Topics

Green Driving techniques

Ernest Bull
 

Back in the day, especially after doing part of a police advanced driving course, I always aimed at getting places in the least possible time - well, petrol was 15P or so a gallon. Not £6! Oh! Yes. While on that, always fill slowly. The way they calibrate the meters, you will get more juice per £. (Got that tip from a ‘revenue’ man who checks the meters.)

Then driving techniques can not only save you hard cash, they will also help to reduce your carbon footprint. https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/fuel-efficient-driving/ and sites like it will help you develop your driving technique, except, I am sure, on using cruise control. I developed my own technique when driving my Tramp and did the numbers to prove it. Lost now, but I was getting an extra 10+mpg on motorways and trunk roads. 

On the flat or near flat, setting cruise at 57 or 58mph instead of 70 or 80 easily gave me an extra 100 miles or more per tank of diesel. (Which is why I invariably took the RN roads with the 90kph/56mph limit in France.) When climbing hills, I would gradually click the cruise speed down to keep the mpg higher and then click it up going down again to a little over the limit. The van’s inertia would take it a fair way along the flat or boost it up the next climb.

If your van doesn’t do instantaneous mpg read outs, there are monitor units that plug into the van’s OBD diagnostic socket. Try Halfords.
______

ErnB


timsinc Sinclair
 

This using cruise control: I had a difference with a guy on FB m-home
forum who reckoned cruise control was far better than foot control on
the accelerator for fuel efficiency. But with cruise control you're
always in gear. And I've found on long downhills, if I shift into
neutral (obviously when safe), the van is not held back by the engine.
Yes, may go above what would be the 60mph cruise control setting to
maybe 70mph, but the momentum then carries me (almost fuel free) some
way up the next incline, maybe ending up at 55mph.

That - with also easing off anyway on long uphills rather than fixed
cruise control revving to keep up to its setting - I reckon is more
fuel efficient.

TimS

On 14/10/2019, Ernest Bull <ernb32@...> wrote:
Back in the day, especially after doing part of a police advanced driving
course, I always aimed at getting places in the least possible time - well,
petrol was 15P or so a gallon. Not £6! Oh! Yes. While on that, always fill
slowly. The way they calibrate the meters, you will get more juice per £.
(Got that tip from a ‘revenue’ man who checks the meters.)

Then driving techniques can not only save you hard cash, they will also help
to reduce your carbon footprint.
https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/fuel-efficient-driving/
<https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/fuel-efficient-driving/> and sites like
it will help you develop your driving technique, except, I am sure, on using
cruise control. I developed my own technique when driving my Tramp and did
the numbers to prove it. Lost now, but I was getting an extra 10+mpg on
motorways and trunk roads.

On the flat or near flat, setting cruise at 57 or 58mph instead of 70 or 80
easily gave me an extra 100 miles or more per tank of diesel. (Which is why
I invariably took the RN roads with the 90kph/56mph limit in France.) When
climbing hills, I would gradually click the cruise speed down to keep the
mpg higher and then click it up going down again to a little over the limit.
The van’s inertia would take it a fair way along the flat or boost it up the
next climb.

If your van doesn’t do instantaneous mpg read outs, there are monitor units
that plug into the van’s OBD diagnostic socket. Try Halfords.
______

ErnB





--

*It'll all be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end*

Ernest Bull
 

On 14 Oct 2019, at 23:28, timsinc Sinclair <timsinc@...> wrote:

And I've found on long downhills, if I shift into neutral (obviously when safe), the van is not held back by the engine.

I found that to be counter-intuitive, Tim. Doesn’t make sense, I know, but it is the nature of electronic control of fuel injectors. (Petrol as well as diesel.) Reaching the set speed/rpm, the the injectors stop injecting. On my current diesel car, the mpg can read over 300mpg at 80mph. In fact, many ‘fuel saving' websites like this one: -
8. Don't slip into neutral when travelling in the belief you are saving fuel. Choose the appropriate gear for your speed instead. Modern fuel-injected cars consume proportionately more fuel when in neutral as they perceive the car to be idling.

