Friday, December 18, 2009

Still Geeky & Still Green - My Chevy Tahoe Hybrid Experience

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I've had the Tahoe Hybrid for 2 months now and I think I have enough time with it to give some good impressions about the vehicle and the whole "driving to be green" idea in general.

The Tahoe has been an outstanding vehicle. Tons of power (when you need it) due to the 6.2L V8. This is the only Tahoe model that is equipped with this large engine due mainly to the additional weight of the hybrid battery system. Although, one of the really slick parts of the design is that the engine will automatically shut down 4 of the cylinders and go to a V4 whenever it can. It's pretty amazing to be cruising on the highway and watch the instant miles per gallon jump by 10 or so when the V8 kicks over to V4 mode.

The hybrid mode which can use both gas and electric motors is seamless and provides plenty of power while allowing the driver to keep a light foot which helps fuel economy.

At low speeds, if I'm careful with my foot, I can run on battery alone up to about 20 MPH. Needless to say that is a *huge* economy booster.

I'm currently averaging about 21 or 22 on the highway and 20 in the city which is pretty amazing for a vehicle of this size and weight. My previous vehicle, a Dodge Durango, was getting 12 in the city and about 14 highway on a good day.

The amenities are very nice, but as I said in my original post about the Tahoe, I haven't had a new vehicle in quite some time so things that I find amazing have been standard fare for some time. However, OnStar with its live updates of traffic is a great aid. It would be even more so if I lived somewhere with nightmare traffic.

One thing I've noticed since having access to the economy info that the hybrid provides from a couple of screens is how poorly most of us drive when considering fuel economy. Most people tend to put their foot down as the light turns green, accelerate hard, and then have to brake at the next intersection due to a red light. I find that coming off the line slower and easing up to speed is much more fuel efficient and I usually coast up next to the aggressive driver at the next light 15 seconds after they have arrived and slammed on the breaks.

On the highway I see much the same thing. Many drivers fail to watch far ahead and therefore accelerate and break repeatedly when they wouldn't have to if they were really paying attention.

So if you are driving a gas only vehicle, just try driving with a tad less aggression. We'll all breathe easier as a result. As for me? I'm thrilled with being greener. Being geekier is just an added benefit. Got questions on the Tahoe? Just let me know.

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