Ford: 60 Percent of Plug-in Hybrid Trips are "Gas-Free"
July 31, 2013 8:23 AM
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Ford gathers data from the MyFord Mobile app
Ford is looking to pour ice-cold water all over Toyota’s hybrid hot streak and is making some
very good progress with its current lineup
. The Fusion Hybrid and C-Max are both rated at 47 mpg EPA combined (however, those numbers are
highly suspect in real-world testing
). But more importantly, both vehicles look more like traditional vehicles instead of wind tunnel-sculpted tadpoles on wheels.
Ford is stepping up its efforts even with further with the “Energi” plug-in versions of those aforementioned hybrids. Both the
can travel 21 miles on battery power alone before falling back on the 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine. Using data gathered from its
MyFord Mobile App
(available for the Fusion Energi, C-Max Energi, and Focus Electric), Ford has been able to determine just how customers are using their new plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Ford was able to determine that nearly 60 percent of the trips that drivers make are gas-free (the figure stood at 41 percent earlier in the year). As drivers become more familiar with their vehicles, how far they can travel on battery-only power, and learn where charging stations are located, the "gas-free" percentages start to creep even higher.
“The daily percent driven in electric mode continues to inch upward, suggesting drivers are using the information provided by MyFord Mobile to change how they drive and really get the most out of their vehicles,” says Joe Rork, project manager for MyFord Mobile.
Other data gathered from the MyFord Mobile App shows that the average charge time for a Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi is 185 minutes, and that most drivers search for charging stations between noon and 2 p.m. Not surprisingly, the most actively searched areas for charging stations include “green hotbeds” like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and the northeast corridor.
Ford hopes to use the wealth of data that it gathers to help improve the functionality of both the MyFord Mobile app and the next generation of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
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7/31/2013 1:08:12 PM
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.
Well, there are a lot of factors that go into that calculation.
MY ABSOLUTE highest fuel economy that I've been able to hit in my hybrid is 145 mpg (heading back to the office from lunch, where I was able to drive ALMOST entirely on pure electric).
In Windsor(,Ontario), I've been able to get as high as 60 mpg going from the bank back home, over a 6 km trip.
So it depends GREATLY on how you drive. OBVIOUSLY, the more economically you drive, the greater the difference is going to be between your ACTUAL city fuel economy and whatever your last car was getting, keeping in mind that stop-and-go traffic (or just stop-and-go stop lights, stop signs, etc.) is what REALLY hurts your fuel economy. (I've clocked it in at around like 5 mpg when I am accelerating from a stop sign in my neighbourhood).
But there is no denying that the electric/part-time EV portion of a gas-electric hybrid isn't going to help you with that. It's also been well known and well documented that gas engines are actually very efficient at highway speeds whereas electrics are less so. So if you can do all of your take-offs from the light/stop sign/traffic using electric, it will help a lot. I've also done tests where on the highway, I was only getting 37-38 mpg, but once I got off the highway and I was able to use more electric, it doesn't take much driving around in EV mode to start dramatically boosting the entire trip's overall fuel economy.
IF you want the numbers to work out so that you actually WILL pay off the difference in 2.2 years, there's absolutely NO reason why you can't make it happen. Course, 2.2 years is also shorter than most leases, which either makes me wonder why you didn't buy the car outright or you're wanting to change your car at the end of your lease term (or there's a tax benefit for you if you own a business that you can write off part of the lease expense against your business which might be the only other reason why you'd lease a car then buy it out instead of trading it in for a new/different one).
I've already figured out based on how I drive, how much I drive, where I drive, etc. that my payoff is in 3.5 years. But with this new firmware update to the PCM where now my electric motor can run at speeds upto 85 mph, there's a strong potential for me to start bumping my actual highway fuel economy where I would be able to cycle in and out of the EV mode more, so it'll be interesting to see what happens then.
But 2.2 years isn't impossible. And it always depends on a lot of factors. (Course, if you do the same kind of analysis between two different gas, non-hybrid cars, even taking the average real world reported by the various owners (the Fusion hybrid is sitting around 40 mpg average both on fueleconomy.gov and on fuelly.com); you're STILL apt to come out ahead.
Do your analysis. Make it fair (so it'd be silly to compare the top of the line hybrid with all the bells and whistles against the most basic non-hybrid you can get, or like comparing the hybrid against the massive tank of a SUV). Let the numbers and the math work itself out. Yes, there will have to be certain assumptions in terms of how much gas costs now and how much it will cost in the future, and for the life of your vehicle, but suffice it to also say that the probabilty of the cost of gas going up is quite likely (albeit at a much slower pace now than it was 5 or 6 years ago).
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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