Auto Climate Control Appreciation

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by Pri3C, Jul 6, 2022.

  1. Pri3C

    Pri3C Member

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    I just wanted to express my appreciation for how great the auto-climate control works in the Prius C.

    I’ve driven quite a few other vehicles where you’re constantly having to adjust the temp and fan speed (first it’s too hot.. then it’s too cold), but with the Prius C, whether it’s 0 or 100 outside, I find that sans a few occasional 1-2 degree adjustments, I can pretty much set the temp like a proper thermostat and forget it.

    This is the first summer I’ve used auto with the AC. I’ll set the temp between 73-75, the cabin stays cool and comfortable, and rarely do I see the fans above level 3.

    Of course it’s also nice to have a vehicle you can leave on when you’re out and about, running into the store, etc. I’ll turn auto off and the fan speed to level 1 in those cases, but I think it helps that the car doesn’t have to work so hard to heat itself up or cool down when you’re ready to drive again (and I don’t return to an oven or an icebox).

    Anyway, I think this is a rock solid feature worth appreciating, and it reminds me how well designed and incredibly efficient this car is.
     
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  2. Storm88000

    Storm88000 Active Member

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    Lol. I have it and have had it on many cars and never use it. I don’t like the Ac Going on when I don’t know it is- kills some power and uses more fuel- that’s just me
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i've never used it in 17 years, i'm going to have to give it a try!(y)
     
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  4. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Auto HVAC is wonderful. I miss it when I'm in a rental without the feature.
     
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  5. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Active Member

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    When I first got my GMC SUV, equipped with auto HVAC, I kept wondering why I would intermittently loose power and can't seem to keep my interior warm (duel A/C system climate control). The A/C was on; assuming acting as a dehumidifier. Switched over to manual mode, toasty cabin and everyone was happy. Bonus; lowered gas consumption....
    I must be a control freak. I keep my Prime in manual mode - don't like how auto steps the fan up and down.
     
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  6. Pri3C

    Pri3C Member

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    I’d imagine it takes a lot more energy to cool or heat a big SUV, but I’ve never felt a loss in power in the Prius C from using the heat or air.. auto or otherwise.. maybe because I never had much power to begin with ;)

    In all seriousness, though, because the C is only working with 99HP, losing any power would likely be noticeable pretty quickly. Since spring of 2020, I’ve driven over 40k miles in extreme heat and cold temps.. rain, snow, mountain roads, etc.. and this little trooper has always had enough juice to get the job done.

    With the previous two summers in the C, I usually set temp to the coldest setting and most of the time I didn’t have to move the fan speed above 1 or 2 for it to keep the car nice and cool. This summer I went full auto with the AC, and I’ve driven in plenty of humid 95-100+ degree days since the beginning of June. The compressor seems quieter this year (i.e. I don’t notice the sound when I’m idle), so I feel like it’s working more efficiently, and I’m just as cool and comfortable.

    As far as fuel consumption is concerned, especially with AC in extreme summer temps, I think the difference is negligible and would argue that if it’s really hot both outside and inside the car, the battery components under the back seat are having to work even harder to keep cool. I think they appreciate a climate controlled cabin just like we do!

    I know there are many Prius owners who don’t use AC to save gas, but I’m not willing to sacrifice comfort for a few additional miles, and (just like these cars don’t like to sit for long periods of time) I think the AC will perform better and last longer if it’s regularly used.
     
    #6 Pri3C, Jul 7, 2022
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2022
  7. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Active Member

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    Yep, the GMC A/C compressor is belt driven off of the engine pulley. The default is auto with A/C on; every time I fire it up; I need to toggle to manual and the AC off.

    Prius A/C units are electrically driven, so there's no engine power lost - Just a bunch of electrons moving around.
     
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  8. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Those electrons come from somewhere, though. In an ordinary Prius (not a PiP or a Prime), they all ultimately come from the gasoline engine. In a PiP or a Prime, they can come from there or from the plug.

    The Prius A/C electric compressors are variable speed/power, and can suck down anywhere from around 250 watts at the lowest power, to more like 2500 when running all out. One HP is about 746 watts, so you're paying something from around 1/3 HP to a bit over 3 HP depending on how hard the A/C is running.

