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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've owned a 2020 Escape Hybrid for a few days now and it is apparent that certain techniques and habits lead to significantly better utilization of the battery and, subsequently, much better MPG. I'm starting this thread to be a place for hybrid owners to discuss their experiences and what they have found to be the best ways to maximize MPG without being an irritatingly slow hyper-miler : )

I'll start with a bulleted list of my observations below and evolve this into more "confirmed" strategies as we get more data.

Updated 3/25: @fbov input, thanks!

Terminology:
HVB:
High Voltage Battery (NOT the 12V)
ICE: Internal Combustion Engine (gas)
SoC: State of Charge of the HVB
EV-mode: Using HVB-only to power the vehicle
Gas-mode: Using ICE-only to power the vehicle
Hybrid-mode: Using a combination of HVB/ICE to power the vehicle
Drop Throttle: Letting off on the accelerator until the HVB starts to regenerate energy
Hybrid Game: While at speed, using Drop Throttle and then re-engaging the accelerator pedal slow enough to get the vehicle to enter EV-mode. Do this on downslopes and flats, then accelerate harder to engage the ICE on upslopes.
  • NORMAL (default) vs. ECO Mode
    • Have to switch modes on every key cycle. No known ability to "default" this to any other mode.
    • NORMAL applies markedly less axle braking, thus regenerating less energy to the HVB while coasting. Typical ECO coast power gen is ~17kW.
    • IF AVAILABLE: Use "Intelligent Cruise w/ Stop-and-Go". It is very good at staying in EV-mode whether in NORMAL or ECO. Works best with flat conditions, but returns solid MPG and HVB usage even on gently rolling terrain.
  • Acceleration
    • "Chasing Blue": As you accelerate from a stop, you will see the EV Cach blue-outlined bar grow slowly with speed. To remain in battery-only usage, you must increase throttle slowly to stay in EV-mode.
    • When HVB SoC is high, the HVB may assist the ICE, entering Hybrid-mode. It is believed (citation needed?) that this is less efficient than keeping the vehicle in exclusively EV- or Gas-modes. As a result, try to stay out of hybrid mode.
    • Maximum HVB rate of discharge seems to be around 22 kW. Beyond that, the ICE will be engaged regardless of the SoC.
  • Deceleration
    • Recovering energy at a rate higher than 30 kW is typically less than 100% efficient
    • At complete stops, getting efficiency ratings above ~93% is effectively equivalent to 100% efficient stops, and often results in a considerably more comfortable stopping motion.
  • "Efficient" speeds
    • Realistically, slower in general is better, but you're the judge of how slow you're willing to drive.
    • See below for Road Load HP Curves for the Escape vs. the C-Max. This graphs power required to hold a given speed.
    • 76562


      (1 HP = 0.746 kW, so 20 HP is about 15 kW)
      The most obvious feature is the strong upward trend, roughly the square law: 30 MPH requires 1/4 the power of 60 MPH, and from 60 MPH, you need 50% more to hold 70 and twice 60's power to make 80 MPH.
  • General
    • ALWAYS USE EV COACH WHEN YOU ARE NEW TO THE VEHICLE!
    • There is no explicit SoC gauge or indicator. The outline of the blue EV bar in EV Coach is all that is available. "Full Charge" is roughly equivalent to the blue bar extending to the letter "C" in the ELECTRIC above. When you see this shrinking continuously at even low speeds, it means the HVB is nearly depleted.
    • While at speed, employ Drop Throttle to play the Hybrid Game. This requires some extra attention while new to the vehicle or learning the ups-and-downs in a certain route like a commute.
    • The power gauges and the 8" touchscreen display on energy usage seem to be tailored towards the plug-in variant. The gauge ranges are much higher than often get used for the non-plug-in hybrid and the touchscreen energy usage display changes so rapidly between the modes because the battery small enough to make EV-only operation more of a rarity. Perhaps Ford can patch this to make these slightly more user-friendly and tailored for non-plug-in hybrids and their much smaller HVB.
 

