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My Real-World Experience with PHV - The Blog

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by TonyPSchaefer, Jul 15, 2010.

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  1. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Feel free to curse him, put a hex on him, do whatever you'd like, but long-time PriusChat member and moderator Tony Schaefer is the first "Joe Schmoe" to have an extended opportunity to test drive the Prius PHV around. Toyota was kind enough to deliver a Prius PHV to Tony in Chicagoland earlier this week for his trip to Green Drive Expo in Madison, WI.
    Not only does he get to take the PHV to Madison for GDE, he also gets to use the PHV in the MPG Challenge, and then gets to drive it back to Chicagoland for keep it until next Thursday. Luckily, Tony has decided to not keep his thoughts and experiences to himself and is posting a blog of his time with the PHV over in the PriusChat Forums. You can check it out here:
    My Real-World Experience with PHV - The Blog
    That thread is closed in order to keep everything clean and tidy, but you can join in the discussion over in this thread:
    My real-world experience with the PHV
    This is a great opportunity to hear some real, Prius enthusiast feedback on the PHV. Enjoy your time with the car, Tony!
    11 people like this.
  2. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Let me start by announcing that I make no pretense to be an auto critic or vehicle reviewer. Secondly, there might be no true logical rhyme or reason to the entries. I will write as I think of them.

    I charged the car overnight starting at exactly 11:30pm, unplugging it at 6:30am. Using a Kill-a-Watt, I measured the total consumption in that time of 3.66 kWh. My electric cost is 8.8 cents per kWh so that charge cost me a total of 32 cents. Considering that the estimated charge time for the pack is 3 hours, I would expect that to be consistent night after night. Quick calculation: 14 miles of EV for 32 cents is 2.29 cents per mile. Compare that to my ’04 Prius averaging 60 mpg at $3.00 per gallon, which is 5.00 cents per mile. Compare that to a family sedan averaging 30 MPG and a cost per mile of 10.00 cents.

    Best case scenario is someone who drives an average of 12,000 miles exclusively on EV (I don’t believe this would ever happen but it’s best case). This is a savings of 2.71 cents per mile, which is a savings of $325 per year (assuming $3.00 gasoline). Every other scenario is just a percentage of that: for example, a 50/50 split is $162 per year.

    Because this is a plug-in, the plug-in cable is very important. The PHV charge cable has an inline brick about two feet from the wall plug. This brick is about a foot in length and reasonably heavy. There are mounting holes so you can hang it on the wall next to the electrical outlet. If you never anticipate charging anywhere else, you can mount the brick and always plug at home. However, if you ever plan on charging anywhere but at home, you have to unplug the plug, wind the cable and stow it in the car. Look, I’m not really complaining, but this is one more step the average person will have to perform. When you buy a plug-in, you have to accept that this is something you have to do. If you choose to go that route, you would most likely plug the cord into the wall and let the brick hang. As I said, it’s reasonably heavy which causes me to wonder about the downward pull on the outlet. I used a short extension cord to ensure that the brick was resting on the ground and not pulling on the outlet. An option would be to buy a second cable to keep exclusively in the car. Another option would be for Toyota to develop a cable that pulls out from the car and can be retracted when charging is complete. Just a thought.

    First morning: completely charged, showing 14 miles of EV range. I reset everything.

    It rained overnight. No doubt, this would affect my mileage. I was trying to drive like “normal†as in keep up with traffic, pass the slow people and get off the line quickly from a stop light. I wasn’t trying to be too heavy but certainly wasn’t trying to hypermile. One thing I noticed immediately was that when accelerating from the line, the EV Range would start dropping quickly. One 0 – 45 mph acceleration seemed to sap almost a half mile from my distance.

    However, that 14 mile range is not hard-fast. Your Mileage May Vary. In the same way that hard acceleration seems to drop it, coasting and regenerating will put some back. This is where more information is needed for the techies. I’m not sure whether I was putting energy back into the pack or simply not pulling energy from the pack. Both scenarios would extend the EV range but only the first one actually recaptures energy. Initially, I was of the impression that it’s not possible to recharge the plug-in batteries through regen. However, watching the Energy screen indicated that there was regen taking place.

