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I've not used A/C much during my FFH, preferring to utilize the driving without air technique to save the mpg. However today was hot and humid inside the Philadelphia area. I decided to utilize A/C on my way home from work.
Now, on Friday yesterday I set a fresh record to the ride home from work (which is mostly uphill, about 7 miles) of 45.5 without A/C. My battery started that trip in a high state of charge, which assists because more electrical power can be acquired to help you the interior combustion engine.
Today, with temperatures in the 95100 degree range and humidity, I set my A/C on 76 to the drive home. The A/C is driven from your electric engine. It uses quite a lot of power based on the FFH's "accessories" power gauge, especially while first cooling the car. I quickly realized how much impact this could have on the trip home because i passed several milestones at low mpg figures. Typically its fairly easy for me to get 38 possibly even mpg. Today, I acquired 25.4 mpg! Admittedly, I didn't drive as carefully for mpg while i sometimes do; as well as the battery started at approximately 40% charge (and not got above about 50% throughout the trip as a result of A/C power draw).
A/C can really suck mpgs out from the FFH, especially on short trips where its on max for much of the trip throughout the initial cooldown period.
I've noticed the same trend, though significantly less drastic as your first experience. Within Southwest Oklahoma, it has been tough to opt for out A/C. My one of the ways commute is all about 17 miles. Without AC I average about 3841 MPG, with AC that number is normally more like 3335.
Something that I generally do is just run the AC while the ICE warms to normal operating temperature. This can help receive the initial temperature in a car down from 120 or so to some manageable 85. As soon as the engine is started i will get in EV mode I turn the AC cool off and opt for either the fan or possibly a window cracked.
Actually, you need to make use of the AC.
The Fusion Hybrid's battery is cooled because of your cabin's air. There exists a vent within the rear seat cusion which attracts cabin air to cool the HV battery mounted in the trunk.
Understand that heat stress may be the biggest enemy on the HV battery's longevity. If you want that HV battery to remain in pristine condition, it has to be kept cool. This is why on hot days, you need to run the AC.
You should periodically inspect the vent to make certain it is not blocked with debris. If the battery sets out to overheat, the hybrid system will behave strangely and may also throw codes.