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I've owned a 2020 Escape Hybrid for a few days now and it is apparent that certain techniques and habits lead to significantly better utilization of the battery and, subsequently, much better MPG. ...
Good idea. Comments based on years of C-Max and about 1800 miles in the 2020. I'm sure Paul Jones will chime in, as he's the C-Max Master.

First habit is to use EV coach whenever you're using EV. The feedback will train you to sustain EV and use less fuel.

NORMAL Mode (default) vs. ECO Mode
  • Agree that this should be "sticky," but not sure I want all 5 options to stick. Some folks will get stuck on SPORT (0% EV) or SAND (100% AWD).
  • Most noticeable difference in ECO mode is to move the "zero point" between EV and Regen where the car is coasting. NORMAL mode coasting requires a little throttle. In ECO, it needs a lot more throttle. At speed, off-throttle in Eco mode can get me 17kW of regen... out of a max of 35kW available (highest number I've seen).
  • Biggest advantage is that ECO mode makes Intelligent Cruise with Stop-and-Go functional.
    There's no lurch pulling into the passing lane when following slower traffic.
Acceleration
  • You describe what's called "chasing blue" on the C-Max forum. As you surmised, the blue outline is "EV Available." You can EV until the outline is full, without starting the internal combustion engine (ICE), but the outline shrinks as you deplete the HV battery. (Size of outline is the only HVB state of charge indicator I can find.)
  • When HVB SOC is high, EV contributes to ICE torque - hybrid mode. That leads to an acceleration rule.
    Acceleration rule #1: To maximize HVB charging from the ICE, stay out of hybrid mode; keep EV at 0.
    It's just common sense; if you want a battery to have high charge, don't discharge it!
  • I've also found that very low EV (1-2 kW) will not start the ICE for a long time. You pay the price in a highly depleted HVB that needs ICE to move from stopped, but I got to the stop without ICE.
Deceleration
  • Max I've seen is 35kW regen, and that at speed. The value drops as the car slows. Brake Coach is like school grading; anything over 93% gets an "A." No benefit to perfection.
Efficient Speeds
  • There are none when you realize that driving under EV uses no fuel at all... you can coast a long time with a little EV assist. Going slower can always improve MPG, but it's also unrealistic at some point.
  • The problem is that faster requires more power. Based on EPA fuel economy testing, here are the Road Load Horsepower curves for C-Max, and 2020 Escape FWD and AWD (150 lb. heavier).
76562

(Note that 1 HP = 0.746 kW, so 20 HP is about 15 kW)

The most obvious feature is the strong upward trend, roughly the square law: 30 MPH requires 1/4 the power of 60 MPH, and from 60 MPH, you need 50% more to hold 70 and twice 60's power to make 80 MPH.

Next, I look at the relative curves; AWD > FWD at all speeds, and the C-Max curve crosses the Escape pair in the only possible way: less power required at high speed due to a smaller cross-sectional area and less drag. Ford's engineers are to be commended for reducing non-aerodynamic losses sufficiently to best C-Max power needs at 30-50 MPH with a larger engine.

General
  • Yes, the blue outline is the closest we have to an HVB gauge. I use the letters of the word ELECTRIC to calibrate. I can get 22kW if it's past "i" but 19 kW normally starts ICE. What's impressive is how fast it recovers to the "t" to "r" range with a short ICE run.
  • Just as there are "acceleration rules" there are operational rules. Drop throttle is critical to achieving high mileage because you can't play the Hybrid Game otherwise. C-Max cruise control did this beautifully.
    Drop Throttle: reduce throttle below regen threshold then increase between the regen and ICE threshold to enter EV mode.
    Now, play the game: ICE uphill, EV down. You'll find where the transitions are that keep HVB from running dry at the wrong time (like the start of a long, gentle downslope). If you commute, you'll learn every rise in the road.
  • I agree about the dash being lug-in centered; the owners' manual makes me jealous. And this is not a "mild" hybrid. As you learn to drive it (took me a year), you'll be in EV a lot more.
Additional Thoughts
This is a very nice car.
Handling is impressive, yet ride is very comfortable. These are not your grandfather's Ecopias.
Seats could use side support, but they're fine over long distances (650 miles/day).
Driver assistance features rarely get in the way. Corrections feel like a crosswind.
The touchscreen display is fine, but the dash is poor; too much glitz and animation, too little info communicated.
EV Assist is your friend.
And, Ford, how about adding an EV fuel gauge to EV Assist? Please????

