We’ve written plenty of blogs about fuel economy tips for ”regular” cars but this is our first for Hybrid cars. The fact is, many of the gas saving and maintenance tips that we’ve given for conventional automobiles will also apply to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all electric vehicles (EVs) but below are a number of additional tips specifically for hybrids and EVs that will help you to keep these advanced vehicles running smoothly and using less fuel, whatever that fuel happens to be.
The first is simply to read the owner’s manual. Hybrid automobiles all vary a bit but they are significantly different in design then traditional automobiles, especially the way that they use and manage their energy. One type of hybrid might be significantly different from another as well, and some tips will work with one type that won’t work with another. The company that manufactured your hybrid vehicle will know how to operate it and maintain it in maximum fashion, so reading their owner’s manual is vitally important. It will help you to maximize not only fuel economy but also battery life and driving range as well.
Next is to always use the Economy Mode. Many hybrid vehicles come with an economy mode (or something similar) that will maximize your car’s fuel economy. In most vehicles this can be activated at the press of a button. Keep in mind that when using economy mode other features of your vehicle might decrease in performance, including its rate of acceleration, in order to save fuel.
Do your best to avoid hard braking. Just like with a traditional automobile, you should do your best to anticipate stops and then brake gently and moderately. Doing this will give your car’s regenerative braking system the time it needs to recover energy from its forward motion and then store it in the batteries as electricity. If you brake too hard your conventional friction brakes will jump in to help and your car won’t recover any energy, or much less.
For EVs and plug-in hybrids, always keep the battery fully charged. Doing this ensures that you will use as much electricity as possible, and thus as little gasoline. This will not only save you gas but also save you money (natch) and, with EVs, it will help to maximize your cars driving range.
By the way, EVs and plug-in hybrids normally use lithium-ion batteries that don’t degrade if you “top them off” with electricity. This also won’t make it drain more quickly, so if it’s not fully charged you can always recharge your battery without any concern.
Finally, you’ll want to use your accessories wisely. Heating, the entertainment system and definitely air-conditioning will all affect the fuel economy of any vehicle but, on hybrids and electric cars, it has an even more noticeable effect. If you’re trying to maximize your fuel economy or the range of your electric car, you may want to preheat or pre-cool the cabin while your vehicle is still plugged in, something that will definitely extend its range.
We hope you enjoyed our first Fuel Economy Tip blog for hybrid and electric cars. We’re sure it won’t be the last, so check back in the future for more tips and advice.