PHEV Road Trip Strategies?
The simplest way to drive the PHEV is to just charge the battery, go as far as you can in all-electric mode, and then start running the ICE and burning gas for the duration of the trip. Iíve been wondering if there might be a better way.
When you know that youíre going to exceed the electric range, it seems like it might make sense to drive in hybrid mode sooner rather than later, and save some of the electric range for certain kinds of driving.
On a recent 84 mile trip, one of the latter legs of the trip went up a mountain highway that requires the car to climb approximately 2000 feet over a distance of a little more than 12 miles. The previous time I drove this trip, I had zero electric range before I started the ascent, and during the last two or three miles of the climb, the ICE seemed to be struggling to maintain 70 MPH and the transmission wandered in and out of lower gears several times. But on the most recent occasion, I drove the first eight miles of my trip in electric mode, and then put the car in hybrid mode. About 40 miles later when I started the steep ascent, the gauge showed an electric range of 18 miles. I kept the car in hybrid mode for the entire ascent and it seemed to perform much better this time, even though I had about 70 pounds more weight in the car. At the top of the mountain, the electric range had dropped to 11 miles, suggesting that the electric motor had been assisting the ICE during the long climb.
After the road leveled out, I put the car back in EV mode and something surprising happened: I drove the remaining 17 miles of my trip in EV mode, and when I reached my destination, the gauge was reporting that I still had four miles of EV range. Not really sure what the explanation is for that, because I had expected the juice to run out six miles before I arrived. Just before I put the car back in EV mode, the fuel economy was somewhere around 47 MPG and when I reached my destination it had climbed to 60.0 MPG, so Iím pretty confident that the ICE didnít start again on that last leg of the trip.
Some of the strategies Iím contemplating for future trips: save the battery for climbing; use some of the battery at the outset so that it will have room to receive charge from regenerative braking later in the trip; if you expect to be in stop and go traffic, try to either save the battery for that portion, or else try to ensure that the ICE is warmed up when you are doing that kind of driving.
Wondering what other strategies people might have come up with?
2018 Niro PHEV Gravity Blue