Stay well,
Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Biggest advantage is that ECO mode makes Intelligent Cruise with Stop-and-Go functional.
There's no lurch pulling into the passing lane when following slower traffic
I spent some time the last day or two rolling with intelligent cruise + stop-n-go. Did this is both ECO and NORMAL drive modes. I generally noted that this mode does about as well as I am able to do by doing the "hybrid game" thing. That being the case, I might just use that most of the time for my commuting and errands.

A side note: while lane-centering/lane-keeping does the job just fine even on sharper bends, I still kind of just prefer to control the wheel myself.
 

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I spent some time the last day or two rolling with intelligent cruise + stop-n-go. Did this is both ECO and NORMAL drive modes. I generally noted that this mode does about as well as I am able to do by doing the "hybrid game" thing. ..
Please let me clarify that I was speaking ONLY what happens when traffic has slowed you down, and the system thinks your path is clear and you can resume the set speed.
NORMAL floors it, ECO speeds up gently.

I was not speaking in regard to long term operation of intelligent cruise, just the absence of show-stoppingly bad behavior.

Stay well,
Frank
 

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I spent some time the last day or two rolling with intelligent cruise + stop-n-go. Did this is both ECO and NORMAL drive modes. I generally noted that this mode does about as well as I am able to do by doing the "hybrid game" thing. That being the case, I might just use that most of the time for my commuting and errands.

A side note: while lane-centering/lane-keeping does the job just fine even on sharper bends, I still kind of just prefer to control the wheel myself.
cxcxxxxx
Here is a link to my How to drive a CMAX Hybrid to get great Gas Mileage. How to Drive a CMAX Hybrid/FFH to get Great Gas Mileage.

There are 3 YouTube videos for Improve MPG's
, Aerodynamics
and
Hypermilling
.

Paul
Paul, a couple of months ago, someone posted links to your videos elsewhere at this forum site. Since watching those videos, I commonly attain 50 - 78 mpg on back roads with posted speed limits of 30 - 45 mpg. My trips on these roads are around 24 - 36 miles round-trip. Thanks you!
 

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....I commonly attain 50 - 78 mpg on back roads with posted speed limits of 30 - 45 mpg. My trips on these roads are around 24 - 36 miles round-trip.....
Do you use an app or keep a spreadsheet to calculate overall mpg? I find posting trip data or instantaneous mpg data not very helpful for comparison purposes. As an example I keep a spreadsheet and I’m at 42.1 mpg (all in). But that’s after only one fill up (440 miles). During that first cycle I’ve had trips varying from 31 (cold day) to 81 mpg (short trip)....too many variables exist for any meaningful comparisons between individual vehicles and drivers.

@madpear I’ll suggest that you add a bottom line to your guidelines stating overall mpg when suggesting driving tips.
 

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Good morning!

i don’t keep a spreadsheet. I simply note the reported mpg that appears after a trip. I Also frequently check both the overall (lifetime) mpg and the “TrIp-1” mpg, which I reset after a gas fill up. I’ve filled the car three times (once per month) since buying it in late December. Each fill up was approx 11.x gallons. I’ve used my phone calculator app a couple of times to divide trip-1 mileage by gallons at fillip to verify mpg for the duration.

I realize the figures reported by the computer are approximates, but over three months and approx 1900 miles, those figures and my three fill ups have been consistent.

