Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000 Mile Challenge Car Sets Record with 1,445 Miles on Single Tank of Gas; Averages 81.5 mpg
28 April 2009
Drivers trained in mileage-maximizing techniques such as smooth acceleration and coasting to red lights were able to wring 1,445.7 miles out of a single tank of gas during a fund-raising effort in Washington, DC that concluded today. They did it by averaging 81.5 miles per gallon in an off-the-showroom floor, non-modified 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, nearly doubling its EPA rating.
|“Not only does this demonstrate the Fusion Hybrid’s fuel efficiency, it also shows that driving technique is one of the keys to maximizing its potential.”|
—Nancy Gioia, director, Ford Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs
The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge started on 25 April. After more than 69 continuous hours of driving, the Fusion Hybrid finally depleted its tank and came to a stop with an odometer reading of 1,445.7 miles—setting a world record for gasoline-powered, midsize sedan.
The challenge team, which included NASCAR star Carl Edwards, hypermiler Wayne Gerdes and several Ford Motor Company engineers, raised more than $8,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) by exceeding the goal of 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas. The Fusion Hybrid’s official estimated range is approximately 700 miles per tank.
A team of seven drivers prepared for the challenge 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 take advantage of pure electric energy at speeds below 47 mph.
CleanMPG.com founder Wayne Gerdes, an engineer from Illinois who coined the term “hypermiling” to describe the mileage-maximizing techniques, provided the pointers. They include:
- 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;
- Minimize use of heater and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine;
- Close windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag;
- Applying the “Pulse and Glide” technique while maintaining the flow of traffic;
- Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed; and
- Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum.
In addition, it is important for Fusion Hybrid drivers 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 avoid wasting fuel.
The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge team took turns driving several routes in and around the national 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.
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