Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG.com
- February 25, 2006
I was asked to keep everyone's names private except for Mary Ann Wright's and I think it is a great idea for all concerned. Much of the following has already been posted around the web but this is a start to finish as to what the Experience was all about from my own perspective.
Ford Escape Hybrid Experience
Upon arrival and introduction, I spent ~ 20 minutes with one of Ford's premier (this individual had the highest FE on their own test course of all those at the event that weekend from my understanding) Escape Hybrid FE engineers. He was very tight lipped on any number of items I was asking about. My questions were specific about current HEV Gen-I Fuel Cut modes, HEV Gen-II drivetrain and its FE improvements, changes in future ICE sizing or boost or heaven forbid any type of cylinder shutoff modes with an active NVH control. I cannot blame him as these questions were not directly related to "The Experience" but I was pressing none the less
During our back and forth I offered my own suggestions for future FE improvements given my own results in John's Escape HEV the day before as well as any number of hybrid and non-hybrid automobiles driven in the past but I am not so sure they were taken to heart
After the back and forth individual session, all were led into a small auditorium for Mary Ann Wright's introduction and the introduction of any number of her team. She recognized John (GPSman) as the Escape owner who had traveled the farthest for the early Sunday morning session. Both of us were awarded Escape pullovers and I couldn't turn it down
The first part of the slide presentation was about the Escape's construction and FE saving hybrid HW. One of the initial slides displayed said that the Escape HEV has "No Toyota Parts". Point taken already
Next was the basic design of the Ford Escape HEV's drivetrain including the I4 ICE and its Atkinson intake, e-CVT, Regen braking, and the pack layout to name just a few. During the Regen slides, one of the graphs displayed showed a much too linear stopping power vs. brake pedal travel graph. I believe the X-axis showed pedal travel but the slides were moving pretty quickly? Regen was fully evoked for ~ the first half of the pedal travel and at a constant stopping power. The Friction brakes took up the upper half of the stopping power graph. The graph was massaged heavily for clarity given there was no difference displayed between L and D regen modes, real world pedal travel vs. braking feel, and that the slope was to linear in all respects. It was a good representation for the non-engineers that attended the event. The key slide in regards to Regen braking was that it is worth 9 mpg in the FTP75 according to Ford's own hard data. Next came the Otto vs. Atkinson cycle. The engineer presenting the slides at this time was hard pressed to come up with a good analogy for the Atkinson vs. OTTO cycle but he tried with the audience laughing during his struggle
After the Atkinson description came the std. Escape w/ V6 vs. I4 HEV acceleration curves. Not much new here with the eCVT's relatively linear acceleration rate vs. a std. Auto tranny equipped V6 Escape with its sinusoidal driven shift points being clearly shown. With the above, the Escape HEV's FE increases vs. a std. Escape (I am not sure if the comparison was against the I4 or V6?) was 41% increase due to Regen, 23% increase due to the Atkinson intake, 16% increase due to Start/Stop, and two or three other less % increases all contributing to higher FE in the EPA's city (FTP75) test.
Now to the meat of the weekend including the FE saving techniques. The FTP75 (EPA city cycle) and HWFET (EPA highway cycle) including their 10 and 18% reductions respectively vs. what is received on the dyno was displayed. The key for higher FE in any automobile is reducing power demand as well as reducing loads and losses under any number of driving conditions. Although the following is relatively basic for most here, it setup the weekend’s reason just as it was supposed too.
1. Slow down. The graph displayed at that time (again, very linear) showed the Escape HEV at 50 mpg traveling at 30 mph vs. 25 mpg at 70 mph.
2. Stay in town whenever possible. All cars would do well in town due to much less aero drag if it were not for the fact they have no way to recoup braking heat via regen and have no way to go ICE off like the Escape HEV.
3. Smooth constant speed.
4. Avoid aggressive braking.
Reducing loads and Losses
1. A/C off vs. on makes a dramatic difference. A/C on vs. off at 30 mph equates to just 30 mpg vs. 50 mpg or a 40% loss! At a highway speed of 75 mph, A/C on lead to ~ 25 mpg vs. ~ 27 mpg w/out or a 10% loss was displayed in the graph presented.
2. During any multi segment drive, try and make the distant drive first to bring the ICE up to temp. With the warmer ICE, the following segments will include higher FE because of that already warmer ICE then the initial stat form dead cold.
3. Do not warm up the ICE. As soon as it starts, move. In the winter, expect as much as a 25% FE hit vs. summer like temps.
Another graph displaying of one of the engineers FE mapped in summer like temps vs. winter clearly showed this cold temp hit.
4. Accessory FE hit include the Radio at .1 MPG, Rear Defrost at .8
MPG, Headlights at .9 MPG, and Fan on High at 1.3 MPG
5. Every 300 # increase in weight drops FE by ~ 1 mpg.
6. 1.2 mpg loss using A/C vs. windows down at 60 mph.
7. 1.4 mpg loss if tire pressures are 10 #'s low.
A very short mention (not really discussion) of P&G and DWL.
Although both provide FE increases, the 15 mph swings in speed are not recommended.
