It’s advertised to get up to 42 mpg city and it does in spades. The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid has been the breakout success of the year by not only delivering on this promise but exceeding often – in the winter when it’s cool.
My experience with our 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid long term tester in the way of mpg has been exceptional, achieving over the advertised 42 mpg city over thousands of miles – routinely getting 45-47 mpg city measured at the tank. It’s not just me, many real world owners have been reporting similar results around the country.
As the summer temperatures have risen however the mileage has gradually decreased. Here in Arizona during June and July where it’s been averaging 110 degrees and above every day, I have seen a dramatic drop in real world measured mpg. A huge drop.
Over our last few tanks during this extreme heat I’ve averaged 35 mpg city, a stunning 11-12 mpg drop from the 45-47 mpg in the same exact driving cycles seen in February and March. Watching the internet chats and social media, I’ve seen similar experiences from other owners around the country, particularly in sunbelt states. A few here in Phoenix in the same weather are reporting identical drops.
So what’s the deal? Should we freak out and post an angry screed on social medial complaining we’ve been ripped off? Should we panic and start taking our trucks to the dealerships complaining something is broken? Not so fast.
Here’s the deal. In short, hybrid and electric vehicles simply don’t perform as well in extreme heat as they do when it’s cool. There are some simple and logical explanations for this and I am going to walk your through those right now. So before you go off the deep end believing something is wrong with the truck, give me a listen.
First, at least in my case in the past month temperatures in my daily city driving have averaged 105-115 degrees every day. This means I am using the air-conditioning 100% of the time. In most hybrid vehicles and in the Ford Maverick, the air-conditioning compressor is entirely powered by the high-voltage hybrid battery.
This means that now your hybrid battery isn’t just powering your truck, it’s also being used to keep you cool inside the cab. Because of this, there’s less of the battery’s power available for driving. As a result, the gasoline engine is running more often – a lot more often. The percentage of time and miles in which the gas engine is kicking in is higher, thus its using a lot more fuel than when the air-conditioning is off or being used occasionally.
Second, the high-voltage lithium-ion hybrid battery on the Ford Maverick is liquid cooled and mounted outside the passenger compartment under the floorboard. Liquid cooling is far more powerful than air-cooling like most hybrid batteries mounted inside the passenger compartment.
This design allows it to be more compact and allows it to be used a lot more aggressively by the system. This power dense capability is one of the reasons why the Maverick has such high mpg in most of our driving conditions.
The downside is that its liquid cooling system and that of the gasoline engine is powered entirely by the electrical system. There are no belt driven pumps. The battery is effectively powering its own cooling system. So when its extremely hot, its power is being tapped to cool you and itself. Guess what, one more mouth to feed, the engine runs more often and drinks more fuel to take up the slack.
Third, lithium-ion batteries aren’t as efficient when they are in high heat. If you have ever carried your cell phone around when it’s hot outside you know the battery drains a lot faster. The same goes for our hybrid battery regardless of how it’s cooled. At the extreme end of the temperature scale, it just doesn’t work as well. Again, less battery power means more time the engine is running to power the truck.
Fourth, in city driving the engine is idling more often to keep the hybrid battery charged. When you think about city stop and go driving and you’re sitting for minutes one end at a light, the AC’s, the battery is cooling itself. Both of you are chilling to some house music in bliss.
This is a all draining the hybrid battery which at the moment isn’t reaping the benefits of regenerative coasting and braking or the engine singing along at speed to recharge it. You sit and chill long enough without actually moving and that engine is going to fire up and run to charge the battery.
The computer is programmed to never let the battery charge drop below a certain level regardless of whether you are driving or chilling. So in these instances, the engine will run endlessly to turn the motor generator and maintain a sufficient charge to the battery. So chill all you want with the air-conditioning on, the engine’s gonna grab something to drink too.
Getting the idea here? The gas engine and hybrid battery are a team. One or the other or both are working at all times. The less battery there is to go around, the more the engine runs, which means less mpg. It’s really is that simple.
So if you are experiencing huge mpg drop in the summer with your Maverick Hybrid, don’t panic, don’t freak out. My experience here with this truck is not a freak accident or the result of a fault. This is how hybrids work.
Most all of the dozens of hybrids and electric vehicles I have tested in the last decade have shown a pronounced drop in mpg or range when it’s extremely hot. Period. While I am a little disappointed I’m getting 35 mpg city instead of 47, in the big picture it’s still pretty commendable. The Maverick EcoBoost owners aren’t getting anywhere near that regardless of the temperature.
I will say however that I’ll be watching for it to bounce back by October and November when I can switch off the air-conditioning. If by then it doesn’t climb back up where it belongs, we’ll talk. But for now, given I know how t his works, there’s no reason to go running to the dealer in a panic or crying on Facebook that I’ve been jooked.