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Honda Civic Hybrid Driving Tips & Tricks

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Comments

  • cdoldcdold Posts: 34
    "d. Accelerating on inclines. Accelerate on flat sections or declines instead. Don’t accelerate on hills unless absolutely necessary. "

    This is old advice, including proper driving in snow, but it is hard to get used to.
    I've thought about it quite a bit, but where I am, hills are big, and require some juice. Freeway overpasses, on the other hand... My 1967 Datsun had a hand operated locking throttle. My speed would fall going up hills, rise going down... that might be a better thing overall.

    ". Unless you live in a very flat terrain, keep the cruise control off. "

    Goes hand in hand with the acceleration on hills. Sometimes I leave the cruise on, and find the RPM up around 4500. That might be wasteful on a short incline, but if the incline is long, you need to give it more power to maintain a decent speed.

    Maybe the answer would be a cruise control that had a wider range of speed allowed before it tried to correct. It works on household thermostats.

    "Don’t nudge ahead at stops " That takes some getting used to. It seems like the drivers ahead of me conspire to leave a gap after my engine has already shut off. I just ignore it now. I'm not going anywhere until the light changes.

    I wish the auto-stop light would kill the engine. That way if I did creep, I could auto-stop it again easily.

    Being able to creep is an advantage on my Ford Escape Hybrid. I was able to maintain "99.9mpg" for a few miles the other day, stuck in traffic. Then the engine started, and it dropped to 45 pretty quickly.

    "Drive like your brakes don’t work" The dealer has already commented on my low brake wear. I drive the HCH like I rode my BMW motorcycle. High corner speed, not much acceleration or braking. It's not a race. I don't need speed between the corners. More likely my speed doesn't vary much between curves and straights on a windy stretch of road.

    "Get up off of those soggy, spongy tires! " I couldn't stand the recommended 30psi. I went for 35. At 38,000 miles, I switched to "normal" tires, and I'm running 38psi. Quieter, smoother, stickier. My mileage is off a little, maybe due to the tires, maybe because the new tires allow for higher speeds on the windy roads. Maybe something's wrong with the IMA.

    “hidden charging” I think my 2003 HCH does charge with no charge bars showing. I might be near half full, travelling on level ground, and another battery bar appears.

    "Find the right amount of gas needed to maintain speed on a flat road. Back off the gas to gain 1-2 bars of the instant MPG gauge. "
    I find the instant gauge to be annoying. I really wish the range was 20-60, instead of 0-120.
    I don't care if it's below 20. It's only there because I need it, and anything above 60 is coasting. A larger view of the sweet spot would be useful for this sort of tuning.
    I'll try watching the bars as an indicator.

    Recently, I've tried _very_ hard to stay at 65mph.
    It's hard to do around here. "right lane" doesn't do it. Traffic getting on and off the freeway often leaves the right lane too varied in speed, from 45-60. The next lane over works better, but it is sooo easy to stay up with the traffic. a sluggish glob of traffic starts to break up, and suddenly you're at 75.

    I have seen 60mpg at 60mph. Usually 50 at 65-70.
    I also had 42mpg at 80mph... that was good enough that night.

    http://www.rahul.net/dold/clarence/Honda_Mileage.htm
  • cdoldcdold Posts: 34
    "Find the right amount of gas needed "

    I accelerate from a stop this way.
    In casual residential areas, I might hold about 1800 rpm, and let the speed rise at whatever rate it happens.

    In rural situations, I hold about 3,000 rpm until I get to cruising speed, and then back off.

    I find that this provides adequate acceleration, pulling away from most traffic.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Cdold:

    You are Monday - Morning - Quarterbacking an individual with the highest lmpg of any CVT equipped HCH on the planet. I don’t think you have much to offer him in regards to FE techniques although we are all open to new ideas.

    Good Luck

    Wayne R. Gerdes
  • "d. Accelerating on inclines. Accelerate on flat sections or declines instead. Don’t accelerate on hills unless absolutely necessary."
    “hidden charging”???
    "I really wish the range was 20-60, instead of 0-120. Anything above 60 is coasting.

    .

    Why does it matter when you accelerate? Seems you'd burn the same amount of gas, either way? In my insight, I've driven up-n-down a lot of mountains, experimenting. I discovered I could climb in 3rd gear at ~40mph, and neutral on the way down, and still get 100 MPG overall.