    I’m going to echo many people’s sentiment that it’s extremely difficult – if not impossible – to “glide†in a 2010 Prius. Gliding is where there are no arrows and there’s no energy flow from the batteries or to the batteries. In my opinion, when driving an EV, the driver should have the ability to glide. Regenerative coasting will slow the car down due to the drag of the electric motor while maintaining speed requires draw from the battery. A glide would give the driver that third option of maintaining speed by “free wheeling.†The same effect can be achieved by slipping the car into Neutral but this is not suggested.

    My drive was on a multilane state highway during rush hour. There were some stop-n-go spots and I didn’t make all the lights. So there were a few opportunities to coast (regen) but also the need to accelerate from a dead stop. One thing I noticed that was interesting: I was of the impression that as long as there is EV distance remaining, the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) would remain off. However, towards the end, when I was showing about 2 miles or less of EV range remaining, the ICE kicked in a few times. I was not overloading the system by any means. This was 35 – 45 mph of steady driving with only minor acceleration required. I have to wonder if this was the ICE performing a warm-up cycle in preparation of the total loss of EV mode. After all, the ICE hadn’t run since the day before. I could imagine that if the switch from EV to Hybrid were made with a cold ICE, the catalytic convertor would be cold and the emissions would be bad. I have nothing solid to base my speculation on.

    My commute takes me past a Toyota dealership. I have to admit the desire to pull into the dealership and ask what I might get for a trade-in. Maybe I could get a Sequoia or perhaps a Tacoma.

    In the end, the car drives like a regular car. Prius drivers will appreciate the silence of the drive. EV drivers will appreciate the torque of an electric motor. The switch-over from EV to Hybrid is seemless and relatively undetectable. I say “relatively†because experienced Prius drivers know exactly what it feels like when the ICE engages and they will notice it but the average drive more likely will not the first few times it happens.

    One thing I noticed at the conclusion of my drive is that my mileage was 99.9 MPG. All Prius drivers know that the Prius does not report mileage above 99.9 MPG. In my opinion, there are some things that need to be decided. The sooner, the better.
    1) The Prius needs to add a third digit for the hundreds spot. Remember those old cars with odometers that didn’t have the 100,000 digit? When you saw a car capable of displaying six digits you knew the manufacturer expected the car to last more than 100,000 miles. It was a statement of durability. In my opinion, when Toyota adds the third mileage digit, they will be proclaiming to the world that they expect PHV drivers to routinely exceed 100 MPG. It is a statement of efficiency.
    2) Someone (I don’t care who), preferably the EPA, needs to determine how to calculate efficiency of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles. If the PHV never consumed gasoline, the MPG calculation would result in a “divide by zero†error. But there has got to be a way for a consumer to be able to intelligently compare Toyota’s battery/electric motor efficiency to Nissan’s and GM’s and Ford’s and all other electric-powered vehicles.

    Toyota’s current solution to the “how to display efficiency†problem is to show the driver what percentage of their driving was in EV mode and what percentage was Hybrid Vehicle. At this point, I’m not exactly sure what this tells me about the efficiency of the vehicle or how to use it to calculate my overall MPG.

    Due to the introduction of larger batteries, something had to give. It was the spare. There is no spare tire. Instead, Toyota provides a puncture repair kit and an air compressor. Depending on your frame of mind, this is either no big deal or a really scary thing. That part’s up to you.

    Trip recap:
    - Total Distance: 17.7 miles
    - Total EV Distance: 15.3 miles (but see above that the ICE engaged and below for calculations)
    - EV/Hrbrid Ratio: 81% EV and 19% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 14.337 miles EV
    - - - 3.363 miles Hybrid

    The PHV is currently plugged into an outlet to recharge. The display shows that it will take 3.2 hours to reach a full state of charge. I found this by powering the car to IG-ON (electronics only). There’s a graphic showing the car and power flowing from a plug into the battery.

    Four of us are going out for lunch. We’ll see how it does fully loaded and I have no intentions of holding back.

