With the price of petrol only rising in NZ, and with more people starting to look at buying a hybrid vehicle the team at Dave Allen Motors has gathered a number of hybrid driving hints and tips that will help you to get the best from your car, improving fuel consumption and getting you further for less.
Whichever hybrid you have purchased or are looking at buying, the following tips and pointers should help you maximise the range and fuel economy of your car.
If you are new to a plugin or self-charging hybrid car, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the car’s display and the useful information available. (depending on what make/model you are purchasing) This will take you along the correct road (no pun intended) of getting the most out of it and keeping your costs down.
* If you keep your speed down, accelerate gently, and drive smoothly you will be able to run in full EV mode a lot more and drastically reduce running costs.
* Check your tyre pressures – do a monthly check to ensure that your tyres are correctly inflated in line with the manufacturer's recommendation.
* Use cruise control to help you maintain a steady speed and reduce running costs, most hybrids are usually equipped with cruise control.
* Become familiar with the information your hybrid car displays, it will indicate how your driving impacts fuel economy/battery life and you will see when you are in EV mode, this useful feedback will help you adapt your driving for the best outcomes.
* Your hybrid car will probably have 3 or 4 drive modes, EV, ECO, Normal, and possibly a fourth named Sport/Performance (or similar). The main purpose of these settings is that it reduces your hybrid’s fuel consumption by decreasing the capability to accelerate. It will probably default to ‘normal’ which delivers a good balance between power and economy, wherever possible for the lowest running costs you want to be in EV mode, or if EV mode is not possible (at higher speeds for example) then ECO mode which will enforce gentler driving. To explain ECO mode briefly, this mode doesn’t necessarily change the engine or speed of the vehicle. It does change the sensitivity of the accelerator, however, and this tweaks the vehicle to use less fuel than actually required. We advise that you use this mode when you don’t require your hybrid’s pedal to be too reactive or sensitive. Sport/Performance will boost acceleration by using the hybrid battery to assist the petrol engine.
* Make the most of brake regeneration technology that hybrids are equipped with. Harness more power by braking earlier and smoothly, the re-harnessed energy will mean you can run in EV mode for longer. Reading the road ahead to avoid sharp braking will help with this.
* Using features like the AC, climate control, headlights, and wipers will all require energy from the battery. Using the recirculate mode on your AC/climate control system will also be more efficient.
* Select the correct Shift mode, hybrids usually have R (reverse), N (neutral), P (park) B (engine braking), and D (drive). ‘P’, ‘R’, and ‘N’ are self-explanatory, and D will be the selection for most normal driving. But should you need it, position B has the effect of engine-braking handy when descending a steep hill, for example. It’s not recommended to leave the car in position B for normal driving, mainly because you’d end up using more fuel than necessary.
Hopefully, these tips will help you save some money and put you on the right road if you are thinking of making the switch to a hybrid vehicle.
Dave Allen Motors always has a great selection of hybrid vehicles onsite, if you would like to test drive any of our vehicles, just contact one of our team and they will be happy to help you arrange a time to view and drive.