    Yes, Honda cars have a "trickle charge" which is too small to see on the meter.

    And 0-60 would not be an adequate scale. I've driven the Civic Hybrid, and I can cruise at 70-75 in lean-burn. You should be able to do the same.

    troy
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Thanks Troy.
    Please keep in mind that I have a CVT, and your 5 speed is likely different.
    Your noted Insight FE is fantastic as well.

    It is most FE to accelerate while going downhill, as you have the weight of the car and gravity to assist you.

    Accelerating uphill is opposite.
    For instance, suppose you're at a stop light and see a hill(s) right ahead. The speed limit is 45 or 55 and you have a captive audience behind you.

    The light turns green and you accelerate as reasonalby as possible up to the 1st hill, but you're still well below traffic speed at the hill's base.
    It's more FE while pulling the hill to keep the speed you have already built and not add any more until you reach the plateou. If you hold the accelerator in place once on the flatter areas gravity isn't as severe and you gain more speed.

    I think you were mistaken, as I wasn't the one who posted the 0-60 range on the instant FCD.

    If I had my way, I'd increase it to 150 and add lots more segments.

    cdold, you must be getting good FE as well.
    I'm not sure about the RPM idea.
    Many times in my case while trying to accelerate, no Assist=no acceleration while 1 bar of assist=slow gradual acceleration.

    With that in mind, if there's no one behind me I'll ride the accelerator with the same precision as a watchmaker to hold 1 bar of Asssit on until up to speed.
  • And 0-60 would not be an adequate scale for the Instant MPG Bar. I've driven the Civic Hybrid, and I can cruise at 70-75 in lean-burn. The 0-60 would be inadequate. -troy
    ==================================================
    Thanks Troy. Please keep in mind that I have a CVT, and your 5 speed is likely different.

    .

    I was driving the CVT civic.

    As for hills, I suppose I agree it's best to hold a steady throttle climbing hills, but disagree about accelerating downhill. I usually shift to neutral & let gravity do the work, while the engine idles.

    troy
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    As for hills, I suppose I agree it's best to hold a steady throttle climbing hills, but disagree about accelerating downhill. I usually shift to neutral & let gravity do the work, while the engine idles.

    1) Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of regenerative braking/recharging?

    2) ICE use less gas when in gear going downhill than in neutral. Force of gravity spins the engine, minimizing fuel consumtion. Idling requires fuel to keep the engine spinning.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Blueiegod,

    I respectfully disagree with both points and agree with Misterme and Electrictroy shift to neutral & let gravity do the work, while the engine idles :


    Coasting downhill is a way to save gas!


    1) Even in neustral regenerative braking still works. Pushing in the clutch or shifting and automatic to Neutral doesn't disable the brakes. Regenrative brakes are only disabled, in emergency stops, when the full forces of the mechanical/Hydrallic brake is applied.

    2) Leaving in gear provides a significant drag on the engine, less the higher the gear, but still a significant drag. You are assuming that spinning the engine in gear with gravity also incorporates fuel-shutoff which isn't necessarily true. If you are really a hyper-miler simple turn-off the engine. Wait a minute isn't that the "auto-stop concept.

    The downside is if a emegency arises and you need ICE power to accelerate, there is some delay shifting back in gear and/or starting the engine.

    Hondas Rule!,
    MidCow
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Midnightcowboy:

    In the manual equipped Honda Hybrid’s, pushing in the clutch or shifting into neutral disables regen braking as IMA is built into the ICE, not the brakes. Best bet is to shift to neutral and let off the clutch with the car running or not to save that manuals synchro’s.

    Good Luck

    Wayne R. Gerdes
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    Coasting downhill is a way to save gas!

    1) Even in neustral regenerative braking still works. Pushing in the clutch or shifting and automatic to Neutral doesn't disable the brakes. Regenrative brakes are only disabled, in emergency stops, when the full forces of the mechanical/Hydrallic brake is applied.

    2) Leaving in gear provides a significant drag on the engine, less the higher the gear, but still a significant drag. You are assuming that spinning the engine in gear with gravity also incorporates fuel-shutoff which isn't necessarily true. If you are really a hyper-miler simple turn-off the engine. Wait a minute isn't that the "auto-stop concept.