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  3. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Addendum: I have received an email from our friends "Prius Team" informing me that the use of an extension cord is discouraged. So I will be plugging directly into the wall from now on. Boy am I glad I got that Kill-a-watt reading before asking permission. I mean, um, okay. :)
  4. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Just got back from lunch. Four people in the car: three full-sized adults and me. It’s currently 86ºF (30.1ºC) with 72% humidity. Heat index is 96ºF (35ºC). So first, roll down the windows and then turn on the Auto A/C to 78ºF. Pulling out of the parking lot, I punched the [Power] button and sped away. Fully loaded, it hopped up to speed very well with no hesitation. HOWEVER: the ICE engaged. I was surprised by this but chalked it up to A/C and PWR mode. All the same, I didn’t expect it. Normal driving to Chipotle, burritos and a normal drive back. The windows were up the whole time and the A/C was on the whole time. We messed around with Pwr Mode and Eco Mode during the drive.

    Trip report:
    - Total Distance: 4.4 miles
    - Total EV Distance: n/a since I didn’t deplete the pack
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 88% EV and 12% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 3.872 miles EV
    - - - 0.528 miles Hybrid
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  5. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    The thing is, when I'm driving my 2004 Prius, I get better mileage when I take a longer route. The longer route is a little slower, there are fewer stops and the scenery is just better. However, with the PHV, the goal seems to be drive the shortest distance possible to minimize the amount of ICE needed. I learned that lesson this evening during my commute home.

    Whereas the drive this morning was 17.7 miles, the route I drove home was 22.9 miles. In the grand scheme of the vastness of the universe, the extra 5.2 miles doesn't seem like much. In the minutia that is my mind, it's a huge difference.

    Due to the lay of the route, I was able to squeeze exactly 15 miles out of the charge. Personal best! But as luck would have it, EV concluded exactly as I was waiting for a stoplight and creeping uphill. This means that the very first time the ICE kicked in it was to propel me from a dead-stop uphill. Yuck.

    But this got me thinking, perhaps in the future we will not only compare overall MPG but also see who can get the farthest on a charge. But then it occurred to me that it's possible to force the ICE on which would extend the EV range. The screen showing EV range doesn't indicate that the ICE was used. So in the end, this friendly competition of who can get the most miles per charge lasted only a couple minutes and exclusively in my head. But trust me, it was fun while it lasted.

    Experienced Prius drivers have a keen eye for counting the bars on their battery indicator and having a pretty good feel for the State of Charge (SoC) of their hybrid battery. This is of no use in the PHV. When the PHV is fully charged, the battery shows a full SoC. As the charge is being consumed, the battery indicator drops. Upon total plug-in charge depletion, the battery indicator is showing two bars. This is the highest you will ever see the battery indicator until the car is once again plugged in. I saw it drop to one bar after a lengthy stealthing session but no amount of regen or ICE power could cause the indicator to go any higher than two bars.

    In my opinion, this is an oversight that must be corrected. I can understand how the indicator comes to this level. Let's think about this: there are three battery packs: two large plug-in packs and one HV pack. It's understandable that the two plug-in packs might comprise about 3/4 of total charge capacity and that when they are gone the indicator accurately shows two bars, the amount of the regular HV battery. But since it is not possible to provide any significant regen to the plug-in batteries, the indicator just sits there at two bars. So you see, it makes sense. But it needs to be corrected. In my opinion, when EV mode disengages, the battery indicator needs to change its parameters. Rather than reporting the SoC of the total charge capacity, it needs to report only the standard HV battery. Of course, I understand that some might argue that it's confusing. To that I say "too bad."

    Here's another thought: instead of using the battery indicator to report the entire SoC based on total capacity, only report the main pack SoC. Period. If the driver wants to know how much plug-in capacity is left, look at the "Miles of EV Range". If it's 14, you're fully charged. If it's 7, you're at half. I would want to see this implemented and see what the SoC indicator actually looks like in this case. I'm willing to bet that those first 14 miles would not be as frustrating as the rest of the day driving around on a battery pack with an unknown SoC.

    So far, not one single person has pointed or waved or in any way indicated that they recognized or even understood what I was driving. I suppose I shouldn't really expect it; most of them are too busy texting to read the vinyl badging. Note to Toyota, on the production version, if you want the younger generation to notice the car, spell it "pLU9-1N hY8R1d". You're welcome.

    The overall commute was uneventful. So here are the stats:
    - Total Distance: 22.9 miles
    - Total EV Distance: 15 miles!
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 61% EV and 39% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 13.97 miles EV (but why not 15?)
    - - - 8.93 miles Hybrid

    Attached Files:

    3 people like this.
  6. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Wednesday night, I needed to run an errand that had me driving to my friend’s house on the other side of town. It’s only about 5 miles away and well within the EV range of the PHV. However, I had driven home from work and the pack was dry.

