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Running Out Of Gas

Discussion in 'Toyota Prius Plug-in' started by iRun26.2, Mar 29, 2012.

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  1. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    If your PiP ran out of gas while you still had a full EV charge left, would it hurt the car to drive (on EV) to the nearest gas station to fill up?

    (...not that this would be a wise thing to do)
  2. crewdog

    crewdog AARPrius User

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    This reminds me of having alternator go out in small plane while airborne; radio and transponder would work for a while on battery, but not long. Engine runs on dual magnetos and has gravity fuel feed.

    In an airplane, i'd reduce electrical load and land asap.

    In a Plug-in, i think i'd eliminate any demand for the ice to start, whether heat or a/c, radio, and refuel asap. or if not in range of a fuel station, use the sos button before battery dies.
  3. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    I know that it is very very bad to run the traction battery down too far. I'm assuming I won't do that. What I'm wondering about is how bad is it for the ICE system to run out of gas.
  4. drinnovation

    drinnovation EREV for EVER!

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    If you drove slowly enough to not engage the ICE, why would it care? The bigger issue is what the software will do if it thinks you need the ICE but don't have any gas.

    The Volt will drive without gas, but it does throw up lots of warnings and may enter reduced-propulsion mode (when the battery is "below" the normal minimal SOC (22.5%) but you are out of gas, it will let you go at reduced speed a few more miles (down to 15% SOC I believe) just to get you to a gas station. Hopefully PHV will do the same.
  5. Allannde

    Allannde Just a Senior

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    DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR WITHOUT GASOLINE

    Your owners's manual specifically instructs you NOT to do this.

    This is the surest way to destroy the traction battery. If you destroy your traction battery this way, YOU will pay for a new one.

    You see, the car is designed to run the engine to charge the traction battery when it needs a charge. If the engine is not available because there is no gasoline, it is possible to run the traction battery down to the point that there is irreversible damage. If you KNOW that the traction battery is fully charged at the moment the gasoline runs out AND the distance you must drive to get gasoline is short, you will probably be okay. I would not risk doing that.

    Use roadside assistance.
  6. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    (double post)
  7. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    I understand the danger of running down the traction battery. This is a merely a hypothetical question and I am asking about the danger to the ICE system.

    I have always heard that running an ordinary car out of gas can damage it (such that you might need to do more than just add gas to get it going). I wanted to know if the Plug-in Prius, with it's pressurized gas tank, is any different.
  8. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    The ICE on the Prius is pretty much the same as any modern gasoline powered car. Running out of gas won't kill it, but it's not ideal either.

    The fuel pump is cooled by the fuel, so when it gets low it runs hot.

    You will need to add several gallons of gas before the system recognizes the additional gasoline. On the conventional Prius it takes about three gallons; I imagine it's the same with the PiP.

    It may take a few restarts before all of the error codes reset.

    Tom
  9. superjackie

    superjackie Junior Member

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    I've actually done this. I ran completely out of gas and was able to drive to the gas station, using two blue bars. My battery was full, since I had been coasting after getting off of the freeway. I wouldn't do it for more than a quarter mile or so, because I think it would ruin your fuel injection system more than anything. You get the "Triangle of Death," the same symbol you get when you open the door with the engine running.
  10. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    But were you driving a Plug-in Prius?
  11. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #00005

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    The PlugIn software is so protective of itself in other ways. Why does it let you do something which is known to severely damage the traction battery? Or at least make you go through a tedious sequence of "Are you REALLY REALLY sure you want to do this?" dialog confirmations. Presumably, the owner would not want to do this unless it was literally a life and death situation (for a person, that is, not the car).
  12. LenP

    LenP Member

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    Toyota says not to do it but, if you have a good amount of charge left in the EV traction battery, make sure you turn off all things that would call for the ICE to start up, then go slowly to the closest gas station making sure you don't go below the EV battery range.
  13. superjackie

    superjackie Junior Member

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    No, just a regular Prius. I assume that the idea is the same, just with more battery capacity. Mine is a 2008, so I don't even have eco mode, or whatever. When I ran out of gas, it just shut the engine off, gave me the triangle of death, and let me limp into the gas station on my remaining battery.
  14. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    It would much more risky with the smaller battery capacity (although I bet the PiP's LI battery is much more expensive).
  15. LenP

    LenP Member

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    OH YES and it can take you a good 10 to 14 miles to the gas station before it will revert to HV mode then turn it off. Make sure the ICE can't turn on.
  16. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    Toyota can build a fantastic car, but they can't cure owner stupidity, apparently.

    Do not do any of the above, get gas as soon as you see one pip.
    1 person likes this.
  17. devprius

    devprius /dev/geek

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    I ran out of gas several times in my 2005 Prius. Every time it happened, the car was very protective of the traction battery. It would not me run it down past 1 battery bar left. By the time I got down to that point, the car wouldn't move. Power output had steadily dropped so that the car was going slower and slower until I barely had enough power to pull over safely and wait for AAA. I have no reason to doubt that the PiP is similarly engineered, but I hope never to test that theory.
  18. jbrad4

    jbrad4 Active Member

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    Like any car these days, the fuel pump is located in the gas tank. The gasoline keeps the fuel pump cool. Running low on fuel could cause the fuel pump to overheat. They have to drop the fuel tank to replace the fuel pump. I've had to have the fuel pump replaced in another vehicle. As a result, I always fill up my tank now when it gets around 1/4 full.
  19. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    I wonder if the reduction in power that you experienced was due to the battery becoming so low in power that it was incapable of performing. I suspect you were putting your battery's health in jeopardy (and you got lucky in that you didn't end up damaging the battery even though you were very close to doing so).
  20. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    I am a curious person and I do not think that asking questions is stupid.
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