Electric driving

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by FirstFlight, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. FirstFlight

    FirstFlight Member

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    My commute to the train station is three miles, all of which are back roads. I'm looking at buying a Gen II Prius. What is the maximum speed on the Gen II Prius in all electric driving mode? Also, does the engine have to come on at all if you don't mash on the gas or go over a certain speed?
     
  2. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    Gen2, 35mph in EV mode, 42mph in "stealth" mode. Range is roughly 0.5 miles before the engine comes on. If you use something like the Enginer kit you could go about 20 miles before the engine needed to come on.

    Maybe you could use a NEV or bicycle instead?
     
  3. JimboK

    JimboK One owner, low mileage

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    The short answers to your questions: Max speed is 34 MPH, and no, generally, the internal combustion engine (ICE) doesn't have to light.

    However, because of the nuances of the Prius ICE warmup sequence and battery management algorithm, it's not that simple. For example, the lower the battery charge, the more likely it is for the ICE to light with even a little go-pedal pressure. And if you're thinking you might be able to make the three-mile commute in EV (electric vehicle mode), don't. It won't make it except under the most extraordinary conditions, and then on the return trip it has to recharge. This is not fuel efficient, as energy conversion losses occur.

    It's a misconception that today's hybrids are fuel efficient because they can maintain sustained propulsion in EV mode; they can't without added battery packs and plug-in capability. Instead they are fuel efficient in large part because the electric motor allows a smaller and more efficient ICE to be used, one that by itself would be underpowered for acceleration. The electric motor provides immediate torque and substantially boosts power for short-term needs like acceleration. In addition, the hybrid design allows the ICE to shut down during coasting or stopping -- assuming it has fully warmed.

    Finally, consider whether the Prius is the best car for your situation. If you're looking for the most economical car for just a three-mile commute, the Prius may not be it. Because of the ICE warmup sequence, short trips fail to fully exploit its fuel economy advantage, especially in cold weather (you do have that in the Northeast, no?) with the heat and defroster running full blast. I've done 2-3 mile trips in the winter and have barely broken the 30 MPG threshold. Less expensive cars may have lower fuel economy ratings but may be better overall values for your conditions.
     
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  4. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    If I may, let me recommend another car. (The Nissan Leaf seems ideal)

    The Prius starts in a mode that reduces cold start emissions, it runs the engine almost continuously until it is warmed up, to reduce pollution. While this phase might finish within 3 miles in the summer, I have driven over ten miles in winter before the car turns it's focus to good gas mileage. (and it is likely my winters are milder than yours)

    All energy in a Prius ultimately comes from gasoline, converting it to electricity first then into motion, is not as efficient as just converting it into motion. So it wants to use electric mode as little as possible. You seem to want a vehicle that could go 3 miles on electricity, the Gen II Prius is not it. I can sometimes get 1.2 miles if I slow from highway speed to under 41 MPH and do not hit a light. I never get out of my driveway on electric mode from a cold start. (it is not an electric vehicle) It chooses to go 1.2 miles on electricity only to 'burn off' the charge it got decelerating from highway speed via regenerative braking.

    6 miles a day * 250 days a year = 1500 miles / 45 MPG = 33 1/3 gallons a year

    Unless you drive a LOT, on weekends you will never save save enough on gas to make a Prius a economical car. (I drive 110 miles a day and it makes sense for that distance, but a 6 mile commute only 'costs' 150 gallons a year even in a Hummer)

    You may have unmentioned reasons to want a Prius, but the expectations I see in your post do not resemble my experience with the car. It is not ideal for short commutes, it is not inclined to operate in a pure electric mode, it's focus is always on minimizing pollution. (it just so happens that once warm, one strategy is to burn less gas to pollute less)

    In contrast, the energy in a Leaf was already electricity so there is less conversion losses. it has a 100 mile range, so a 6 mile day is no worry, and there are no pollution controls onboard to out think.

    (I took so long to write this, that others posted first. We are not piling on, we just all have similar experiences driving our Prius)
     
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  5. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Very good advice. Many haven't ever really considered their own personal driving situation simply because there really wasn't much of a choice available. All automatics pretty much work the same way. The approach Prius takes for combating emissions and providing higher efficiency isn't always a good match.

    Extremely short trips is a shortcoming for Prius. (Of course, traditional vehicles have problems too. But with them, efficiency is low to begin with.) The upcoming plug-in Prius overcomes the situation in an exciting way. Unfortunately, it won't be available right way.

    As for the highest speed for 0 RPM of the engine, it's... 42 MPH for the 2000-2009 models, 46 MPH for the 2010-2011 model, 62 MPH for the upcoming plug-in... but EV only isn't really the point of being a hybrid. It's significantly boosting MPG.
    .
     
  6. FirstFlight

    FirstFlight Member

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    This thread seemed to have opened pandora's box.

    I like the idea of less emissions, therefore contributing to less greenhouse gases. Secondary, I'm looking for a fuel efficient vehicle. Yes, the ride to the train station is 3 miles but I do drive to work on occasion and that is 33 miles one way. In addition, I also drive 800 miles a month to see my kids, which breaks down to 8, 102 miles legs.

    I was hoping that if I got a Gen II Prius I wouldn't burn any gas during the week but then I forgot about recharging. Duh!