Another short mention of PHEV's. They are not realistic today given the added weight and cost. CO2 emissions from average Power Plant are greater then a straight up gasoline burn, and the inconvenience of pack charging in terms of time makes the PHEV not a viable option at this time.
End of Presentation
Question and Answer Session
1. Battery pack and accident issues. Pack breakers trip and fuel is cut via various collision sensors.
2. Ford is working on a > 40 mph EV mode. Interesting statement here. The ICE start up jerk/harshness/bang via MG1 above 40 mph is the issue with not a mention of RPM protection. Afterwards, the engineers mentioned it was a combination of the Startup harshness engagement, MG1 RPM protection, and MG1's torque available above 40 mph to spin the ICE over for start up.
3. An owner asking about oil change intervals at 3,000 miles when the
Manual discusses much longer. Ford will be speaking with that dealerships Service Rep.
4. An individual was having problems with his local dealership charging $84 for an oil change. Ford will be speaking with that dealership to satisfy that owner as well.
5. (2) owners were having problems with the headliners coming down.
Again, there were Ford people that will be speaking with the individual dealerships to cure these problems in very short order.
There were a few "Thank You Ford" accolades about the Escape HEV at this presentation. I did not hear even one complaint about FE which is a very good thing.
Next came the behind the wheel segment.
I do not know what the Ford Engineers could have added as the course would have given a quick 60 + mpg run in a totally setup Escape HEV in warmer temps with an experienced course driver all alone behind the wheel. As it was, they couldn’t say much as John was nailed down a 53.x mpg run. After that drive, I told the top FE scoring Engineer that he too would achieve a higher FE on the segment once he used the exacting style and technique John was using.
After the local segment drive came quite a bit of discussion about Escape HEV controls, capabilities, test beds, and then a drive behind one of the instrumentation equipped Escape HEV test mules. Both John and I saw something we probably shouldn’t have but the graphs were clearly displayed on the laptop and the results were an interesting interpretation of what many have guessed at in the past. Let me just say that the Ford Pack is by far more robust and protected then anything Toyota has to offer and years ahead of what Honda is offering to date.
To end the day, everyone spent time adding input to the next gen instrument display. It will probably make its way into the Ford Fusion hybrid first but it was an interesting table top experiment to say the least.
On to the highlights from this hybrid enthusiast as to the real story behind the event.
When the first question(s) from the two individuals that had headliner issues were brought up, I tapped John on the shoulder and pointed towards Mary Ann Wright who began moving to the front of the auditorium to address the questions first hand. Not only did she call out the lead Product Concern engineer by name to follow up but was showing what I can only describe as a “passion” to make the Ford Escape Hybrid ownership experience the best it can be for all concerned. This was just the first of many “Passion’s” I had the opportunity to see first hand during this event. Let me describe a few others ... There was the lady who first greeted us as we walked in the door. A 10 + year Ford employee who was working in the Escape Hybrid group for just 3 weeks. Not only did she bleed Ford Blue, she was adamant that she will retire a Ford Employee no matter the financial condition of Ford at this point in time. A battery engineer I spoke with actually took a Prius II home with him one weekend and took the thing apart to see how it worked! Another controls engineer had a particularly rigorous internal fuel economy test cycle named after him. One engineer I spoke with was shipped up to a cold weather facility with 2 hours notice on a Friday afternoon and he loved the experience! Another who was sent to the APG (Arizona Proving Ground’s) with an Escape for durability testing loved every second of attempting to beat the Escape Hybrid into submission. It could not be beat and I can tell you that I would not dare have those guys take my Acura MDX through half of their tests for one round let alone for weeks on end unless I wanted to own a $40,000 piece of junk! And yet another who helped us get to the event on a Saturday night after we had left without an exact location as to the events whereabouts. Would any of us reading this article have the wherewithal to be called though a third or fourth party at ~ 07:00 PM on a Saturday night and make even more calls so that John and my directions were dead on for an early Sunday morning arrival? Another passion ... Everyone of the tech’s working the owners Escape’s in the parking lot, the various Engineers of every sort, the marketing and support staff, and the top level managers were there on their own time. They were not paid; they were there for one reason and one reason only. To make sure the Ford Escape Hybrid Experience was as positive as one could receive and to receive real world feedback so the next gen hybrid’s they are involved with will be that much better a vehicle for you and I. The best quote to describe this “Passion” I felt of the many Ford employees we all had the opportunity to hear from was “Your Vehicle has changed my life”
! Remember that this was a Ford Engineer talking about the Ford many of you have chosen as your principal mode of transportation, not one of us speaking to Ford about how the Escape HEV has changed ours!
I cannot say I learned much about the Escape HEV’s FE that I did not already know, experienced, or have learned from the likes of John (GPSman), Mike Maline, and Gary G. but I did learn that Ford Employees in the Escape Hybrid group are an enthusiastic group the likes I have not seen in industry in many many years. My hats off to Bill Ford for not cutting the program when he had many opportunities to do so, Mary Ann Wright for leading a team of highly motivated employees that want the Escape HEV to change your life, the many techs, engineers, and business employees that were there to make sure your experience was a success.
Thanks to all the Ford Escape Hybrid Team and Good Luck to you all.
Wayne R. Gerdes