    The downside is if a emegency arises and you need ICE power to accelerate, there is some delay shifting back in gear and/or starting the engine.

    Hondas Rule!,
    MidCow


    No It won't save you gas.

    1) The regenerative braking is via the electric motor/generator which is coupled to the engine before the clutch and transmission. By shifting into neutral, or releasing clutch, you have just disconnected the generator from the wheels.

    2) Leaving car in gear while going downhill does not provide drag on the engine, but forces the engine to spin. While the engine spins at higher RPM with the throttle closed the engine computer minimizes the fuel flow, by shortening the injection times to a virtual trickle. This is where the increased fuel economy comes from. Next time going downhill in gear, watch your instanteneous MPG meter, it should go up to 80-120 MPG. It works on BMW's, the MPG meter goes off the scale.
  • >>> 1) Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of regenerative braking/recharging?
    >>> 2) ICE use less gas when in gear going downhill than in neutral. Force of gravity spins the engine, minimizing fuel consumtion. Idling requires fuel to keep the engine spinning.

    .

    (1) The energy recovered in the form of kinetic energy (speed) is close to 100% conversion. Energy recovered via battery braking is only 20-30%.

    (2) Last I checked my MPG gauge, even when idling going downhill, my engine still gets 2300 miles per gallon. The long-term impact on lifetime MPG is minimal.

    (3) So bottom line: Shifting to neutral when coasting downhill, thereby converting potential energy to kinetic energy, is a more effective energy-recycling method.

    troy
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "So bottom line: Shifting to neutral when coasting downhill, thereby converting potential energy to kinetic energy, is a more effective energy-recycling method."

    Just my 2 cents here, but I think Honda designed the car to leave the transmission engaged on when going downhill. If it were truly that much superior, they would have disengaged the transmission via computer control.
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    " If it were truly that much superior, they would have disengaged the transmission via computer control"

    Yes, this was overlooked, or may have saved manufacturing costs with more parts (Another clutch, etc)

    As you're rolling down hill in gear you can add just enough gas for the engine to overcome its internal friction.
    If the angle of the hill isn't enough for what you need to do your FCD will move off of 120.
    Why?
    Because you're feeding it gas, and look at the increased RPM: it is faster than idle speed. You also need to feed gas to stop the IMA from activating coasting charging.

    You can overcome this friction by switching to N or depressing the clutch. (Same thing)

    Now you're not feeding it any gas at all. It's only idling. And the FCD is pegged.

    In gear=feed gas to overcome internal friction & coasting charging.
    Out of gear=feed no gas. Gravity is free to propell you.
    Not rocket science.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    (1) The energy recovered in the form of kinetic energy (speed) is close to 100% conversion. Energy recovered via battery braking is only 20-30%.

    I would like to know you more, you have obviously been able to defeat the conservation of energy law. If one were able to recover 100% of kinetic energy of going down the hill, one would have been able to use this same energy to climb the next hill, and so on. Wow we have perpetual motion I think you should apply for Nobel Prize, people have been trying to build Perpetual motion machine for centuries.

    Anyway, my point is by shifting into neutral or disengaging the clutch, you have disconnected the generator from the wheels, and there is no regenerative electricity being produced from gravitation pull, only from the idling engine. The fuel consumtion of an engine forced to spin fast at the crankshaft is lower than engine idling on its own.

    (3) So bottom line: Shifting to neutral when coasting downhill, thereby converting potential energy to kinetic energy, is a more effective energy-recycling method

    What method do you use to control the speed? I know there is hill in upstate NY on RT17W, that if I were to coast in neutral I would bild up to 80 mph half way down. If you are using brakes to control your speed, you have just wasted that potential energy into heat, rather than useful electricity.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    The fuel consumtion of an engine forced to spin fast at the crankshaft is lower than engine idling on its own.

    However, this acts as a braking function on the engine and thus the car slowing it down. While the net instantaneous fuel comsumption may be lower as you say, the overall affect is less less mpg.

    I don't think ElectricTroy was advocating using any braking at all! Let the speed build up limited only by rolling friction and wind resistance.

    In defense of ElectricTroy, while kinectic energy is not 100% it is much closer to 100% (less friction and wind resistance) than regenerative braking, which I think was the intended point.