Also, while standard automatic gearboxes get a bit of stick as fuel wasters, the latest semi-automatic boxes (Including Sprint-Shift?) are not so. I do not know what innovations the latest MHs boast, but my Berlingo has a versatile semi-automatic/manual gearbox with F1 type gear ‘paddles’ on the steering column. While it does well in semi-auto, I can over-ride it by flipping the paddles up and down within certain speed/revs parameters. Practicing driving smoothly and anticipating traffic, I have managed to cut using the foot brake until almost stationary. Even in Bristol’s traffic. Except to stop the car rolling at lights and junctions when it also cuts the engine on ECO.
_______

ErnB

timsinc Sinclair
 

That's interesting Ern. My camper on a T5 is an automatic with 7 gears
you hardly notice when they change. A joy to drive. But strange thing
is when I first got it (a demo model) it used to automatically go into
neutral after about 30 seconds of downhill cruising. Touching brake or
accelarator had it jump back into gear.

No longer does - probably after its first couple of services. Maybe VW
issued to authorised mechanics for them to change the elecronics for
the reason you give. All I can say is that watching my average mpg
display, the consumption drops more quickly in neutral than when left
in gear. Have to say as totally a non-mechanical person I find the
logic that idling uses more fuel than when the accelerator is pushed
down quite baffling.

As it happens, the T5 has this auto engine-off, which is great at
traffic lights - no need for a race track start! But I often over-ride
it at busy roundabouts when you need absolutely instant movement to
dart into a space in the flow of traffic.

Fingers crossed, in all my years of many miles driving motorhomes (at
present in Germany) I've never had an accident on the road. My dings
and scratches have come in awkward parking moments, or on campsites -
like when a tree moved behind me!

TimS

On 15/10/2019, Ernest Bull <ernb32@...> wrote:
On 14 Oct 2019, at 23:28, timsinc Sinclair <timsinc@...> wrote:

And I've found on long downhills, if I shift into neutral (obviously when
safe), the van is not held back by the engine.
I found that to be counter-intuitive, Tim. Doesn’t make sense, I know, but
it is the nature of electronic control of fuel injectors. (Petrol as well as
diesel.) Reaching the set speed/rpm, the the injectors stop injecting. On my
current diesel car, the mpg can read over 300mpg at 80mph. In fact, many
‘fuel saving' websites like this one: -
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2011/mar/25/hypermiling-tips
suggest: -
8. Don't slip into neutral when travelling in the belief you are saving
fuel. Choose the appropriate gear for your speed instead. Modern
fuel-injected cars consume proportionately more fuel when in neutral as they
perceive the car to be idling.

Also, while standard automatic gearboxes get a bit of stick as fuel wasters,
the latest semi-automatic boxes (Including Sprint-Shift?) are not so. I do
not know what innovations the latest MHs boast, but my Berlingo has a
versatile semi-automatic/manual gearbox with F1 type gear ‘paddles’ on the
steering column. While it does well in semi-auto, I can over-ride it by
flipping the paddles up and down within certain speed/revs parameters.
Practicing driving smoothly and anticipating traffic, I have managed to cut
using the foot brake until almost stationary. Even in Bristol’s traffic.
Except to stop the car rolling at lights and junctions when it also cuts the
engine on ECO.
_______

ErnB




--

*It'll all be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end*

Ernest Bull
 

On 15 Oct 2019, at 10:28, timsinc Sinclair <timsinc@...> wrote:

My camper on a T5 is an automatic with 7 gears... it used to automatically go into
neutral after about 30 seconds of downhill cruising. Touching brake or
accelerator had it jump back into gear.     No longer does - 

Ah! You do not have Cruise Control. AFAICS, that’s what shuts off the injectors. A different ball game entirely. Or not??

Fingers crossed, in all my years of many miles driving motorhomes (at
present in Germany) I've never had an accident on the road. My dings
and scratches have come in awkward parking moments, or on campsites -
like when a tree moved behind me!

I have to admit that I twice turned left into the “wrong” lane. Once on my first ever go at driving a MH on “the wrong side of the road.” Luckily the oncoming drivers took it all in good part. The second time when the road was empty, which probably misled me. I’m sure that looking left and seeing traffic coming at me would had me to thinking better. 

Never had a tree jump out on me, but I was once caught out by a sneaky traffic bollard. I was once following a bus down a wee lane in Devon. Stopped behind it at a stop and when he drew away he let go a quite hefty branch to swipe my Tramp. Luckily, the meaty bit just cleared the roof, but the smaller twigs and leaves gave us a Hell of a fright. First reaction was that the van was wrecked.
_____

ErnB

timsinc Sinclair
 

On 15/10/2019, Ernest Bull <ernb32@...> wrote:

Ah! You do not have Cruise Control. AFAICS, that’s what shuts off the
injectors. A different ball game entirely. Or not??
There is cruise control, but hardly ever use it! Because it keeps the
gears in play powering uphill (where I 'manually' often ease up) and
against sometimes my natural be-in-neutral instinct downhill. If only
I knew which ball game was in play!

