… lessons from a 1K trip around the Northern reach of NZ South Island
Filled in petrol to tank up once, so about 80 liters of petrol, and drove about 1600 kilometres, averaging 20 kilometres to a litre, or roughly 5 litres per 100 kilometres. The terrain was up and down, hilly and flat, some gravel roads. The landscape was varying, some city driving, mostly highway miles at 90 km/hr (the speed limit here is 100 km/hr, some stretches 90 km/hr, and some stretches 60 km/hr).
Here are the bullet pointers for future and lessons learned:
- Started with full tank and full charged. This was important.
- For the city traffic, always drive in battery mode. So, turn off “save” or “charge” as you approach a city, and switch to “Drive” mode, not in regenerative battery mode (any of B0 … B5)
- Cruise through the city, and even if the city traffic drives the battery indicator to null (i.e.,
---sign), continue to run on battery as long as you are on a 60 km/hr stretch
- You are now exiting the city, you are on highway, and your battery mark shows three dashes, turn on “charge” and continue to drive the car at least at 80 km/hr and charge up. When you reach 10% charge, switch to “save mode”.
- You may continue to drive in “charge mode” if you are climbing a hill, but if that’s not the case, switch to “save”. Keep on charge mode even if you are slow AND you are climbing the hill. You will need that. At that point, remember to keep the regenerative battery mode in B0 or better yet, “D”.
- On the top of the hill and about to go downhill, switch to B3 to B5 (depending on the steepness of the downhill climb), gently apply the brakes, and put the car on “save” mode or “normal” mode, do not put the car on charge mode. Gently apply the brakes and let the car do its thing till it reaches plain land.
- Once on plain land, unless you will enter a city, put it in save mode and drive. The regen braking now goes back to either D, or B0, never in one of the higher regen modes, you will not need it.
- Cruise if you can, see as much battery as you can use or see if you will not need to use the battery at all.
- Enter the city, take off “Save” mode, turn on “normal” mode and let the battery take over.
- You do not have to charge the battery every night. If you can get a safe charging unit to work with, use. Else, use the engine to charge the battery. It does not make a huge difference if you know you will be driving on highways.
- If you know that you will be cruising only in the city, charge at least once to “full” and try to conserve as much battery as you can as you drive.
- Drive slowly and to the conditions. Never ever overshoot speed limit, you will not need to. Keep driving **just** under the traffic speed limit and follow the traffic for your best battery performance and least petrol consumption. You will get used to it. We have estimated that it does not make a big difference in your arrival times.
- Feather the accelarator and cruise easily as long as you can.
- We have used AC in the car to cool the cabin, and it did not affect performance (but this was a 2014 model, yours may be different, check the user manual).
- Using your cell phone with bluetooth to connect is better than using the car’s inbuilt radio for listening to music, etc. You have better control and choice. Plus you can charge the phone from the usb charger in the car, does not affect performance.