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Hypermiling Driving Habits

38815 Views 139 Replies 41 Participants Last post by  Sean Nelson
These are the driving habits that will help you win the game:

Drive Gently.
Like there was a double-tall extra hot with no foam sitting on the dashboard in front of you and you didn't want to WEAR it.

Find Your Sweet Spot.
There's a "sweet spot" for every motor (maximum efficiency RPM's). If you keep your eye on the ammeter, says the new Build Your Own Electric Vehicle, you can maximize your range by minimizing your current flow as you drive.

The Meter's Running.
Use the accelerator and the brake like they were on a meter, and you had to put quarters in to use them. I learned this hypermiling technique a long time ago, in a car with worn-out brake pads. I didn't care about fuel economy, I just didn't want to hear that awful scraping noise. Hey, a habit is a habit; )
The accelerator drains your battery pack in two ways: First, by increasing your need to brake (what goes up must come down, including your speed!), and second, because of the Lead-Foot Tax (Peukert effect).
The brake drains your battery pack by converting your hard-earned momentum into friction. Who needs more friction?

No Tailgating.
Unless the Raiders are in town and you're thinking "barbecue in the parking lot", tailgating is a bad thing. It only invites you to accelerate and brake on somebody else's schedule.

Pulse and Glide.
There's a trick to this, but in a nutshell, it means accelerate (gently) up to a certain speed, then back off the accelerator, then start again before you lose too much momentum. You're going for an average speed.

Go With The Flow.
Noticing what other drivers are doing around you will minimize the need to do the Brake-Stomp. If you had to drive with no brakes, you'd be watching what people were doing several cars ahead and behind, not just the car immediately in front of you. Hypermiling actually requires more attention to traffic flow to maintain an average speed, so hypermilers probably get in fewer car crashes, too.

It's a whole different ballgame in an electric car, because you don't have engine compression to slow you down. You can coast a long, long time - provided you don't have regenerative braking - and most EV drivers take full advantage of it.

Regenerative Braking.
Uses your motor as a generator to stuff your momentum energy BACK into your battery as electrical energy. An AC system does this rather efficiently. I've never heard of a DC system that had regeneration worth bothering with. If you've got good regeneration, your driving technique can afford to be less fuel-economical, because you can recapture your momentum energy. There's still a Lead-Foot Tax, but less of a Brake-Stomp Tax. It's not perfect. The motor can't regenerate electricity as fast as you can stomp the brake, so some will be lost.

Eye on the Prize.
Driving an EV is unfamiliar at first, but you have a meter on your dash to help you learn to drive correctly: the ammeter. Less is more. Notice what stomping on the accelerator and going up a hill do to the ammeter reading.

Lower Gear, Better Range.
With series DC electric motors, a lower gear increases the RPMs, which reduces amp draw from the battery (and increases range). Dan Bentler, EV Motors instructor at SSCC, says, "Gas-guzzler engines have a different torque curve than do electric motors. You want to be in whatever gear it takes to get you at the optimum spot on the torque curve. A lot of electric car converters are using series wound DC motors, so use a lower gear, speed the motor up, reduce the amps and save the controller."

Courtesy of Seth Leitman's collective EV Wisdom
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As Packard states, hypermiling techniques that apply to ICE vehicles go out the window in an EV.

Further, many of the more "extreme" hypermiling techniques, the same ones that can annoy other drivers and lead to dangerous situations offer little to no benefit in an EV, particularly "pulse and glide".

I think it boils down to essentials:
1. Moderate speed. this is especially true in the Bolt which has rather poor aerodynamics. But don't drive significantly slower than the flow of traffic especially if you're on a single-lane road.
2. Avoid the brakes, not to say don't brake when needed (safety first) but the more you can avoid situations where you need to apply the brakes the better. This means anticipating changes in traffic as much as possible, leaving a very healthy distance between you and the car in front of you and using the Bolt's excellent regen as much as possible. Most of the time I drive my car I don't need to use the brakes at all.

On point 1 I want to be clear that IMO driving more than 10% below the natural flow of traffic (what speed most drivers drive at) is considerably more dangerous than tailgating because in these situations you are forcing many/most of the other drivers to pass with each pass presenting another opportunity for a collision. Not saying that I encourage tailgating but being a "road hog" is absolutely positively dangerous. Thankfully on most multi-lane roads in the U.S. the right lane is the domain of "slow moving vehicles", mostly semi trucks. Perfectly fine to drive 55 in the right lane with the rest of the slow pokes but if the lane next to the right lane is going 70-75 you'd better not drive slower than 70 in that lane even if the speed limit is 65.

I do try to moderate my acceleration and attempt to keep my power usage under 20kW but I'm not actually convinced this helps in any meaningful way.

Pure "coasting" will be at best no benefit to an EV (unlike an ICE vehicle), there is some debate whether D mode or L mode is more efficient (in most driving situations L mode will be more efficient for sure but there may be limited situations where D mode is marginally more efficient). Also worth noting that in almost any halfway modern (made in the last ~20 years) ICE vehicle you only benefit from coasting if you're in gear, in neutral you're wasting gas.

As for traffic jams, actually these are great from a pure efficiency perspective, they keep the speeds down and regen helps you recapture most of your deceleration energy. My car between 4.8-5.0kMi/Wh on surface streets with stop signs and predictable traffic lights, but if I'm on the freeway doing 60-70 on a steady state it's close to 3.7Mi/kWh or 4.0-4.2Mi/kWh in traffic ranging between 15 to 70.
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Agree with all the above, but it's antshit. The fuel-in cost of driving a Bolt is so infinitesimally low as to make worrying about the above a non-issue.
You seem to like that term ;)

IMO the benefits of hypermiling an EV aren't so much the cost savings as potential time savings if a charging stop can be delayed or even skipped.

Driving a bit slower will be much faster in the long run if you can make a trip without stopping to charge (or with one less charging stop).

I do agree if you're talking about just normal everyday commuting well within the normal range of the car you will likely see very little benefit from your efforts.
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