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Psychological, time and pocket rewards of the driving efficiency game
Ford Fusion Hybrid covers 2327 km with one fuel tank

Ford Fusion Hybrid 1000 Miles Challenge 2009: 1,445.7 miles with one fuel tank.

Fusion Hybrid Challenge 2009: 1,445.7 miles without refueling.

APN

30 April 2009.

 SmartGauge

If there is a game, a really useful game you can enjoy these days while driving, yes, play-and-drive, very safely while reaping real advantages, it could be the one of testing how far you can drive your car with one full tank of fuel.

It only takes a reasonable set of habits to reach a level of driving efficiency that may surprise many, not only in fuel economy terms, but especially in time efficiency, psychological - and relational - comfort, as well as safety.

Does it need a degree to master fuel efficiency driving techniques?

Not really. When you think about it: there is even no "time sacrifice" to endure. Quite the opposite.

Ford Fusion Hybrid 1000 Miles Challenge 2009: rear driving shot.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient midsize car in North America, nearly doubled its U.S. certified mileage, claiming a world record for a gasoline-powered, midsize sedan. The team achieved in a standard, non-modified 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, 1,445.7 miles (2327 km) on one fuel tank, making an average of 81.5 US mpg, the equivalent of 97.8 UK mpg, 2.88 litres per 100 km, or 34.65 km per litre of gasoline (petrol).

For those who enjoy this skill testing game, helped with the real-time fuel consumption digital indicator in many modern cars (see also as the Ford SmartGauge with EcoGuide), driving efficiently is not simply a matter of reducing cost and pollution.

Driving efficiently is an entertaining "game" which brings a cost reduction for the pocket with timely arrival, since clever and civilised driving reduce time waste and nervous resources burning (modern life obligations already consume enough of these precious reserves of serenity), better protection for your own car (from accidents and mechanically, as it preserves its running quality far longer), safer transportation for the driver, passengers and other road users. And it's not only free... it even pays you back!

Independent witness, Arch Scurlock of Business Week magazine signs the tape that covers the fuel filler cap before the team set off on the Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000 Mile Challenge at Mount Vernon, Alexandria, VA (April 25, 2009).

Independent witness, Arch Scurlock of Business Week magazine signs the tape that covers the fuel filler cap before the team set off on the Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000 Mile Challenge at Mount Vernon, Alexandria, VA (April 25, 2009).

If this is true for any car, Ford has gone a step further while promoting its new Hybrid offerings, with another interesting approach: the fund-raising Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge fuel-efficiency test, which started at 8:15 a.m. EDT on Saturday, April 25, from Mount Vernon, Va., and ended last Tuesday morning at 5:37 a.m. on George Washington Parkway in Washington, D.C., after more than 69 continuous hours of driving.

The challenge team, which included NASCAR star Carl Edwards, the hypermiling specialist Wayne Gerdes and several Ford Motor Company engineers, raised more than $8,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Four members of the Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000 Mile Challenge team. Left to Right: Tom Rolewiscz, Steve Burke, Sherif Marakby and Gil Portalatin.

Four members of the Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000 Mile Challenge team. Left to Right: Tom Rolewiscz, Steve Burke, Sherif Marakby and Gil Portalatin.

The team achieved in a standard, non-modified 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, 1,445.7 miles (2327 km) on a single fuel tank (about 67 litres), making an average of 81.5 US mpg, the equivalent of 97.8 UK mpg, 2.88 litres per 100 km, or 34.65 km per litre of gasoline (petrol), making the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient midsize car in North America, nearly doubling its U.S. certified mileage, and even claiming a world record for a gasoline-powered, midsize sedan.

The seven drivers team started by learning a few mileage-maximizing techniques, most of which can be used in any vehicle to improve fuel economy, but are especially useful in the Fusion Hybrid where the driver can benefit from pure electric energy at speeds below 47 mph (76 km/h). Additionally, it is important to manage the battery system’s state of charge through the use of regenerative braking and coasting, and balancing the use of the electric motor and gas engine in city driving to reduce consumption.

Wayne Gerdes, world record breaking hypermiler, in the Ford Fusion 1000 Miles Challenge, 2009.

Wayne Gerdes, world record breaking hypermiler.

The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge team took turns driving several routes in and around the US capital over the course of approximately three days and nights. The route involved elevation changes, and ranged from the relatively open George Washington Parkway to a 3-mile stretch in the heart of the city that is clogged with roughly 30 traffic signals.

Wayne Gerdes, the Illinois engineer who coined the term “hypermiling” to describe the mileage-maximizing techniques (you can visit his site at CleanMPG.com), summarised the main hypermiling techniques by:

- Slowing down and maintaining even throttle pressure,
- Gradually accelerating and smoothly braking,
- Maintaining a safe distance between vehicles and anticipating traffic conditions,
- Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste and brake wear,
- Minimizing the use of heater and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine,
- Closing windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag,
- Applying the “Pulse and Glide” technique while maintaining the flow of traffic,
- Using downhill momentum to build speed and kinetic forward motion to climb hills,
- Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum.

Gil Portalatin, Ford hybrid applications manager highlighted the safety advantage: “You become very aware of your driving because you’re constantly looking for opportunities to maximize mileage, and a more aware driver is a safer driver, too.”

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid net power is rated at 191 horsepower. The official estimated range is approximately 700 miles (1126 km) per tank, on a Duratec 2.5-liter gasoline engine with DOHC 16-valve Atkinson cycle (156 hp @ 6000 rpm) and an electric motor (106 hp @ 6,500 rpm), with an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (eCVT). The car is equipped with the Ford SmartGauge with EcoGuide instrument cluster to help optimize the driving efficiency.

Gerdes said. “The Fusion Hybrid works brilliantly. When you don’t need acceleration power while driving around town, the gas engine shuts down seamlessly. There’s not another hybrid drivetrain in the world that does that as effectively.”

With the addition of the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid sedans, to the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid compact SUVs, Ford aims to double its annual hybrid volume and be the largest US producer of full hybrid vehicles in North America.

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