Saturday, July 28, 2012
E = ICE Efficiency: The perfect equation for efficient driving in any vehicle
A funny thing happened on the way to achieving EV efficiency...ICE efficiency.
The E is fun to drive fast, but I'm in this for the long haul, sometimes quite literally on days where I need all the mileage I can get, so I have to drive efficiently sometimes. But that's never been my style given the 100% solid lead right foot I've had since turning 16. With a good deal of practice and (take a deep breath) patience, I have traded my solid lead foot for a new lightweight aluminum model, or maybe carbon fiber since that's the "in" material right now.
That translates into smooth steady accelerations, planning ahead to allow for regenerative baking sooner, and never traveling over 70 mph on the freeway (did I say never? Well almost never). Here in California, keeping the car at or below 70 is difficult, and sometimes life-threatening. The long-frustrated commuter traffic overreacts to the open road as if it's the only remaining stretch of unclogged freeway left in CA and it must be traveled quickly before it too is clogged with traffic.
By implementing these new driving techniques most of the time, I have been able to dramatically increase the range and efficiency of the E. But I have also substantially increased the efficiency of my ice vehicles on those highly unfortunate and disappointing days when I am forced to drive in ICE (would that be driving on the rocks?)
It turns out that the same techniques that make driving EV's efficiently also make ICE vehicles efficient too. I know that sounds obvious, but I never meant to translate my EV driving style to my ICE vehicle--it just happened by accident. You can take the driver out of the E, but you can't take the E out of the driver apparently.
Once I realized that I had broken my previous bad driving habits for the better, I made a conscious effort to drive the ICE'y cars the same as the EV, and my fuel efficient went up dramatically. With my GMC Yukon, where previously I averaged 14.5 to 15 mpg, I increased the efficiency to 18.5 mpg. That's a big difference. The Yukon holds about 22 gallons of fuel, at 15 mpg that translates into 330 miles of driving. At 18.5 mpg I get 407 miles, that's a difference of 77 miles- almost two extra days of driving for me.
The interesting lesson in all of this is that even if EV's don't completely replace ICE cars, they may make everyone more efficient drivers no matter which type of vehicle they drive. If only they drive EV's first.