    This is my situation. Does it make sense to get a Prius?
     
  7. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    Yes, because of your 800 mile trip once a month (where you will see 50+MPG), not because of your 3 mile commute (where you will see <30MPG).
     
  8. mikewithaprius

    mikewithaprius New Member

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    Well, here's a thought given your longer driving.

    Let's say you get a Prius and drive 3 miles to the train station and three miles back at 30 mpg. I'm a picking low, conservative figure because of required warmup mode, but if there are no huge hills to speak of, it could easily be 35 or upwards depending on weather, other factors.

    That's 6 miles (roundtrip) x 5 workdays, for 30 miles, or 1 gallon of gas a week at 30 mpg. Let's call it 4 gallons a month.

    If you drive 800 miles then, for your kids, at about 50 mpg (you may get slightly lower at first, but you could definitely figure out how to get 50 I think), you would use 800 miles/50 mpg = 16 gallons a month on that.

    Altogether, 20 gallons a month.

    With a Leaf, there's the issue of not having enough time to recharge (or a place to do it at the secondary location, which makes it difficult I would guess for your 800 miles to the kids.

    With a Chevy Volt, let's say you can drive 25 miles all electric in your 200 miles roundtrip to see your kids. The other 175 miles will be about 35 mpg, or 175 miles/35 mpg = 5 gallons of gas. Times four weeks is 20 gallons. In this case, you could travel to the train station during the week all electric (pay slightly, of course, for the electricity) but still use 20 gallons a month like you would with your total driving with the Prius.

    For your 33 mile one way, it does seem mathematically that you're likely to get better mileage with the Volt (recent tests have been showing the "25-50 miles range" to be more like 30-35, so 35 mpg one way and electric the other way is around 70 mpg overall, possible with the Prius, but unlikely without hypermiling attempts.

    So overall, with all your driving, the Prius doesn't seem to not make sense. It would be cheaper than the Volt, and the Leaf may not work with such long weekend trips. The Volt would get you slightly less gas use it seems, by a very slim margin (a gallon a month or so).

    If you go with the Prius, remember on those short 3 mile drives that yes, the mpg is low, but would be lower with a regular car, since they all have to warm up.
     
  9. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    We may be Prius fanboys but we still are honest enough to say when a Prius may not make sense.

    The 33 mile commute will be as well served by a Prius as by a Leaf, and the 800 mile trip would be obnoxious in a Leaf.
    (The Volt could be your electric weekday car with gas powered weekends, although I have not heard good things about the Volt's emissions.)
     
  10. ksstathead

    ksstathead Active Member

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    I have a 1.5 mile commute and do other short trips, and we still manage just over 50 mpg yearround. Cold weather with many short trips nets just under 40 mpg. This is in a 2010 (gen3) which handles short trips a little better than the gen2 (04-09), imho.

    Yes, you can do well in a Prius (exceptionally well on the 33 and 102 mile drives), but not because of EV driving.

    You'll need to spend $2 on pipe insulation and block the grill seasonally to speed warmup and retain that heat. You'll want to pump up the tires a bit. You'll need a tank or two to perfect pulse & glide and other techniques.

    Good luck!
     
  11. JimboK

    JimboK One owner, low mileage

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    With those longer trips, it might well make sense. And of course you may have other factors to consider besides fuel economy and emissions. For me, the Prius was the best overall value in a car of its size because of not only fuel economy but also its reliability, its features (some of which are standard on the Prius but optional on other models), its roominess (my tall teenagers have ample rear set leg room), and its practicality (the hatchback has come in handy many times).
     
  12. FirstFlight

    FirstFlight Member

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    I just bought a 2005 Prius with 119K miles for $7250. Seems like a good deal, especially with gas prices rising already. I'm excited to get it and start driving it now! I pick it up next week.
     
  13. mikewithaprius

    mikewithaprius New Member

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    Congrats! Enjoy it and post some updates/pictures when you get it.
     
  14. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    Congrats on our new (used) Prius. New or used doesn't matter, the car should give great MPGs. As you continue to put on mileage, keep us updated with your maintenance schedules. I'm not aware of any high mileage issues. Keep reading for PriusChat for great tips, tricks and help.
     
  15. FirstFlight

    FirstFlight Member

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    Thanks. I've been reading the forums this morning and it's a lot of information. Are you there any hacks/mods/things to know that are a "must." To extract all of that information by going through all of the forums is daunting.
     
  16. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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  17. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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  18. FirstFlight

    FirstFlight Member

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    what does the chassis brace do? Is it easy to install?
     
  19. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    Oh, my...you didn't break this did you? Hmmm....I'm just kidding. I don't have any idea what it does, but the name leads me to believe it's a lateral chassis support, or a side fender support. Sorry, but I don't know.
     
  20. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    I am sorry, this is the only picture of the underside of a gen II I have, it is not pretty.

    http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii.../84539-skid-plate-2010-prius.html#post1183052

    The stock brace does fine when the chassis is in tension, but is weak in compression. The solid slab of aluminum does not deform in compression as much. (Side winds)

    Both braces are attached to the same mounting holes with 4 bolts. It is easy with the Prius off the ground.

    [​IMG]
     
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