Learning your route.

Discussion in 'Fuel Economy' started by Jocko, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. Jocko

    Jocko Active Member

    I drive the same route, twice a day, five days a week. As a result I am able to refine my driving technique over that route. It has been less than a month since I started to try and improve my fuel figures by employing some of the tricks I have read here and elsewhere.

    The first thing I changed was the route I used. In the morning I went the shortest quickest way, but at lunch time I went a longer route, just for a bit of variety. The shorter route has one set of traffic lights, the longer one, eight. Variety was the first thing to go!

    What I have been able to refine is the points where I slip into neutral, to do a bit of coasting, and the places I select a lower gear for Deceleration Fuel Cut Off. I use both methods quite a lot, choosing which gives me the best option for the given condition. For example, there is a long gentle downhill section where even 5th would slow me down quickly (my Honda Jazz is light and has very little inertia), so there I coast in neutral. As I approach the end of the slope, and the right hand turn at the light controlled junction, I know when to select 3rd, for DFCO and the management of my speed before making the turn.

    My entire route is like that. Places where I know if I go into neutral I can reach a turn at the correct speed and other spots where in gear coasting is the best option. My selection points are pretty precise as well. I know if I slip into neutral at the white gate I have enough speed to crest the rise and if I select 3rd at the big house I can use DFCO right up to the roundabout at the bottom of the hill. I refine these points with experience.

    My lunch time trip is not so simple. Traffic is much heavier than it is at 06:30 and the best laid plans as they say! It is much more a case of forward observation and trying to second guess other drivers.

    What really scunners me are the drivers who sit at a red light and are never ready to move off when they change. Let’s face it. You have only the one thing you need to do at a traffic light and that is watch for it to turn green. While you are sliding slowly up behind them they are staring into space, oblivious to all around them. Now I know that with auto stop and the like some cars are not ready to go the moment the green light comes on but at least, here in the UK, we have red and amber to let them get ready. Get three dawdlers ahead of you at a set of lights and you are lucky to get through before the amber, never mind without needing to stop.

    And don’t get me started on roundabouts!

    I never coast with the engine off. In my car that is downright dangerous. Okay, my brake servo is good for three or four applications before I need Bigfoot but my steering has electrical power assist which requires the engine running to operate. Now I am a big fella, but to turn the wheel without the power steering I would need arms like Garth. It is like the steering lock is on. I have never known a car with such heavy steering without the power assist.

    Well I say I never coast with the engine off. I do when I bring the car out of the garage. I always leave my car in 1st gear, wherever I park, so it is foot on the clutch, start engine, clutch up, start rolling, clutch down and engine off. The car can then roll clear of the garage ready for me to go and lock it back up.

    I follow that initial procedure all the time. My start is always everyone belted in, check for other traffic, once all clear start engine, clutch up and off. No unnecessary idling.

    So that is what I have learned so far. A long way still to go for probably little extra mpg, but it is a good game, and I enjoy playing it.

    What about you?
  2. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Here , maybe not exactly the same. One has to fiddle with the cellphone , put on makeup , sleep , pick the nose. I do wish more people would pay attention. Any moron who can walk semi-erectly can get a driver's license here.

    I do know my route extremely well. I have alternate routes to get home , if I can spare the time , that will allow my hybrid car to SHINE. My "normal" commute has 23 miles of highway , so my car's not much better than a Civic on that part.

    I'm NOT a big fella , but I never had a problem with the manual steering in my 89 Civic Si. Of course, that car was 300-400 lbs lighter than a Fit/Jazz. But I can also accept that power-assisted steering has different ratios than manual steering , and is not really meant to drive without assist.
    BillLin likes this.
  3. puddleglum

    puddleglum Well-Known Member

    I've heard the electric power steering assist is way worse when it is off than hydraulic assist. I've never tried it, but I can see it being a problem though. The Echo is great. It steers almost as easy in EOC as running.
    I know my route pretty well but I swear the lights are intentionally timed to make people stop. I know where I can EOC pretty well now and I do it lots, but traffic congestion is the big variable. It's been a work in progress as I experiment with what works and what doesn't.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
    BillLin likes this.
  4. Jocko

