2013 PHEV PRIUS 7445 mile road trip

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by Wolfie52, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. Wolfie52

    Wolfie52 Senior "Jr" Member

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    Road Trip Report 2013 Plug In Prius



    I took a road trip in my 2013 Plug in Prius (PHEV). From July 1, to July 17, 2016 I drove from Charlotte, NC, 7445 miles, to California and back. I took my son, 14, and niece 15 and nephew 18. It began when I drove I-77, to I-81 then to the I-80 intersection in PA, where I picked up my niece and nephew.

    Then I traveled via I-80, I-90 to Wyoming where I visited The Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Custer State Park, Deadwood, and Yellowstone NP. Then headed into The Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole, where I headed west into Idaho and down to I-80 in Nevada and into central Ca. I took some back roads in the gold country of Calif to visit my brother. I then traveled down the Central Valley through Bakersfield into the Mojave Desert. I continued to the Grand Canyon and then Flagstaff, AZ. I followed I-40 into New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. I encountered severe weather including extremely strong winds. Finally, I traveled through Arkansas, and Tennessee finally home to Charlotte. I did travel on a few dirt roads, and many country type highways in Wisconsin, SD, and Wyoming.

    My driving was about 75% interstate travel, with speed limits in several states of 80 MPH. Most states had 75 or 70 MPH limits. My max speed was 90 MPH (while passing). Otherwise I travelled a few mph over the limit, except when traffic or weather didn’t permit. I found the power was more than ample. (My only complaint about power is when accelerating from a complete stop.) When I would use Cruise Control, I was able to maintain 80 + mph easily and able to stay with traffic up some very steep mountain passes. If possible I would try to save fuel but sometimes that wasn’t the best option. A vast majority of the time I ran with the AC on.

    I was only able to charge my PHEV 3 times. I was able to, on 2 occasions (near Custer state park in SD), regenerate a full charge and many more times regenerated a partial charge. Most of those times I would switch to EV mode and use the charge when I felt it would be of most benefit, such as rolling country roads such as in Custer State Park.

    Since the PHEV Prius only has a 10-gallon gas tank I would fill up at between 325 miles to 470 miles driven (there was a dearth of fuel stations in many areas) and most times my cost to re-fuel was 17-18$, with a max of about $22! I would often drive up to 5-6 hours at a time and would have loved to have a bit more range, as the upcoming Prius Prime supposedly will allow.

    I found the PHEV Prius handled very well in most conditions. I was buffeted a couple of times by very strong (probably 45-50mph) winds. It handled rainy conditions well. My overall MPG was 50. I did notice when I was traveling above 80 MPH my MPG would be in the low 40’s.

    I personally drove all the time and have found the comfort of the seat very good (as was the case with my 04 Prius). This rare for me, as I am 6’ 3” and virtually every car I have driven long distance caused back aches and general discomfort. I didn’t have any complaints from my passengers but more than 4 people on a trip like this would have been too much. We had ample space for our bags.

    As to “road noise” which many have rated as “poor” on the PHEV Prius, I will say this: noise seems to be much more of a road surface and tire issue than a characteristic of the car. Sometimes especially on asphalt as I-40 in Arizona I noticed virtually no road noise and could hear my music without problem. Other surfaces such as concrete (esp. grooved) there was significantly more road noise. Never did the noise cause us to have to raise out voices. Surely it isn’t the quietest car out there, but I feel complaints about noise in the PHEV Prius are overrated. It is a VERY QUIET car when running on EV.

    I will add I used the Entune apps, such as I ♡ Radio, Pandora and Slacker. I really like Slacker as it has few ads and I am able to listen to Chinese music, which no other app has. My other favorite (my kids also) was the comedy channel on I ♡ Radio. I will say that I heart Radio would occasionally stop working. Also there were many areas unable to connect to data so I was able to use BT to listen to music from my phone when the apps couldn't connect. I did use the car GPS as there were areas where there was no LTE (or any data) connection so using the car GPS still gave accurate directions. I like looking at the music apps when I didn't need the map, so I can see the tracks, artists, etc. Pretty nice.