    And yes I was wrong in My thinking as Wayne nicely pointed out that the regenrative braking is dircetly commected to the IMA which is connected to the iCE. So if you push in the clutch and/or shift to neutral you disengane the IMA and its associated regnerative braking.

    BTW I think this point has been beaten to death! Don't you.

    Have a good weekend!,

    MidCow, the manual shift man

    P.S.- Gravity sure can make bicycles go fast down hills, now ther's a potential to kinetic conversion!!
  • kangerookangeroo Posts: 1
    Okay, I am been doing some research on driving techniques with Honda Civic Hybrid and the most controversial one is that of coasting in neutral and then shifting back into drive. From what I hear on forums, this is what a lot of HCH drivers do to gain more mileage, but from other sources, I hear that doing this switch from D to N and N to D will eventually ruin your transmission. How much of this is true?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    I surely wouldn't do it with the CVT. I just can't believe that is doing the transmission any good, for the sake of what, an extra mpg or two or three? The mind boggles...
  • mtndadmtndad Posts: 1
    Just purchased 2005 civic hybrid. I drive to and from work, about 35 miles each way. To work, my drive is downhill. My drive home is mainly uphill. I go from sea level to four thousand feet. Would appreciate any advice for the drive home, uphill. Also any advice in general for a new owner. Thanks
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,146
    Welcome to the Forum. You should do good on your mileage. The downhill should more than compensate for the uphill drive, giving you overall good mileage.

    PS
    The hypermilers should have some good tips on maximizing your mileage.
  • cablackcablack Posts: 45
    Gary is right, both about getting good mileage, and about the hypermilers giving you good tips. I'm not a hypermiler -- I'm more of a mediocre-miler -- but I can tell you what I would expect, mileage-wise.

    - If you travel at 65mph on your commute, then you should get very good gas mileage. On my trips where I have done this, I have averaged over 50mpg.
    - When I go 70-75mph, my mileage drops to 45-47mpg.
    - I have gone on trips with large elevation changes (3-4K feet), and I have sometimes recouped my mileage going downhill, and sometimes not. Same roads. I'm not sure why. Maybe that's why I'm only a mediocre-miler. :-)

    If you want to get extreme mileage (some HCH owners average 60mpg), then I say more power too you. If, however, you want to just drive the car and enjoy it, then I've found that the mileage pretty much takes care of itself. My lifetime mileage after 7000 miles is 45mpg and most of that is my short 6-mile commute in city traffic.

    Last thought: enjoy! It's a fun car to drive, and as a commuter vehicle, it is hard to beat. And based on my experience, your mileage will probably be roughly 25-30% better than you would have gotten with a comparable Honda Civic non-hybrid, under the same conditions.
  • cdoldcdold Posts: 34
    "You are Monday - Morning - Quarterbacking an individual with the highest mpg of any CVT equipped HCH on the planet. I don’t think you have much to offer him in regards to FE techniques although we are all open to new ideas. "

    The highest MPG on the planet means that some of his ideas are out of the mainstream. And in my area of two lane roads, downright unfriendly.

    If I don't have anything to offer to him, should I just grovel in his brilliance?

    It doesn't seem like you are open to new ideas, if none are allowed to be offered.
  • cdoldcdold Posts: 34
    "cdold, you must be getting good FE as well.
    I'm not sure about the RPM idea."

    My overall average is 46MPG, with only some concern for gas mileage. I am careful with my starts, and I use cruise control to keep my speed below the high side of traffic, which is often 75mph. I cruise at 65 to get 50mpg.

    I think my new Cooper Mastercraft tires have hurt my mileage by 2-3mpg, either directly because they aren't low rolling resistance, or indirectly because I am driving faster on the windy roads.

    I use the "steady RPM while accelerating" method because the engine speed seems so load sensitive. Floor it, it goes to 5000. Ease away from the stop, it stays at 1800. It seems as good a guideline as any. I find that a steady 3,000 lags behind some cars right off the line, but I catch them around 35-40, as they probably are sensing their car laboring, and start to back off.

    One bar of assist might be a similar guideline.
    I think I run three or four. One bar would be too slow for me, pulling out onto a two lane highway from a stop sign.

