Green vehicles like hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery electric vehicles continue to eveolve. The early days of green vehicles being boring, tiny, and/or expensive are slowly fading into history. Real-world capable green vehicles are emerging today that will allow for every driver to choose a greener vehicle with very little sacrifice.
As these green vehicles grow in popularity, owners will want to make the mos of the energy conservtion capabilities the vehicle they own offers. Although automakers make the fuel and energy savings mostly automatic, there are things that green vehicle owners can do to squeeze out a few more more drops of fuel, or a few more electrons from their green machines.
Green Vehicle Tip One - Bump Up Your Tire Pressure
Everyone who is passionate about fuel economy knows that proper tire inflation can help save fuel. Underinflation can reduce fuel economy. However, adding a few extra pounds per square inch of pressure to each tire can have the opposite effect. Add a few psi to your vehicle and see if the ride becomes overly harsh. If it doesn't the added pressure will help improve your fuel economy.
Note that we are talking here about adding 3 psi to a tire that the automaker suggests works well at between 30 psi and 35 psi. Add too much and your tires may wear improperly. The automaker's suggested tire pressure rating is always found on the driver's door frame. Never on the tire itself.
Use Economy Drive Modes To Full Effect
Almost evry vehicle sold today has multple drive modes. Even conventionally-powered vehicles offer an economy mode in most cases. Give the economy mode a try. Expect slower acceleration around town and a bit less merging power on the highway. The upside is a bit less fuel or energy usage. Some vehicles work great on economy mode. Some become super slow and boring. Try it in your ride and see if the effect is worth the extra energy savings.
Be Smart With EV Drive Modes
Hybrids and plug-in hybrids allow a driver to decide when they wish to use the vehicle's limited EV-only operation. The smartest way to use it is in stop and go traffic.It does little to help you overall on the highway where your hybrid is already very efficient. Enable EV mode when you are in a parking lot, at a drive-through, or in stop and go traffic. Let the electrons work when they work best. Your owners manual will have details on how your particular vehicle works.
Maximize Your Regenerative Braking
Every green vehicle relies heavily on one main technology. Brake energy regeneration is important to EV and hybrid efficiency. Capturing this otherwise wasted energy is automatic in all green vehicles. However, automakers know that they can add more if they choose to. They don't, because some drivers will not like the sensation because it is new to them. New is scary. New is often seen as "bad." We green vehicle enthusiasts like new.
If your vehicle offers "one pedal" operation enable it. If your vehicle has adjustable brake power regeneration, use it. The new 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid lets drivers use the paddle shifters to increase the braking force and recapture more energy. It's fun. Give it a try and save some energy.
We are not big fans of "hypermiling." Our opinion is that it can annoy other drivers and be disruptive to traffic flow. However, there are some tips we have left out of the story. If you have any energy saving driving tips feel free to offer them in the comments below.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on the Torque News Facebook Page, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Images by John Goreham. Re-use with permission only.