    I drove my EV to the levy but the EV was dry?

    Anyway, this would be a good opportunity to see how the hybrid behaved with a depleted pack. 5 miles, 80.3 MPG. Not too shabby. When I got back home, it was down to just over 73. So all in all, I’d consider that a successful test of the hybrid system with a depleted pack.
  7. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Drove to Green Drive Expo this morning. I strategically left late. I was scheduled to meet some Toyota people at 11:15am. The GPS said it was 102 miles and would take about 2 hours to get there (averaging ~50mph) so I left at 9:08am. I did this because if I had an unlimited amount of time I would be tempted to hypermile where I could and attempt to get the best mileage I could. This was not what I wanted to do. Key words: real world.

    When I left, the temp was about 78ºF and sunny. As long as I’m being “real world,” I’m running the A/C, so I set it at 78 and left it. The temp got up to 85 by the time I got to GDE, and I had reduced the A/C to 76.

    The drive was mostly highway, a combination of single-lane state highway and dual-lane state highway. The only slowing down was for the infrequent stoplights and going through towns. The ICE kicked on a few times during the EV period. According to the TripA, it disengaged at 14.5 miles. Actual stats will be below.

    I started the drive in neither ECO or PWR mode. Just driving along as usual. However, thanks to some slow moving vehicles and no passing opportunities, I needed to make up some time. So my speed went from casual to hurried. Herein lays my biggest problem. I have spent about six years babying the pedal of my Prius. I actually find it difficult anymore to hold the pedal down. I’m sure I could if I really really tried, but it’s not something that comes natural. To make up for this, I engaged Power mode. Wow. I like it. For someone like me, the Power Mode lets “me of the light foot” maintain speed without changing my driving style. I can imagine that ECO would have the same affect for a lead foot. This is nothing special to the PHV, but I just thought I would mention it. Although it is most likely affecting my overall MPG.

    This got me thinking. There are two buttons: ECO and PWR. On the shifter, there is downward on the right. I would suggest removing from the shifter and making it a button. ECO and PWR should be located on the shifter instead. This adds a slot up on the right and makes the shifter pattern change from h to H. [PWR] should be up on the right side and [ECO] should be down on the right. The left side would remain unchanged and neutral position would still be in the middle on the right. In my mind, this would be like paddle shifters or whatever they call it. You bump the shifter up and you’re in PWR. Bump it down once and you’re back into normal. Bump it down again and you’re in ECO. Just my thought. Again, Toyota, you’re welcome.

    One thing to keep in mind when driving this car – or any car for that matter – is that the cars around you don’t know nor do they know whether you’re running on battery, gas, hydrogen, liquid magic or diesel. All they know is that you are either keeping up with traffic or getting in their way. As special as I felt tooling along on the highway in a not-yet-released-for-sale plug-in vehicle, no one else cared.

    All in all, it was again a rather routine and uneventful drive.

    Trip report:
    - Total Distance: 105 miles
    - Average MPG : 63.7
    - Average Speed : 46 mph
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 11% EV and 89% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 11.55 miles EV
    - - - 93.45 miles Hybrid
    3 people like this.
  8. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Yesterday afternoon was the Green Drive Expo “MPG Challengeâ€. After the long drive from home to Madison, I arrived to the Green Drive Expo (GDE) and was handed the keys to a freshly washed and fully-charged PHV. To be honest, I could get used to this. Unfortunately, the new car had standard tire pressure. But fortunately, it came with an air compressor so a couple of us took care of that problem.

    Because the PHV is limited to reporting mileage only as high as 99.9 mpg, Ron of ScanGauge loaned me a ScanGauge. Seriously, Toyota, before you release this PHV, you have got to add that third digit. And for the record, it can’t be a hard-coded “1â€. It’s got to be a true digit.

    The course this year was 22.4 miles. A huge square on the South-East portion of Madison, south of the city proper. The Northern leg was entirely multi-lane highway with a 55 mph speed limit. Traffic averaged ~60 mph when I drove it. The other three segments were very interesting, defined by the height of the hills. I mean, these hills were monsters.