    I don't want anyone else driving my car, especially if they aren't in it. But I also don't want to drive theirs, by forcing them to wait behind me while I try to improve my mileage another few percent.
  • TROY: "So bottom line: Shifting to neutral when coasting downhill, thereby converting potential energy to kinetic energy, is a more effective energy-recycling method."

    STEVEDEBT: "Just my 2 cents here, but I think Honda designed the car to leave the transmission engaged on when going downhill. If it were truly that much superior, they would have disengaged the transmission via computer control. "

    ================================

    Well... they were wrong. I get better MPG by coasting in neutral, than if I allow the regen braking to kick on. More energy is recovered via the kinetic energy of the car, than via the chemical energy of the battery. I've experimented with climbing Utah mountains to prove what I say.

    Troy
  • TROY: "(1) The energy recovered in the form of kinetic energy (speed) is close to 100% conversion. Energy recovered via battery braking is only 20-30%."

    BLUEIEDGOD: "I would like to know more, you have obviously been able to defeat the conservation of energy law. If one were able to recover 100% of kinetic energy of going down the hill, one would have been able to use this same energy to climb the next hill, and so on. Wow we have perpetual motion"

    ==================================================

    Strawman argument. I didn't say 100%. I said "close to 100%". I don't know the actual PE-to-KE conversion efficiency...perhaps 90%. Still much, much higher than the 20-30% recovered via battery.

    As for your other questions:
    - yes the engine idles, but in the insight that's still equal to ~2000 mpg which is practically nothing

    - yes I might hit 80 mph coasting downhill, but if I'm on the interstate, who cares?

    troy
  • bird2bird2 Posts: 3
    Greetings,

    Freewheeling, or coasting out-of-gear, can be dangerous, and is in fact against the law in some states. Some drivers may in fact know under what conditions it is OK to do it, but for most drivers, I don't think it's advisable, and it would bring negligible fuel savings. For automatics, and in particular the CVT, one should probably consult with experts on the potential mechanical problems that could result in re-engaging Drive at high rates of speed.

    Bird
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Thanks for the comments bird2.

    Yes, driving out of gear can be dangerous, especially at high rates of speed.
    That's why I keep it in gear while at high rates of speed.
    This morning I had my dealer do my 35K mile oil change and asked him about related mechanical issues.
    It seems he had a chuckle, and said there is no issue.

    I'm sure that I'll break the law by exceeding the speed limits again today, may even forget to blink once or twice. Might even switch it to N.

    MPG gain while in N is not negligible fuel savings, can help it quite a bit.

    cdold:
    "The highest MPG on the planet means that some of his ideas are out of the mainstream. And in my area of two lane roads, downright unfriendly."

    Yes, hypermiling is indeed out of the mainstream.
    Mainstream driving would mean paying zero attention to how much fuel my vehicle is consuming.
    Part of the hypermiling skill is for it to be transparent to other drivers: to be considerate.
    Hypermiling isn't just slow.

    And yes, I am always open to new ideas and things to try. That's what it's all about.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    And yes, I am always open to new ideas and things to try. That's what it's all about.

    Following really close behind big rigs will reduce the wind resistance. Car and driver drove the insight behind a big truck a few years back, they achieved something on the scale of 80 mpg drivig from Detroit to New York.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    From another website:

    "If you are in bumper to bumper traffic and rolling a long at 5mph, heck yeah, coast all you want, it ain't gonna break anything. You just don't want to be in a habit of rolling at 70mph in neutral down that hill when the deer jumps out and the car on the right swerves into your lane.
    It is illegal in CA too.
    Coasting Prohibited
    21710. The driver of a motor vehicle when traveling on down grade upon any highway shall not coast with the gears of such vehicle in neutral.
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21710.htm

    Note that is it illegal only on highways.
    I'm sure cities have laws too.
    The is no way it is ok to neutral coast in San Francisco."
  • Still haven't answered my question...

    Don't the brakes still work in neutral? Yes. So why not just use them?

    troy
  • cdoldcdold Posts: 34
    " Part of the hypermiling skill is for it to be transparent to other drivers: to be considerate.
    Hypermiling isn't just slow."

    Hypermiling involves some peculiar driving habits. Accelerating downhill and letting speed fall to 40MPH going uphill is rude.

    I get 46 overall, and exceed 50mpg on road trips by driving sensibly. I almost always have cruise control on.
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