few basic questions on 2020 Eco VS LE VS Prime from new buyer

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by The Big Sleaze, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. The Big Sleaze

    The Big Sleaze New Member

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    1) I'm told the Prime plug-in battery is plug in only, and that there is no way to charge by just driving around. My question is "Why not?" I don't want to be plugging the thing in all the time (and I work in construction and wrangle nasty cords all day every day, and I STILL don't want a Plug-In), but I would very much like to use pure electric mode, not to save gas, just to have that feature. I guess plugging a 12VDC to 110AC inverter into cigarette light and then into Plug-In port and driving around would not be a good idea? lol. I heard most people want the Prime for some Express Lane sticker. Is their some goofy law that stops Toyota from running a couple wires from the Hybrid side to the Plug-In side, and has anyone looked into hacking that? Forgive me if that is a taboo around here, I'm new.

    What I'd really like is a motorcycle with pure electric mode. Electric no engine mode on a car is nice, but you still gotta park it like a car. An electric motorcycle is basically a bicycle and could slither into all sorts of places. I wouldn't need anything like 25miles range, just maybe 5 miles to let the engine cool off and enough Ooomph! to quietly zoom up a couple flights of stairs, in something like a 650 V-Storm, but I digress.

    Next question: They say "The Eco has a lighter battery than the regular Prius, making it lighter and better MPG", but how does that effect everything else? I'd be mostly using it as fairly long commuter (100miles round trip average some in hush hour bumper to bumper stop and go). What would I be giving up with Eco, besides less battery-only if I run out of gas? (which I plan on never doing in a Prius) Does the Eco need to "shift" into engine-mode quicker that LE/Prime or does it accelerate slower? How much diff?

    PS-Speaking of 110AC power, does any Prius have a provision for using its powerful plug-in or traction battery to power regular 110AC devices? Seems like a no brainer feature. Be nice to be able to run big-draw devices such as hair-dryer or skill-saw, or 110 mini-fridge. A few fuses and cutoffs to prevent running the batts down to far or otherwise hurting the car, etc of course. You never know when you might need a back up source of electricity.
     

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  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    You CAN do what you ask, without any hacking, there is a Force Charge Mode. Understand that you will never get better efficiency than the Computers do by default, but you can charge deliberately.
    They certainly exist, I doubt 'PriusChat' holds the experts. Electric Motorcycle Reviews And Models | Cycle World
    The Eco does save weight, but not in the battery per se.
    All but one trim level of the 2 WD Prius in the US uses the lighter Li-Ion battery. The cheapest trim uses NiMH, as does the AWD.
    The Eco omits the rear wiper and it's heavy motor, and the spare tire. this is enough to put it in a different EPA weight class so the algorithm yields a higher EPA MPG.

    As an aside, if you own a Prius, change your lifestyle to NEVER run out of gas. Trust me.

    I suspect (just a SWAG) that Toyota's lawyers stifle 120 v A/C outlets of any Amperage. Some Pickups do offer that for construction sites, but only 400 watts

    "AC plugs are also common in new trucks, and with more capability. The 2018 Toyota Tacoma has an available 120-volt, 400-watt maximum bed-mounted AC power receptacle. In the Tacoma, the AC power outlet’s maximum wattage is unlocked when the truck’s automatic transmission is in Park or Neutral with the engine running; only then will the “400 W” indicator inside the cabin illuminate to show the maximum available capacity, according to the Tacoma’s owner’s manual. If you’re moving, the maximum wattage is lowered.

    The Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150 also include an available AC outlet in the cabin. The F-150, like the Tacoma, has a 400-watt maximum for the 110-volt outlet, which has one located on the center dashboard and another in the backseat console. Ford says the 400-watt power outlet can be used for electric hand drills, rechargeable power tools, video games, laptops and televisions, though warns it’s best to use for recharging power tool batteries rather than directly powering them. Ford says not to use cathode-ray, tube-type televisions, vacuum cleaners, electric saws or anything that needs a precise power supply, like measuring equipment." - https://www.cars.com/articles/what-does-this-outlet-do-1420663077612/
    .
     
