In the second part of our Ford Fusion Hybrid review, we’ll take a look at how the Fusion Hybrid’s innovative Smart Gauge dashboard display can be used to increase fuel economy.
The Smart Gauge is highly configurable. For example: while the spiffy green efficiency leaves appeal to some folks, we prefer the time bar graph.
There are four basic configurations, from Inform (with just the basics), to Enlighten, Engage, and Empower (which provides the greatest amount of detail).
In order to maximize gas mileage, you’ll need to develop a disciplined right foot. Once you’ve learned how to lighten up on the accelerator pedal, you’ll increase the frequency and duration of driving segments that deliver 60 MPG or more.
With that in mind, here are some ways to boost your gas mileage:
Accelerate at a Crawl
We’re going to start with perhaps the most difficult technique, accelerating at a crawl under purely electric power.
Lift your foot off the brake pedal and press the accelerator as lightly as possible. Watch the green EV bracket in the Power monitor. Do not exceed the top of the bracket … if you do, the gasoline engine will spring to life. This takes a good bit of patience. As the red needle approaches the top of the EV bracket, let off the gas.
You only want to use this tactic if there’s no traffic behind you. It works best when heading downhill or on a level surface. Attempting to accelerating from a stop in EV mode while heading up a hill can be futile.
Accelerate and Glide
Under most situations, you’ll need to accelerate from a stop using the gasoline engine. When you head off from a stop, the Power monitor will show an orange sweep as the red needle moves upward.
Accelerate past your target speed, then take your foot completely off the accelerator pedal. The red needle will drop to the bottom of the Power monitor and the green EV bracket will expand. Now you can lightly reapply your foot to the throttle … you’re gliding under EV power. The MPG gauge will display 60+.
As you approach the next intersection, let off the gas and apply the brakes as necessary. Three circular arrows will appear to indicate that the system is charging the batteries by regenerating electric power.
Inertia and a Light Foot
The Fusion Hybrid’s ability to glide under electric power at speeds up to 47 miles per hour is one of its strongest features. In day-to-day driving, the efficient use of vehicle inertia and a light-footed technique will save a remarkable amount of fuel.
By keeping the Power display’s needle in the green EV bracket, you won’t be using any gasoline during those segments. The trick is to maximize those segments.
Keep Track of MPGs
The Smart Gauge presents a Trip Summary screen each time you turn off the ignition. This feedback provides positive reinforcement for conscientious driving techniques. The more you practice these techniques, the more efficient you’ll become. Before long, you’ll be producing 50 and 60 MPG segments under optimum conditions.
– by Daniel Gray