As in a video game, some try to constantly improve their score by drastically reducing their consumption of fuel or electricity in order to achieve the greatest number of kilometers with a single full or a single charge.
You may not have missed out on this “trend” that started around 20 years ago, when the price of gasoline skyrocketed, and which consisted of to adapt your driving to consume as little fuel as possible and cover the greatest number of kilometers with a full tank. This phenomenon, known as hypermiling, has been coming to the fore for some time now, even if this time not necessarily under the pretext of an increase in the price of fuel, but rather an overall reduction in its carbon footprint.
The automobile is obviously in the crosshairs of environmental groups and the legislator, and despite a transition that is beginning slowly, but surely towards electric, some are already hoisting the red flag by asserting that this solution is perhaps not. to be not that virtuous. There are many reasons, including the production of electricity, or even the production of electric vehicles overall, which require the use of materials not necessarily in line with the inclinations of an electrified car at the base.
Still, the car is today an almost essential tool for many people, even for those with a certain ecological fiber. Some have therefore adopted, out of ecological awareness or a spirit of competition since, as we shall see, it becomes almost a game, techniques to consume as little as possible. These techniques are applicable to both thermal and electric cars.
Who will go the furthest?
Hypermiling therefore consists to consume as little as possible by adopting specific driving techniques. Obviously, the big fashion of the moment is to achieve as much savings as possible with a single charge for an electric car. And to this little game there is level, like a mission led by Hyundai Motor. In a record setting, three of its electric SUVs, Kona electrics, covered 1,018.7 kilometers, 1,024.1 kilometers and 1,026 kilometers respectively. A great performance for vehicles approved at the base for just under 500 kilometers according to the WLTP cycle.
To achieve such scores, Hyundai obviously resorted to techniques drawn from hyperliming by neither using the air conditioning – despite the outside temperature of 29 ° C – nor the infotainment system. The conditions are in addition to that impossible to renew in real life since the record was set on the track, in Germany, even if the Korean firm has endeavored to reproduce as much as possible the use of the car in the city. The average speed, however, was relatively low and between 29 and 31 km / h. Despite everything, driving on the track remains far from city conditions.
Thanks to these conditions, the Hyundai Kona electric consumed between 6.24 and 6.28 kWh / 100 kilometers, a figure well below the 14.7 kWh / 100 kilometers announced by the WLTP cycle. In the same genre, a Tesla Model 3 has also driven more than 1,000 kilometers on a single charge at an average speed of 38 km / h. The journey thus lasted more than 30 hours.
Techniques that are sometimes very questionable
Are you starting to see the parallel with video games and the concept of score mentioned above? Because yes, for the “hypermilers”, that is to say the practitioners of this type of conduct, being able to consume as little as possible can be like a game. A game whose rules can sometimes be dangerous since some techniques are risky to say the least. This is the case with the number one trick of “hypermilers”, the « pulse and glide », which consists of accelerating the vehicle briefly then switching off the engine to allow the car to slide into freewheel mode.
A dangerous practice since the brakes and the power steering practically stop working. However, with modern cars, this technique is hardly possible anymore since the electronics will prevent the car from turning off while it is still in motion.
Other techniques, again which are not really in line with the Highway Code, followers avoid stopping at stop signs, negotiate avenues with traffic lights as best they can (in other words, they simply burn out the lights), lighten their vehicle as much as possible, even if it means removing certain safety elements which are now compulsory, heat the engine with an electric blanket before switching on the first for heat engines, or even inflate their tires to the maximum recommended. On the motorway, sticking a car as far as possible to benefit from its suction is also a rather effective technique for reducing consumption.
Some have even more advanced techniques. On a forum, for example, someone explains how to choose an outdoor parking space in the spirit of hypermiling. According to him, when you arrive with a warm engine, you shouldn’t hesitate to park the car on the top floor. Why ? Quite simply because the cooled engine will consume less during the descent.
Thanks to these tips, some “hypermilers” sometimes manage to double the approved consumption which is already, as a reminder, rather ambitious compared to the daily use of a car. In the United States, this practice has gone so far that an association was formed in August 2008, the Hypermiling Safety Foundation, to promote a safety and education program that promotes legal fuel-saving techniques. .
We have just cited extreme cases of hypermiling above, but consuming less may also be achievable without resorting to unsafe methods. Good tire pressure, linear acceleration, anticipation, the use of regenerative braking for electric cars or even routine maintenance of your car will allow you to consume less. It can also be a question of speed since, on the motorway at 110 km / h instead of 130, your car, thermal or electric, will consume on average 15% less.
Hypermiling may also be an opportunity to save some money on other aspects than fuel or recharging your vehicle. The fact of using the brakes less regularly logically makes it possible to wear them out less and therefore to change them less regularly. The same goes for tires. If the latter are less stressed when cornering, for example, at lower speeds, they will also last longer.