While enthusiasts often focus on fun and wringing out every last bit of fun per gallon, hybrids and electric vehicles can bring a different challenge – maximum efficiency.
There’s a whole group of people dedicated to it. Nissan has even made a new website that will rank the most efficient drivers of its new LEAF electric-vehicle, which is starting to be delivered to customers.
It is often possible to achieve fuel economy figures far above the numbers given by the EPA. Hypermiler Wayne Gerdes knows all about that, with many publicized fuel-effiency runs. For his latest effort, he was sponsored by Hyundai to see how far he could go in a Sonata Hybrid – on two tanks of gas.
The answer? 2269.3 miles, from San Diego, California to Jekyll Island, Georgia. It was all done on public roads and according to Hyundai “over mountains and through inclement weather.” Winter driving can decrease fuel efficiency significantly.
The trip was undertaken in two legs, with the first on one tank of fuel coming in at 1221.2 miles. The EPA-rated figure for the Sonata Hybrid range on a tank of gas at 700 miles.
The second leg of the trip was 1048.1 miles, and it was completed with 2.5 gallons left in the tank. So how do these numbers work out in terms of MPG? The average was 59.59 mpg. What’s more, the trip was done without any techniques like drafting behind a semi to achieve better fuel economy.
However, the route was planned to achieve the best mileage possible. Gerdes says the Sonata Hybrid is designed to be a highway cruiser, and he learned some interesting facts about it on the way.
For one, the Sonata Hybrid can go up to 88 mph in all-electric mode. Hyundai officially states that it only goes to 62 mph in electric model. Also the gas tank actually holds 20.6 gallons, instead of an official capacity of 17.2 gallons for the hybrid. Interesting stuff, and good press for Hyundai.