Here are a few suggestions to help owners get the most out of their hybrid vehicles. (Note: The following tips were largely based from real world experience using hybrids from the Toyota brand, but the logic and strategy can easily be applied across other makes if such technologies are utilized by them.)
1. Accelerate briskly from a stop to utilize the torque from the electric motors, and then glide when the vehicle is up to speed to utilize EV (electric vehicle) driving capability if the speed is under about 42 MPH. This technique is known as “pulse and glide.” This is the most effective form for driving a hybrid.
2. Combine short trips and minimize cold starts. This information is both practical and universal.
3. Monitor traffic ahead to avoid heavy braking. Light brake application can enhance regenerative braking and help optimize battery charging for improved fuel efficiency.
4. Avoid speeds in excess of 60 MPH, if doing so is prudent. (Fuel efficiency declines at speeds above 60 MPH and drops significantly at speeds above 70 MPH.
5. Use the ECO mode when appropriate to maximize fuel efficiency.
6. Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low or high pressures will degrade the ride quality and fuel efficiency.
7. Avoid carrying unnecessary loads.
8. Use the air conditioner and defroster only as needed.
9. Most hybrid batteries are vented internally to the cabin to keep condensation and moisture from damaging the integrity of the batteries. To keep a healthy hybrid battery, identify and locate that vent and make sure that there is nothing blocking that vent. It serves the same purpose as the fan on the back of a CPU. It keeps the unit from overheating.
10. Make sure that repairs are always done at a dealership by a factory trained and certified technician. Hybrids are too advanced for most small garages to effectively navigate repairs.