    Well before the Prius, engineers were often designing circuits that would drop out the A/C compressor momentarily when you demand hard acceleration, so all the engine power is available for that. The Prius ECUs know that trick too.
     
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  9. Storm88000

    Storm88000 Active Member

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    I have had the Prime 2+ years and never used the auto feature once. Only to see what it would do.
     
  10. Storm88000

    Storm88000 Active Member

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    I have had the Prime 2+ years and never used the auto feature once. Only to see what it would do.
     
  11. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

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    Agreed, Prius was the first car I purchased that had Auto AC. I use it all the time. DW hates it though because it blasts you in the face on a hot day when you first start the car. I heard there some vehicles that allow you to limit the fan speed for Auto. That's what I'm hoping my next vehicle to have.
     
  12. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    That's been around for decades, but it is not always understood by the driver.

    The Prius will do it. Push auto, then set the fan speed where you want it. The system will still be automatic except for fan speed. It will still do everything else automatically to hit the target setpoint. Using your preferred fan speed means it will take more time to hit the setpoint, but in theory this is a desired trade-off.
     
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  13. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Odd, that's exactly what auto on my Gen 3 does not do. When I start the car, it doesn't start the fan at all, gives the A/C compressor time to cool the coil down, and then slowly spools up the fan as cooling becomes available, so it avoids ever doing that initial blast of hot air my old non-auto vehicle would do.

    It works the same way in the winter, doesn't run the fan much until the heater is warm, then slowly spools the fan up, so there's no initial winter blast of cold air either.

    In older cars, I used to do all of that myself ... get in car, turn fan off, start car, watch temp gauge, start turning fan up one notch at a time ... I kind of like having the car do that for me so I don't have to.
     
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  14. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

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    I recall that if you change fan speed, Auto is turned off as well. The air coming out will be the set temperature but fan speed will never decrease. That's manual mode, right? I'll give it a try on my way home.
    Yes, you're right, it takes a moment but eventually will start blasting air in your face. Yes, same with the heater. That is a very welcome feature to heat up or cool down before blasting you in the face. Better than nothing but it will start blasting.
     
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  15. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    The 'auto' indicator disappears to show that the system isn't fully automated, but it is still doing several things automatically. When you see the 'auto' indicator that just means that every detail is under automatic control, not just most of them.
     
  16. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

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    I will have to take your word for it. It's not what I experience in the vehicle. At any rate, it doesn't really matter. Whatever the semi auto mode is, that is how DW operates the HVAC. And it's annoying to both of us. She adjusts the fan speed manually. And I suffer the air blasting my face in full AUTO. First world problems...
     
  17. Storm88000

    Storm88000 Active Member

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    Yep

    I don’t like not having control of the AC coming on if in cool enough
     
  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    Couple of things I’d like Toyota to do:

    1. make it possible to easily set vent mode WITHOUT taking your eyes off the road.

    2. add a windshield-only vent mode.
     
  19. Pri3C

    Pri3C Member

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    Point the vents in a different direction? I don’t think my fans have ever ramped up anywhere close to max this summer using auto. Once everything’s going, maintaining 72-76 degrees is no problem with the fans usually between 1-4 bars, even in 100 degree heat.

    I’m sure it helps that my car begins its day in a garage, and my windows have a ceramic heat shield. I think winter is a different story for fan speeds.
     
  20. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

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    Sure, we could do that but then we'd have to reposition them afterwards to hit our bodies where we like it. Your post is about a set it and forget it auto climate control. I can do that with a few minor quibbles like blasting me in the face when the car is outside on a hot day. I don't mind it but my wife does.

    So we can reposition the vents and we can adjust the speed and then readjust when temps reach comfortable which means it's no longer set it and forget it climate control. It's still leaps better than not having auto climate control. Hence, first world problems.
     
  21. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    @mmmodem you had me thinking: even luxury cars with multiple climate zones don't allow independent fan speeds. Large vans with multiple air handlers do allow for different fan speeds per row of seats, but that's about as good as it gets I reckon.
     
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