Most of my driving is easygoing backroad. During this pandemic I’ve added the occasional interstate highway drive to a remote area where I can go for walks alone. Those drives, of course lower the overall mpg.
BTW, it is cool while driving downhill at 65mph to see you’re on electric power.
 

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...i don’t keep a spreadsheet. I simply note the reported mpg that appears after a trip. I Also frequently check both the overall (lifetime) mpg and the “TrIp-1” mpg, which I reset after a gas fill up.

I realize the figures reported by the computer are approximates, but over three months and approx 1900 miles, those figures and my three fill ups have been consistent....
No problem. The reported mpg is still a valid indicator.....just not the same as the calculated number....that’s fine for comparison purposes. What do you use for lifetime mpg....Trip 2?
 

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...I find posting trip data or instantaneous mpg data not very helpful for comparison purposes. ...
That's very true. For comparison purposes, you'd like round trip data, with nearly equal legs. My old commute to work was perfect.

In retirement, I have lots of 35/65 trips. The average of 35 and 65 is 50, but the right answer is (total miles)/(total gallons) = 45.5 MPG.

Stay well,
Frank
 

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I have been thinking about what strategy I will use to improve My 2020 FEH Plugin gas mileage on Hwy trips, when I finally get it. I looked at Energi Posts and it seemed like they drive them like Hybrids and only drive EV at slower speeds . I have an Idea to improve MPG's using HVB EV to control ICE WT. Here are the important info for improving MPG's for an Energi:

1. ICE runs too cold for maximum efficiency, I found running between 215 to 226*F WT is the best temp range and you need to use Grill Covers to get that high.
2. You gain about 4 mpg using Grill Covers, 2 mpg for reduced Drag and 2 mpg for improving ICE efficiency with higher WT's.
3. Most of the time the ICE WT will be just fine with Grill Covers on, but with significant uphill climb ICE WT will go up, at 225*F I would go to EV Mode for a minute allowing the ICE to cool down. With my Hybrid I use heater/defrost to lower WT which is a waist of energy.
4. BYW using Neutral to coast down hill improves MPG's and cools the HVB and ICE down.
5. I would guess that a 4 to 5 mpg improvement could be realized doing this.

Let me know what you think.

Paul
 

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I believe this cars have active shutters, so grill covers would seem to be redundant. So depending on where your live, you may even overheat the motor. You will need more than a minute in EV, PLUS air flow, to cool down the motor. Ford has engineer the PU to work as efficiently as possible. If they thought a covered grill would help, there would be one, actually there is, the activate grill shutters. Your vehicle, your repair cost.

Coasting down a hill may save you some gas, but depending on how long it is and how often you plan on doing this, plan on replacing brakes often. I have years of experience driving a hybrid. Granted it's not a plug in model, but I have managed a life time MPG of 54 in my 2013 Fusion hybrid that had its estimated MPG derated, by Ford, to 47. How? Being light on the gas pedal, slowing early to regen, and taking advantage of the terrain.
 

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I believe this cars have active shutters, so grill covers would seem to be redundant. So depending on where your live, you may even overheat the motor. You will need more than a minute in EV, PLUS air flow, to cool down the motor. Ford has engineer the PU to work as efficiently as possible. If they thought a covered grill would help, there would be one, actually there is, the activate grill shutters. Your vehicle, your repair cost.

