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Weight savings....what else?

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by jialideel, Apr 13, 2011.

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  1. jialideel

    jialideel New Member

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    So I'm about to be in possession of a new (to me) 2010 Prius Gen III and I will be on a mission to make this the most fuel efficient Prius in the known universe :D. Having said that, I will definitely be starting off with the Enginer PHEV kit (probably 4kwh)...but indirectly, I am looking to weight savings to help compliment the plug-in advantage...

    Having said that...I have a couple of rules. I am not sacrificing vehicle aesthetics or common comfort features (so no ripping out seats, headrests, interior panels, etc...I've seen the posts on these crazies :)) . Also, I am not compromising the structural integrity of the vehicle (so no cutting holes in the frame, body, etc.)

    So far, this is the plan...

    Wheels - Going to go with the Volk/Rays TE37's 15x6.5...at 4.02oz (8.86lbs) these seem to be the lightest wheels available. Yes, they're expensive...and yes, 15's look like crap on these cars...but again, the objective is efficiency here, and I'm on a grant so I have no problem spending someone elses money :). I will also invest in either forged aluminum or Ti lug nuts to squeeze off an extra .5 lb per corner.

    Suspension - Going to drop it with either TEIN or Tanabe to reduce underbody wind resistance.

    Body - Definitely going to shave door handles and everything else I can to reduce CDF further. May go with a MINIMAL body kit (front lip and skirts) if the improvement in aerodynamics outweighs the additional weight...I have yet to research in great detail on this subject.

    Question to all of you who are much more experienced than I in the Prius realm is...what else can be done? I am thinking about replacing all (or at least as much as possible) of the hardware throughout the vehicle with Ti to help, but I am not sure how much that will gain. Open and eager to hear your other ideas...

    Note: Again, I realize there are plenty of cost efficiency arguments about many of the things that can be done, but lets just say for all intents and purposes that I have been blessed with a proverbial 'blank check' for this project, so I dont need any CPA's advising that I would be better to invest my money in real estate :) (no offense to all of the moneysmart people out there...I think the same way with my PERSONAL capital).

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Advance The Man

    Advance The Man New Member

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    How much do you weigh? Let's start there. :)
    1 person likes this.
  3. rrolff

    rrolff Prius Surgeon

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    There are many threads on this - I'd start by adding the mud flaps, the shark fin antenna, and removing your wipers (use a water wetter which makes the water run off the windshield).

    Window tinting has shown to help - but only slightly../
  4. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    Unless you have your own wind tunnel, I doubt you will find accurate or reliable data on existing 'aero' kits, mostly they are cosmetic, those that are not usually favor downforce at the expense of drag.

    Got Hybrid? - Modifying the Prius - Car and Driver

    land speed prius - Google Search
  5. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    I'm not into plug-in kits, but from the Enginer related threads here on Priuschat (skim http://priuschat.com/forums/prius-phev-plug-in-modifications/), I'd advise against it. It sounds hacky, unreliable and finicky, at best.

    Maybe you should've gotten a used 2nd gen and a HyMotion kit. It at least sounds like those are more reliable. Here's one of TheForce's exploits at http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...prius-ii-plug-in-hybrid-electric-vehicle.html. :) He posted a review at http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...57-review-hymotion-battery-plug-in-prius.html.

    Even though you don't want to, if you really want to save weight, I would remove all the extra seats and possibly the spare tire then carry a can of Fix-A-Flat goop. Not sure about the implications of goop w/TPMS sensors though....

    I'd next invest in learning driving techniques for the 3rd gen and all the hypermiling strategies along w/buying 2 ScanGauges (unless someone can suggest something better for the 3rd gen) to help you w/the techniques/tricks. These changes will likely be a lot more effective than trying to shave off bits of weight here and there.

    An engine block heater might help. You should also grille block in colder weather (definitely NOT now).

    For example, famed hypermiler Wayne Gerdes w/3 other guys achieved ~110 mpg in a 2nd gen Prius at http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05220/550484.stm. I believe the record's been broken. He helped w/achieving 81.5 mpg in a FFH (http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=30289).
  6. jialideel

    jialideel New Member

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    Haha 6'3" and 200 lbs. In an ideal world, I'll lose 15 lbs or so at the gym this summer...but I'm hoping the car will give up more than that :D
  7. jialideel

    jialideel New Member

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    Wait...what? I have to assume sarcasm here...(and I'll except the facepalms if I'm right).
  8. jialideel

    jialideel New Member

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    Thanks, Cwerdna. I will stay from seat removal and fix-a-flat ;), but the driving techniques are definitely not a bad strategy. I dont think a block heater or grilleblocking will be much use in Central Florida either haha.
  9. jialideel

    jialideel New Member

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    That's what I've noticed, Jimbo. The Five AD kit boasts efficiency improvements, but IMHO I think its just marketing propaganda. I wouldn't mind downforce for traction's sake, but not at the expense of efficiency. I'm not taking my Prius to the Autobahn at 200mph...so I think I have enough downforce for now, thanks! :D
  10. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    Cool. Looking forward to hearing how it goes.