TimS

PS, years ago sleepy me drove out a French campsite to see this
Mercedes powering towards me. That woke me up and a quick swerve to
the RIGHT side just averted a head-on. These days, once over the
Channel I don't even think about it. Instinct kicks in. It serves me
well, but maybe not about being in neutral ????

Ernest Bull
 

On 15 Oct 2019, at 11:40, timsinc Sinclair <timsinc@...> wrote:

There is cruise control, but hardly ever use it! Because it keeps the
gears in play powering uphill (where I 'manually' often ease up)

But can you not ease up by gradually clicking the cruise speed down by 1kph/mph a click? OK, you get to the top only doing 40, but probably at 17mpg rather than 8….

and against sometimes my natural be-in-neutral instinct downhill. If only
I knew which ball game was in play!

…and then keep clicking it back up again while going downhill. Gravity still plays a part and “it’s money in the bank” because the faster you go downhill, the greater its inertia (Square of the increase in speed.) and it will take you along the flat for free, or pays interest as it helps you up the next rise. I cannot remember the exact numbers for the van, but they were in the order of 80mph at 100+mpg.

PS, years ago sleepy me drove out a French campsite to see this
Mercedes powering towards me. That woke me up and a quick swerve to
the RIGHT side just averted a head-on. 

My uncle died in much the same way as Harry Dunn. Witnesses said that he was on the correct side of the road when he met a car head on on a bend. My uncle swerved right onto the wrong side of the road at the same time as the car driver swerved back to his left and they hit head on. Luckily there were witnesses as the driver at first alleged that it was my uncle’s fault. Harry and my uncle should have held their course, but they did exactly what anyone would do. 

When I did that advanced driving course, courtesy of a PC neighbour, the golden rule that was, “Never relinquish your right of way without due consideration. Doing so can confuse other road users, including pedestrians and cause them to react inappropriately.” A couple of years ago, I was driving on a major road in Bristol. I had a clear road ahead, although oncoming traffic was nose to tail. As I approached a minor junction, an oncoming driver halted and flashed his headlights. I assumed that he was giving way to a car waiting to join his traffic stream from his left. But a driver waiting at the Give Way on my side, shot out and wrecked the whole nearside of our car. He thought the chap was giving way to him. 

Like my old mum used to say, “You know what Thought did?” QED!
_______

ErnB

timsinc Sinclair
 

On 16/10/2019, Ernest Bull <ernb32@...> wrote:


But can you not ease up by gradually clicking the cruise speed down by
1kph/mph a click?
The tiny control slider thing on the indicator stalk a lot harder
controlling than foot on the acelerator!


......... the faster you go
downhill, the greater its inertia (Square of the increase in speed.) and it
will take you along the flat for free
Exactly - and free-wheeling (ie neutral) gets you even further because
the gear/engine hasn't been restraining that down slope movement.

TimS

Alan Morris
 

On Wed, 16 Oct 2019 at 15:13, timsinc Sinclair <timsinc@...> wrote:

The tiny control slider thing on the indicator stalk a lot harder
controlling than foot on the acelerator!
Same now that foot dip switches have gone.

Alan.

Ernest Bull
 

On 16 Oct 2019, at 16:13, timsinc Sinclair <timsinc@...> wrote:

The tiny control slider thing on the indicator stalk a lot harder
controlling than foot on the acelerator!

Oh! Well! That is a whole different ball game, Tim. On the van, I had a simple function stalk to jiggle, but I concur with Alan. My Berlingo has six column mounted thingies. 
  • UP and DOWN gear paddles.
  • A light and indicator stalk for LEFT, RIGHT, LIGHTS OFF, PARK, FULL and MAIN BEAM/DIP.
  • A wiper stalk. Windscreen WASH, OFF, ONCE, INTERMITTENT, SLOW and FAST plus a rotary switch for the rear window WASH, OFF, INTERMITTENT and ON.
  • Cruise control stalk, MAIN ON/OFF BUTTON, INCREASE and REDUCE SPEED buttons and a PRESET SPEED LIMITER control that I do not bother with.
  • Audio control, VOLUME UP and DOWN, ADVANCE STATION, PREVIOUS STATION, source button for DAB, FM, CD or USB.

I admit to mixing them up from time to time. Well, who wouldn’t? But, on the whole, it is an easy car to drive. I rarely use my feet once on the move and only apply the brake to hold it still in traffic, at junctions and lights. 
_________

ErnB