    Jocko Active Member

    As a newcomer to hypermiling it is a steep learning curve at the moment.
    BillLin likes this.
  5. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    I have done key off coasting in my Escape Hybrid with electric steering. It is about as hard to steer as my 3 ton full size pickup truck is with the key off.
    BillLin likes this.
  6. Jocko

    Jocko Active Member

    I don't think I would be up for key of coasting even if the steering was not as heavy, but it means that it is totally impracticable. I key off when I come out of the garage and even with the ignition back on I cannot turn the wheel as I coast down the slight slope.
    BillLin likes this.
  7. puddleglum

    puddleglum Well-Known Member

    Safety first. If it's not safe, don't do it.
    08EscapeHybrid, JonNC and BillLin like this.
  8. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    That's pretty hard core.:D
  9. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    The steering on those old Civics was basically a manual system with a little boost. It's a whole different story with the new ones.

    Maybe it's different with my newer Fit, but the electric steering comes back on after a couple seconds, engine off. You have to plan those couple seconds to be on straight areas and be highly aware of the difference during that time.

    Oh, are you keying back to the On position, just not starting the engine? Don't want to leave it Off for any length of time.
  10. puddleglum

    puddleglum Well-Known Member

    I wonder, if you were to install an injector kill switch like I have in the Echo, if that would solve the electric steering lock up issue. If the ECU didn't know the engine was shut off, since you no longer need to cycle the key switch to kill the engine, it may not cut out the EPS. Just brainstorming, not saying you should do it but it would be interesting to find out if it would work. If you were to kill the engine with the clutch and not the key, does the steering still lock up?
  11. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Why, other than the silly EPS? I coasted Off in the Mazda and didn't miss much, except when I occasionally forgot until too late to turn the ignition back on. The steering, brake lights, and turn signals still worked normally. Wipers didn't, but I didn't do that in the rain.
  12. Jocko

    Jocko Active Member

    Electric steering only works when the alternator is giving out power (like heated rear window). The electric steering uses a huge amount of current so the system is designed to protect the battery.
  13. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Huh. On mine everything works in On, except the engine. There is a reason I keep the voltage showing on my SG.
    RedylC94 likes this.
  14. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    That's surprising, especially in the case the window heater. But, then, I never had (and have barely ever driven) any car with both an alternator and electric power steering.

    Correction: I think I normally coasted in the Mazda in ACC, not OFF as I implied earlier. In that car, the turn signals worked in all positions of the ignition switch, and there was no power steering (which was not needed in the least!), so there was no need to increase battery drain by using ON. The only electrical component that didn't function with the ignition switch ON and the engine not running was the electric choke---not because it consumed too much current, but because it was powered through a different alternator terminal than the main 12v output.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  15. Jocko

    Jocko Active Member

    Checked into it a bit further. The rear windscreen demister will come on without the engine running (I was confusing it with my Volvo S40 which wouldn't), but the electric power steering needs the engine running. When you turn the ignition On the PAS warning light illuminates and the steering is very heavy. As soon as the engine starts the PAS warning light goes out and the steering lightens up to normal. A 40 Amp fuse supplies the power steering motor.
    RedylC94 and PaleMelanesian like this.
  16. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Thanks for checking further. I'll agree, you don't want to be driving that car without the power steering. It's built around it.
  17. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    How (or why) would they making steering with the electric power steering off that much more weighty than manual steering (aside from the effect of likely slightly quicker ratio)? My Prius, for comparison, has a 60A fuse for that purpose. I haven't tried driving without it, but with the car stationary and everything off, turning the wheels doesn't seem radically more difficult than I'd expect under the same conditions with conventional hydraulic power steering. I don't like the "feel" of the EPS, at least partly because it's so over-damped.
  18. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    It's just that, a quicker ratio.

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