On the way home in their rental … “and we're averaging 40mpg right now!”
Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG
– June 14, 2008
Patrick Willingham (Videographer-Left) and Reda Charafeddine (Producer-Right) next to the Toyota supplied 2009 Toyota Corolla XRS.
I received a phone call from the WSJ a few weeks back requesting an interview regarding hypermiling. My standard reply is, “We should be able to accommodate your needs. Would you like to meet and speak with a hypermiler in your area?”
What was eventually worked out was a WSJ Media Producer and Videographer (they were flying into Chicago on other business) were going to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon to experience and learn the ways of a hypermiler.
After the WSJ Hypermiling clinic was scheduled, I contacted Shannon Raby of Toyota (Lexus, Toyota and Scion Press Fleet Coordinator) to see if a TCH, Corolla (w/ a stick) or Yaris (also with a stick) were available. Three days later, a fully loaded 09 Corolla XRS w/ a MT was being driven from Detroit and delivered to my door by Lou Zimbler of A&M Specialists. I have no idea how Shannon makes this happen but for the third time within the course of a month and with little to no notice, a car magically appears for yet another “Lesson for a Lifetime.”
A sunny and warm late spring day. Temperatures in the low 80’s and a strong 15 mph wind out of the WSW.
The Clinic course itself traverses a generally north - south 4 miles roundtrip loop including 7 stop lights, 6 stop signs, a drive into and park in a grocery store parking lot, a video store parking lot and a home improvement parking lot. The suburban area roadways speed limits are 45 mph.
Traffic conditions on this particular Saturday afternoon can best be described as heavy.
The vehicle, a 2009 Toyota Corolla XRS w/ a stick (EPA rated 22/30 on the 08 EPA) was setup with (2) ScanGauge’s linked in series and its Bridgestone Turenza’s at Max sidewall of 51 psi.
To begin, Reda, Patrick and I take the course with no other instruction given other than to make a right, make a left. Stop at the stop sign, make a right, etc. Upon arriving back in my drive, we checked the hidden ScanGauge and Reda pulled a solid 22.3 mpg. About what can be expected given the course’s complexity? I take the wheel over the same course while showing what could be achieved when pulling out the stops. We arrived back home at a decent enough 48.6 mpg.
The clinic into the country… Reset the ScanGauge’s and we are off. First thing I had him do is coast out of the drive, down the street, another left and down a subdivision roadway to an arterial. So far so good with a top speed of 12 mph
He was having trouble with stop signs and of course I discussed this as being both illegal and unnecessary given we are still on a down slope. Ridge riding, use of the E-Flashers on a clinic and of course anticipatory focus with regards to what is both ahead and behind was described and discussed sternly. Out onto the arterial but only after waiting for traffic to clear from the left before starting the Corolla and accelerating towards roads less traveled.
It only took about a mile for Reda to learn how to control his accelerations while RR and than he began his first knowledgeable fuel cut deceleration. That one was easy as we are shifting down into a stop sign up ahead. Another smooth accel and another stop sign ½ mile ahead for some more fuel cut decelerations. So far so good. Traffic is clear to the rear and its time to go.
Let’s go Advanced
I have him accel up to 52 mph (50 mph roadways here) and he performs his first FAS. A nice one over a single crest and into a trough over a ½ mile distance with a bump start at about 40 mph just after the bottom. I told him to watch his lower speeds and to hold at least a 40 mph hard deck while out on this roadway in case anyone appeared over a crest behind us … Nuances of acceleration rates, when to FAS and when to use Fuel cut decelerations, a little DWL training and another long FAS into a red light about ¾ of a mile down the way. Through the light while still moving after some “Smart braking”, we were well into the back country roads now. Some P&G, DWL and of course speed limits being strictly adhered to with PSL’s of 45 and 50 mph. Final stop sign to turn around, a right and a nice long glide down to a mid speed turn. He was pulling 53.2 mpg as we took the wide sweeper at 25 mph off the 45 mph roadway. Safe by a mile at maybe .3 G’s of an available .8 but enough that Reda kept tapping the brake
A long uphill, a right turn w/ a yield and back to the original course heading home. At that stop, he is holding onto 49.6 mpg. Now we transition to using the basic techniques including DWL, DWB, RR. Over the next 7 miles using just the basics, he pulls into my drive at 47.6 or approximately 45 mpg when back caluclated. Nice job Reda!
With a std. 22.3 mpg baseline, a 49.6 mpg Advanced and 45 mpg Basic hypermiling clinic achievement under his belt, it is time to put what was learned into practice in the real world. I was at his side and hand near the E-Brake just in case things got out of hand. Glide down to the arterial went off like clockwork. Accel to the speed limit, Fas to the first light, a little smart braking and he pulls through at speed
Through the next two lights and he gets caught. We are on a feeder to an arterial and definitely not on the priority route. Moving ahead, no brakes coming into the grocery store spur at 22 mph, 16 by the time we are on the shopping malls ring road, an alternate of an alternate for a reverse pass to remove a proctologist, back on the ring road and into the Grocery store parking lot. A stop at the highest point in a face-out was perfect. A restart only after all 3 directions was clear and a route with no stop sign to escape was pre-planned for. To the Video store and we hit a green crossing over the major roadway! Into the Video store parking lot. Potential park, a 270 degree reverse loop using the potential of the lot while ICE-Off only after considering and letting traffic clear. A quick pulse into the Home Improvement center including another Face-Out with Potential Parking to guide our way. Re-ignite and leave the parking lot under a slow pulse after local traffic clears. Through two more lights, a 3/4 mile long FAS into my sub at and up into the drive. Final result …
An almost doubling of the original 22.3 at 43.7 mpg!
Back to Chicago
I asked Reda for the correct spelling of their names for our own News and he says, “Send me an E-Mail and I can reply via phone.” They are driving a rental 09 Corolla with a built in aFCD and while using just the Basics, he replies “and we're averaging 40mpg right now
!” A 3 hour clinic with the “Lesson for a Lifetime” clearly being put to good use immediately afterwards. I was so proud to hear that all our efforts were put to use with the results speaking far louder than words!
And now off to review that Corolla