Coasting down a hill may save you some gas, but depending on how long it is and how often you plan on doing this, plan on replacing brakes often. I have years of experience driving a hybrid. Granted it's not a plug in model, but I have managed a life time MPG of 54 in my 2013 Fusion hybrid that had its estimated MPG derated, by Ford, to 47. How? Being light on the gas pedal, slowing early to regen, and taking advantage of the terrain.
_
I had a 2008FEH and 2010FEH so I have been driving Hybrids for about 11 yrs. now.:)
I have been using these techniques for 7 yrs/240k mi. on my CMAX Hybrid which also has grill shutters and they don't work very well. BTW 2013 FFH EPA rating is 41 mpg combined, 43 city/ 39 HWY, CMAX is 40 combined mpg, 42 city/ 37 HWY . My mileage is 78% HWY with LT 50.6 mpg and 53.8 mpg for the last 140k miles on Trip2. I have driven across AZ desert at 110*F during the Summer with Grill Covers on. I usually lose 5-10*F WT with the ICE off in a minute.
ScanGaugeII.JPG
GrillCover.jpg

I remove the small cover when WT gets up to 230*F often and the seven holes are enough to keep temps below 225*F. BTW they are held on with Velcro. I would guess if you had a OBII gauge like ScanGaugeII and monitored ICE WT you would see you never get up to 202*F, the start of the operating temp for the ICE according to FORD. The ICE is the most efficient when it gets above the start of it's operating temp. Also I believe my testing back in Late 2012 that showed the ICE was running too cold that I Posted on the FORD Hybrid Forums caused FORD to up grade the ECM software in 2013 so that the grill shutter opening temperature on the FWY was raised to 220 *F. Didn't make much of a difference though in MPG's, shutters just leak way to much air.
When I use Coasting Downhill in Neutral I always shift to Drive before using brakes/regen, (regen doesn't work in Neutral) and I still have the original brakes with 250k miles.

Paul
 

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As someone who bought a C-Max grill cover from Paul, I'd like to point out that internal shutters can have substantial benefits which are nonetheless smaller than the benefits of a smooth front end with minimal air infiltration. Paul tested it, so his MPG improvement claim has data behind it. In the Northeast US, I never had a cooling issue, and I always had water temperature displayed in My View.

Take a close look at Paul's car... the grill block is just the start.
  • front grill blocks, upper and lower.
  • wheel disc covers
  • rear wheel fairing
  • (Paul, you still using vortex generators?)
For what it's worth, Saturday we got a 70F day, and I got to drive my old commuter route, round trip, for take-out Mexican. 56 going, 64 MPG coming back on the warm start. My C-Max ran in a similar range at that temperature, over that route, with increased tire pressures and grill blocks.. The Escape is 100% stock, save for 91E0; not even tire pressures (which are up a little with warmer weather... remember, these are P-metric, so max. is 41 psi.)

Stay well,
Frank
 

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I do have Vortex Generators. but I don't think they made much of a difference. IMO Thanks for the update. :)

Paul
 

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Just a thought for those interested in Hypermiling by using Pulse and Glide, the best mpg results is to use Neutral for Glide, regen is only at best 80% efficient.

Paul
 

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I believe this cars have active shutters, so grill covers would seem to be redundant. So depending on where your live, you may even overheat the motor. You will need more than a minute in EV, PLUS air flow, to cool down the motor. Ford has engineer the PU to work as efficiently as possible. If they thought a covered grill would help, there would be one, actually there is, the activate grill shutters. Your vehicle, your repair cost.

Coasting down a hill may save you some gas, but depending on how long it is and how often you plan on doing this, plan on replacing brakes often. I have years of experience driving a hybrid. Granted it's not a plug in model, but I have managed a life time MPG of 54 in my 2013 Fusion hybrid that had its estimated MPG derated, by Ford, to 47. How? Being light on the gas pedal, slowing early to regen, and taking advantage of the terrain.
____
I was thinking that using the heater to cool the WT down is a waist of heat energy/fan electricity that wouldn't be made if EV is used for a short time like a minute at a time to cool down ICE. In that way all the heat energy the ICE makes is used to turn the wheels and charge the HVB. Running EV for a minute will cool down the ICE 5-10*F and then you could run the ICE for 5 minutes and repeat. This would only be necessary when going up hills. If you could combine ICE and EV together for an extended period of time going uphill you could keep the ICE from getting hot but the HVB temps would go up so you would need to monitor that too.

Paul
 
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