    The PHV got me along the busy highway entirely on EV. Because speeds never exceeded 65, there was no reason for me to disengage the EV. The second leg was almost entirely EV but was also very hilly. So when climbing up the hills, the ICE would engage.

    Because this was a competition, I had the windows cracked and was not running the A/C. I mean, seriously, some of the competitors were removing spare tires, headrests, entire cargo areas and anything else not bolted down in order to gain some edge over the rest of the field. There’s no way I was going to do something as “rookie†as running the A/C.

    That’s not to say that I didn’t commit a few rookie mistakes. There were a few stop signs that I approached too quickly and needed to use my brakes more than necessary. This is a big deal because a power source was used to generate the motion and that power was essentially wasted when the brakes were applied. When hypermiling, this is a no-no; in a competition, this is a game changer. So I’m admitting that I could have done better. But there is also regular traffic on the course since it’s not a closed course. For that reason, I didn’t want to impede traffic so there were times I was using the gas or battery to speed up in order to not be a hindrance. This became an issue on the hills. And oh boy were there hills.

    The course took us through a patch of hills that were very steep and very high. Not one, not two, but too many for me to count. And this is where I have to hand it to efusco for properly identifying the pitfalls of a plug-in hybrid: when in EV mode, you’re lugging around a few hundred pounds of ICE that’s not being used; when in hybrid mode, you’re lugging around a few hundred pounds of dead batteries. I doubted his rational until this challenge. Whereas coasting down the hills provided excellent mileage and regen opportunities, attempting to climb these hills in hybrid mode was a painful lesson in low-mileage. I was shocked to see the instantaneous mileage jump from 99.9 to 9.00 when I went from coasting to climbing. There were enough hills that I had multiple chances to try different approaches. When I decided to try and power up the hill, the 9.00 mpg dropped (seriously) to 6.00 as the ICE revved even more. To personify the situation, it was like running up a hill with a full backpack. On one leg. It was painful.

    And as you can imagine, all this time I was watching the ScanGauge average mileage drop lower and lower and lower.

    Enough complaining about the route and the drive. Here are the stats:
    - Total Distance: 22.4 miles
    - Average MPG : 158
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 51% EV and 49% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 11.42 miles EV
    - - - 10.98 miles Hybrid
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  9. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    The bad news is that someone broke my car.
    The good news is that there were five others for me to take home.

    Due to a logistical snafu, the car I drove last week was the one on show inside the GDE convention center. The other five were outside being used for test drives. Apparently, something happened to “my” car during the show involving the 12v battery. I was told it was nothing serious but all the same would be taken to a local dealership in the morning. For me to get home, I would take one of the test drive cars. As luck would have it, the car I was presented still had my “GDE MPG Challenge” cling on the side. Bonus: I already know the tire pressure so I don’t have to waste time “fixing” it.

    It was going on 6:00pm and I had a two hour drive. Taking three hours to fully charge the depleted battery was out of the question. So let’s see what this baby can do with less than three miles of EV range remaining on a drive that starts with about ten miles of highway. For the sake of my daily commute and for verification, TheForce loaned me one of his ScanGauges. So from now on I have the PHV’s information and the ScanGauge.

    This time, I decided to drive a little more casually, a little more cautiously and hopefully a lot more efficiently. I left at 5:52 pm.

    As previously mentioned, the ICE will engage when the EV Range is low in order to warm up. So it was not very long before the ICE was running. But also, I was on the beltway South of Madison at speeds in the mid-to-high 50s. Once that ICE kicked on, I could not get it to shut off. It seemed as though it was in its warm-up cycle and I was simply a bystander at that point.

    I’ve written previously about the [ECO] and [PWR] modes. During this drive, I found it very handy to punch [PWR] as I went up hills for that extra boost. This got me thinking. I have to wonder if it would be possible to create an “Adaptive Throttle Control” (ATC) with an accelerometer to provide more boost going up the hills and less going down the other side. Let’s think about this: my phone knows when it’s going up a hill or at least, it knows when it’s being tilted. Shoot, it even knows the angle of the tilt. At 0º car tilt, normal Thrust-to-Pedal (TtP) could be applied. However, as the angle of the car increases, that variable could be fed into the ATC algorithms such as the TtP would increase. As the hill increases in angle, the thrust would likewise increase even as the driver maintains a steady foot on the pedal. When descending the hill, most of us let off the pedal anyway but just in case the TtP would drop into negatives when the car is in negative angles. My thought is that this would be a way to make it easier for the car to make it up the hill, maintaining the same speed if desired, without the driver needing to press harder on the pedal. I’m thinking that it would need to be an option and the driver should have a way to turn the system on and off depending on the driver and situation.