    Check out aerocivic.com it probably exceeds your aesthetics clause, but some of it can be done with an eye to looking good, and there are good ideas there.
  11. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Exactly! Although I never visit, http://ecomodder.com/forum/aerodynamics.html might have some insightful info. I can think of rear wheel skirts possible being helpful though.

    Another thing I forgot to mention to reduce weight is to run w/less fuel. Per How can 6 pounds of gasoline create 19 pounds of Carbon dioxide?, a gallon of gas weighs 6.3 pounds. So, maybe run with 1/2 tank or less?

    But, not filling completely will make it err... challenging to do manual calculations of mileage.

    Don't run so low that you run out of gas (http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii-2010-prius-main-forum/64211-warning-running-out-gas-gen-iii.html).

    The EBH will help the ICE warm up quicker and should reduce the duration of crappy mileage in the 1st couple minutes of driving.

    Back to techniques, pulse and glide used by Gerdes and company is described at http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1224. Don't try to "dead band" (no arrows) on the 3rd gen. It's too hard to see the arrows on the 3rd gen anyway. A 3rd gen owner here should be able to chime in on pulse & glide.
  12. Creaky

    Creaky Junior Member

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    Consider removing your side mirrors and install a camera at each side with two small lcd video monitors inside. Of course, check the legality of this at your locality.

    Another thing you can try is, replace all the underbody panels with a much smoother one. If money is no object, have one that is continguous from front to back.





  13. EdwardPrius

    EdwardPrius New Member

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    I took the side mirrors off my last vehicle and put cameras in. It would be easy for the prius as you could place them inside looking out of the front corner windows. I just ran to a video monitor in my rearview mirror.

    I heard that side mirrors are one of the biggest drag items on vehicles.

    JD
  14. jialideel

    jialideel New Member

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    I like both of these ideas. Especially the mirrors...although I have no idea if that set-up would be legal in my neck of the woods. I will have to ask around.

    Regarding the underbody panel, I'm wondering if the addt'l weight would counteract any improvement in aerodynamics. I suppose if you made it out of ABS or carbon fiber you'd probably be OK, but any kind of metal and it would probably be heavy as ****.
  15. sipnfuel

    sipnfuel New Member

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    You can try to smooth out some of the indents on the underpanel with some HVAC tape (not duct tape). It weighs next to nothing, but withstands weather & temperature swings and the adhesive won't fail.

    Also you can try some foam or expanding foam spray, shave off the excess, and cover it with the tape.

    I'm not sure how mudflaps improve aerodynamics.

    How do you plan to remove the door handles?
  16. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    Or, you could consult the Florida Drivers Handbook at http://www.fpts.us/documents/Florida_Driver_Handbook.pdf, which may say in section 7.2 (Other Equipment Standards), something like:

    Mirrors: Your vehicle must have at least one rearview mirror which gives a view of the highway at least 200 feet to the rear.

    ...
    Rear windows: When the rear window is composed of, covered by, or treated with any material which makes the rear window nontransparent, the vehicle must be equipped with side mirrors on both sides.

    Just a thought. ;)
  17. sipnfuel

    sipnfuel New Member

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    I remember a long time ago, right hand side view mirrors were not standard on some cars (they were an option). There would be a blank insert where the mirror would otherwise go.
  18. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    I thought this thread was a joke - No offense but these mods won't do sh-t for your mpg. Maybe the 8lb rims will work but you also need good LRR tires.

    Lowering springs, window tints, shark fin antenna, no side mirrors??? Won't do sh-t, trust me. It'll look cool, but don't expect results. You seriously need to be dumped like a Nascar car, to reduce that drag coefficient. What you really need is a hymotion battery or an EV button at the least. Stripping the interior for lighter weight will work too.

    Basically everything you're not doing, is what actually works. Just don't want you to get your hopes up with these pseudo mileage mods.
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  19. HI MPG

    HI MPG Active Member

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    Replace all windows with plexiglass...? Haha, just a thought. Glass can get fairly heavy.
  20. sipnfuel

    sipnfuel New Member

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    If op is willing to be the guinea pig and report back to us, I'm more than willing to encourage him :). Of course I like to give ideas that are practical -- like filling the cabin with Helium should definitely lighten the car.



    Pfft... try transparent aluminum :)
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