all of its electrical power from gasoline, no matter how you cut it.  The engineering and science behind all of this is that a hybrid system that is programmed properly gains its increase in fuel economy over a conventional vehicle by doing numerous activities which optimize the efficiency of the varous components of the system.

 

Internal combustion engines have efficient sweet spots, most easily described as RPM levels in which the best performance is achieved with the least use of fuel.  The programming of the hybrid system works hard to operate the ICE at RPM and power levels which are the most efficient.  The hybrid system also reduces or eliminates idiling of the ICE which is the least efficient running state of a conventional engine.

 

Going down the road the onboard computers are taking in numerous factors to make wholeistic powerplant operating decisions.  How much throttle demand?  How much resistance on the vehicles forward momentum (environment, geography, vehicle weight, drag)?  How much and what kind of demand from the A/C system?  Accessory power utilization?  And many other factors which I can't even imagine.  The computer takes into account all of these factors and then combines the most efficient combination of gas and electrical power to acomplish that task.  These decisions and transitions between power sources or the relative combination of power sources are occuring continuously.

 

In some drive states the vehicle might make a decision to run the ICE while moving, but will direct most of the ICE power through MG1 to generate power to place in the battery while MG2 does most of the motive work.  In a high demand situation, such as heavy acceleration the system might instruct all devices, MG2, ICE, MG1 to combine forces to put power to the wheels.  When coming to a stop the vehicle will turn MG2 which typically moves the vehicle forward into a generator and will use electrical resistance to slow the vehicle and gain energy from the stopping process (rather than turning it into heat which is what conventional brakes do).

 

There is no spot where the vehicle is all electric or all gas, it is an ongoing combination of the two which maximizes the efficiency of the two energy sources with the overriding goal of reducing tailpipe emissions and increasing fuel economy.



#20 OFFLINE   Adrian_L

Adrian_L

    C-Max Hybrid Member

  • C-MAX Hybrid Member
  • 677 posts
  • Region:Canada British Columbia
  • LocationVancouver, BC
  • My C-MAX's Year:2013
  • Current Vehicle:2013 SEL

Posted 18 August 2015 - 10:49 PM

You get to choose whether you want your C-Max's cruise control to operate normally or in Eco-Cruise mode. In Eco-Cruise mode, it responds to speed changes more slowly, allowing you to lose more speed on a gentle incline for instance. You can look in your vehicle settings -- play with the left-hand control pad on your steering wheel to see options in the left-hand screen--to see if Eco-Cruise mode is currently turned on or off.

 

Personally, nothing annoys me more than following some jerk on the highway who can't maintain a set speed, and having to constantly speed up and slow down to accommodate their inattention.  Turning on Eco-Cruise means I actually become that jerk who can't simply maintain a speed, and I refuse to do that to other people. But it probably does have some small MPG benefit. 

 

Not true.  Eco-cruise does in fact maintain a speed, it just does it with an eye to avoiding lead-footed acceleration.  You set it on 60 and you're going 60 most of the time.

 

In response to the original post---you'll find that you'll be on electric about 60% of the time in the city.


Edited by Adrian_L, 18 August 2015 - 10:56 PM.







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