    The drive home was absolutely non-eventful. Since I had a bunch of Toyota and Prius swag from the Expo, I was seeking out parked Prii so I could hand stuff out. But alas, no such luck.

    I made it home at 8:04pm so it was just over two hours (2:12 to be precise).

    Drive summary:
    - Total Distance: 102.6 miles
    - Average Speed: 45 mph
    - Average MPG (Prius): 71.5
    - Average MPG (ScanGauge): 75.7
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 00% EV and 100% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 0.00 miles EV
    - - - 100 miles Hybrid

    [addendum]
    To provide some perspective, I would have personally expected to see my 2004 Prius achieve somewhere in the 60 - 65 mpg range for this same drive. I've made this drive in the past but wasn't paying attention to the trip average; it just got lumped into the tank average.
    [/addendum]

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  10. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Here' my report for all day Monday.
    Morning Commute:
    I have the charger set up on a timer. It kicks on at around 3:00am and I'm usually in the car around 6:45. This is the same schedule I use for my engine block heater. But with the PHV, this is a little more than three hours. I know that I might be cutting it close, but this morning the Kill-A-Watt read 3.59 kWh to give me that full 14 miles of EV range.

    The drive was uneventful. If you scroll up and look at Thursday morning's commute, I have decided to take that route to and from work today. This is the shortest route and would offer the largest percentage of EV versus HV.

    In this case, I was still showing 0.01 miles of EV remaining on the pack. However, as discussed previously, the ICE does kick on even during EV range. This is to warm up the ICE in anticipation of the end of EV.

    Drive summary:
    - Total Distance: 17.6 miles
    - Average Speed: 25 mph
    - Average MPG (Prius): 99.9
    - Average MPG (ScanGauge): 434
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 93% EV and 7% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 16.4 miles EV
    - - - 1.2 miles Hybrid


    Evening Commute:
    Almost exactly the same route on the way home as in the morning. There is one small difference but actually that difference includes climbing up a steep hill in the evening though this is better than the alternative (after six years, I have tried all possible routes).

    Another uneventful drive.

    Drive summary:
    - Total Distance: 17.9 miles
    - Average Speed: 23 mph
    - Average MPG (Prius): 99.9
    - Average MPG (ScanGauge): 310
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 88% EV and 12% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 15.75 miles EV
    - - - 2.15 miles Hybrid

    Attached Files:

    4 people like this.
  11. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Far-North Chicagoland
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Tuesday morning commute:
    The Kill-a-Watt showed 3.74 Kill-a-Watt hours. I was able to establish that the fan noise I described in the first post stops once the batteries are fully charged.

    The drive was a little faster than yesterday’s. I missed a couple lights and had to come to a complete stop more than I liked. There were a few that I mistimed and rolled up behind stopped traffic before they started moving again. These are the nit picky things hypermilers worry about.

    All the same, I am really getting the hang of the car now. I feel that I am doing pretty well working the EV and extending the range. There are a few spots where I slip into [N] to just let the car roll – these are spots where I would glide in my car. I am not sure if this is a GenIII thing or a PHV thing but this car rolls very well. On a modest downhill, it will pick up speed easily.

    This morning when I got to work I was just about to run out of EV range. It was showing 0.0 but the EV icon was still on.

    Here’s an interesting thing. This morning, the ScanGauge read that I consumed 0.04 gallons of gasoline. Considering that my drive home often yields lower mileage, I will guess that I would consume 0.10 gallons per day. That’s 100 daily commutes averaging 10.00 gallon fill-ups. Not too shabby.

    As I sat in the PHV recording the figures, the ScanGauge MPG started dropping even though I was sitting still. Not sure what's up with that and no, the ICE was not on. So anyway, the picture shows 408 but when I arrived it read 410.

