Fuel Consumption Sensitivity of Conventional and Hybrid Electric Light-Duty Gasoline Vehicles to Driving Style
Aggressive driving is an important topic for many reasons, one of which is higher energy used per unit distance traveled, potentially accompanied by an elevated production of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Examining a large data set of self-reported fuel economy (FE) values revealed that the dispersion of FE values is quite large and is larger for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) than for conventional gasoline vehicles. This occurred despite the fact that the city and highway FE ratings for HEVs are generally much closer in value than for conventional gasoline vehicles. A study was undertaken to better understand this and better quantify the effects of aggressive driving, including reviewing past aggressive driving studies, developing and exercising a new vehicle energy model, and conducting a related experimental investigation. The vehicle energy model focused on the limitations of regenerative braking in combination with varying levels of driving-style aggressiveness to show that this could account for greater FE variation in an HEV compared to a similar conventional vehicle. A closely matched pair of gasoline-fueled sedans, one an HEV and the other having a conventional powertrain, was chosen for both modeling and chassis dynamometer experimental comparisons. Results indicate that the regenerative braking limitations could be a main contributor to the greater HEV FE variation under the range of drive cycles considered. The complete body of results gives insight into the range of fuel use penalties that results from aggressive driving and why the variation can be larger on a percent basis for an HEV compared to a similar conventional vehicle, while the absolute fuel use penalty for aggressive driving is generally larger for conventional vehicles than HEVs.