    Overall, the PHEV PRIUS has perfectly filled the features I wanted in a car. I use it mostly for short errands around home, often going 8 weeks between filling with gas. But I also wanted a car I can take on long road trips (like this one), without having to wait hours for charging (or worse trying to find a charger in a remote area) AND get great mileage when I do!
    [​IMG] RoadTrip.jpg
     
    #1 Wolfie52, Jul 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
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  2. drash

    drash Senior Member

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    Wow! Excellent mileage for such a high average speed. The car continue to amaze me to this day. Did you happen to refuel with just regular E10 or did you try non-ethanol gas during your trip?


    Unsupervised!
     
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  3. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    Great trip report!

    I'm taking mine up into the Rockies for the first time here before long and excited to see how it does. Any worry about overheating on long climbs in the power section?
     
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  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    great write up, thanks wolfie!(y)
     
  5. Yea Right

    Yea Right Member

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  6. Wolfie52

    Wolfie52 Senior "Jr" Member

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    I DO NOT use any device to tell me actual coolant temperature, but I took it up 10% grades, and kept the power up. Same on the interstates. Never any indication of overheating, or any distress. I should add, the outside temps ranged from 44°f (Grand Tetons) to 109 °f in the desert southwest. I kept the AC on and the speed up...no problem.
     
    #6 Wolfie52, Jul 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
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  7. Wolfie52

    Wolfie52 Senior "Jr" Member

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    Most of the gas I used was regular E10 but I did see a few stations in the west offering "100% gas". I didn't worry about price or ethanol content. I simply drove as far as I could (still feeling comfortable) and stopped to fill up.

    I still didn't like pushing the car past the point of the last gas pip after it started blinking. I think the MOST fuel I added was 8.4 gals. But there were times when it might be over 50 miles between any gas stations.
     
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  8. Wolfie52

    Wolfie52 Senior "Jr" Member

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    I forgot to add details on the lack of spare tire. I use the small (from a 2011 Prius) spare and stick it in the storage well where the charge cable is stored. It did cut down on the storage space available, but it really wasn't that bad. I felt far more comfortable traveling in these remote areas with a spare tire than just the can and pump. Never had any tire pressure/flat problems, thankfully.
     
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  9. Wolfie52

    Wolfie52 Senior "Jr" Member

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  10. Wolfie52

    Wolfie52 Senior "Jr" Member

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    I also forgot to comment about my use of the WAZE app. I have a clip attached to the vent above the PiP Screen, on which I attach my smart phone which is equipped with various apps. On longer trips I use WAZE to notify me about possible road hazards, police speed traps, and general delays. I think the police speed trap (ubiquitous here in the rural east) notifications maybe saved me on 2 occasions.

    And the native Prius GPS would want to re-route me around "delays" that often didn't exist when I was actually got to the area....I trust WAZE to be be more up to date. And WAZE will notify you when there is a "road hazard" (say a couch falls off a truck...which I saw on 2 occasions) which you don't get anywhere else!
     
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  11. drash

    drash Senior Member

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    Yep use WAZE all the time when I go on long distance trips. Can not beat the timely info.


    Unsupervised!
     
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  12. devprius

    devprius /dev/geek

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    Great trip report!

    One thing to note: Using B mode doesn't contribute anything to regeneration. In the PiP with its large battery, you'll likely never fill it all the way up, even when descending the Rockies. So, while your worries about burning up your brakes are valid, especially given your prior experience, in the PiP it's really not something to be concerned about. I have 106K miles on my PiP, I descend a steep hill every day that regenerates 2 miles of EV. My brakes are at 75%. I don't see ever needing a brake job while I own the car.
     
  13. Wolfie52

    Wolfie52 Senior "Jr" Member

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    I think I actually got more regen from using the brakes, but it did comfort me to NOT NEED to brake on many occasions. I tried to anticipate steep downgrades and curves. My main concern was safety. I just found myself "downshifting" often!
     
  14. devprius

    devprius /dev/geek

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    My understanding is that B mode essentially just bleeds off excess electricity from regen braking you are already doing and use it to spin the engine (without spark or fuel). In a regular Prius this is more helpful because it has a smaller battery than can fill up, which means you then have to start using the friction brakes. In the PiP it's not as necessary.

    Glad you had a good trip and a managed to survive travelling with 3 teenagers. I know how much of a challenge that can be.
     
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