    Same drive as yesterday. Here are the stats:
    - Total Distance: 17.6 miles
    - Average Speed: 25 mph
    - Average MPG (Prius): 99.9
    - Average MPG (ScanGauge): 410
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 92% EV and 8% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 16.20 miles EV
    - - - 1.4 miles Hybrid

    Attached Files:

    3 people like this.
  12. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Far-North Chicagoland
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Tuesday evening commute:

    I was paying particular attention to the EV range and was trying to determine when the ICE kicked on for the warm-up cycle: 1.6 miles remaining. That’s a firm number. It’s very consistent. And once that ICE kicks in, the Hybrid System Indicator just pegs over to the right (PWR). Attempting to work the pedal and maintain some level of steadiness is futile. Even the lightest touch on the pedal would push it over to the right. Instantaneous MPG drops quickly. Unfortunately, my return trip has the ICE kicking in just before I hit a steep hill. It’s a perfect storm: The ICE is going through its warm-up cycle and I’m attempting to accelerate up a hill from a stoplight. Oh well.

    An otherwise uneventful trip. Here are the stats:
    - Total Distance: 19.5 miles
    - Average MPG (Prius): 99.9
    - Average MPG (ScanGauge): 304
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 81% EV and 19% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 15.8 miles EV
    - - - 3.7 miles Hybrid

    Attached Files:

    3 people like this.
  13. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Far-North Chicagoland
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    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    On the final day of driving the PHV to work, I decided to drive relatively normal. I say "relatively normal" because my definition of normal is lightweight hypermilering, which is not normal for most other people (present company excluded).

    The night's charge took 3.67 kWh. This has been extremely consistent from the very beginning. So I think it's safe to say that fully charging the PHV requires almost exactly 3.66 kWh. Whatever your local electricity charges are, use that number in your math.

    It really was an uneventful drive. I wasn't too easy on the accelerations but I did work to time stop lights and tried to increase regen when possible. One thing I've been doing to stretch out those initial EV miles is to slip the car into [N] since I found it nearly impossible to get a good glide. I found that a strategic use of [N] could give me more than an extra 1.5 to 2.0 miles overall. This is vital when you're attempting to get from pointA to pointB on pure electricity or really trying to reduce the amount of gasoline used. I really do hope that Toyota either introduces a way to to free-wheel or makes the PHV as easy to glide as a Gen2. Failing either of those, slip into [N].

    [disclaimer]
    In some locales it is illegal to put the car into Neutral while moving. Practice this technique at your own risk.
    [/disclaimer]

    All in all, even when I wasn't paying too much attention, I still got a decent range. Though I have to admit that I really noticed when the ICE kicked on for warm-up. As I did the evening before, when my EV range dropped below 2.0 miles, I watched closely. When the indicator dropped to 1.6 the ICE kicked on. I feel very comfortable saying that it's exactly 1.6 miles of EV range remaining when the ICE kicks in.

    And this time, since I wasn't really trying to work the EV, there was still about 1.2 miles of EV left when I got to work. This is because once the car's in Hybrid Mode, I found it difficult to get it back into EV mode. When I thought it was in EV mode, I was just stealthing; I could tell because the EV range wasn't dropping. As far as I could tell, this was the only indication that I was in HV versus EV mode.

    Here are the stats:
    - Total Distance: 17.4 miles
    - Average MPG (Prius): 99.9
    - Average MPG (ScanGauge): 362
    - EV / Hybrid ratio: 90% EV and 10% Hybrid
    - - Calculations break down like this:
    - - - 15.66 miles EV
    - - - 1.74 miles Hybrid
    3 people like this.
  14. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Let me wrap up this thread this way:
    The PHV that I drove seamlessly integrated the Prius that we all know and love with plug-in technology. Once I was able to get over my child-like giddiness for driving the car and enjoy it for the solid vehicle it is, I was able to appreciate the engineering that has clearly gone into it.

    As much as I appreciate the reduction in gas and oil consumption; as much as I like knowing that this is another step in the right direction of electric vehicles; as much as I believe Toyota has another winning vehicle coming to market in a couple years, I was absolutely underwhelmed by the difference of the EV experience. This is a car that anyone can drive with no need to understand how the charging cycles work, how the warm-up cycles activate, how the batteries are depleted and balanced or even when the ICE is running or not.

    This is truly an advanced technology vehicle that outshines even the Prius that came before it. But it is also a vehicle the mass market can grasp with no leap of faith or learning spin-up. In short, this is a car I would buy my mother. And she would love it.
    14 people like this.
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