    #2 JimboPalmer, Nov 28, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  3. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    Yes, but only in Japan: 1500Wあれば、けっこういける (YouTube), and it’s 100 volts AC, 50 or 60 Hz (dealer selectable), of course. I still don’t know if the inverter could be retrofitted.
    If that were so, they wouldn’t offer a 120-volt outlet on the Adventure grade of the RAV4 model.
     
  4. The Big Sleaze

    The Big Sleaze New Member

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    Thx for great info.

    Frightening the lack of basic knowledge at dealerships. The guy who told me "can't be done" was a "fleet manager" who's been at Toyota for 10+yrs. I was very clear that I was asking about the Prime, not the Plug-In-Only. So now I'm back to considering the more expensive Prime.

    I'm talking about a Hybrid motorcycle, with Prime type pure electric option. Pure electric cars have useful range, but not MCs at this point IMO, largely due to theft problem. Car left parked will probably be OK, but stranded MCs seem to vanish overnight. MCs don't get very good MPG "for their size" due to bad aerodynamics (and performance tuned engines). But I guess it would be easier to get an electric MC plugged in; you don't worry about someone taking your parking spot.
     
  5. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Harley Davidson has the LiveWire pure electric motorcycle but it's not cheap.
    2020 LiveWire Electric Motorcycle | Harley-Davidson Canada

    Yes, there's a Charge mode to use the engine to top up the battery to 80% (press and hold the HV/EV button).

    You may want to wait for the RAV4 Prime with its 39 mile range and 302hp total system power. 0-60 in 5.8 secs (faster than the old RAV4 V6). We don't know the specs/equipment but with the larger battery, maybe it will come with a 120V/1500W outlet like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. It obviously won't get Prius mpg but the fact that the current RAV4 Hybrid gets 40mpg, I'd say it'll be close to that or a touch higher. (so far, the current generation of Toyota hybrids have been beating the EPA mpg... that's 2016+ Prius, 2017+ Prius Prime, 2018+ Camry Hybrid 2018+ Avalon Hybrid, 2019+ RAV4 Hybrid and 2020+ Corolla Hybrid).

    We have a 2018 Prius Prime that gets 65mpg in hybrid mode and a 2016 Prius Touring (with the 17" alloys) that gets 54mpg (and 60mpg if we do longer trips... longer than 10 miles). One member here gets 60mpg in his 2018 Camry LE Hybrid.
     
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  6. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    As already pointed out, the forced Charge mode does this, but reduces overall fuel efficiency. It creates extra energy conversions, and some is lost at every step. So it is meant only for special circumstances where you need or want all-electric mode without a plug-in opportunity, regardless of fuel loss.
    This can't work, the 12V socket can't put out anywhere near enough power to drive the plug-in charger. And even if it had enough capacity, it would merely launder energy from the battery through one inverter down to 12V, then up through another inverter, back to where it originally came from, minus several losses (i.e. leaks) along the way. The amount returning would be less than the amount it started with.
    Yes, there is such a law: Conservation of Energy, a.k.a. First Law of Thermodynamics, which says that this method cannot produce a gain. Many many people have tried to hack this law to produce Perpetual Motion machines, none have succeeded. The first person to succeed will create a crisis in the physical sciences, but will almost be guaranteed a Nobel Prize in Physics.
     
    #6 fuzzy1, Nov 29, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  7. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    Very few Toyota Sales staff know much about cars, they know sales. @DianneWhitmire here on Prius chat is a knowledgeable Sales person in California, (I think near LA) who is a straight shooter. I would get in touch, I almost bought a Prius PHEV from her from MS.

    While you have her on the phone, ask about all the discounts and rebates available in CA. a Prime may not be much more expensive by next year's tax return. (You have to pay in enough to get a rebate on what you pay in)
     
  8. The Big Sleaze

    The Big Sleaze New Member

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    Rav4 Prime sounds really cool especially for creeping off road in silent mode, and for some real towing ability. I'm planning to add a tow hitch to my yet to be purchased Prius, but mostly for carrying an external cargo box out of the airstream, and a swing-away bike rack.

    Last time I got into a Rav4 it had the most uncomfortable arm-rests on the doors that weren't really armrests, and it sorta looks like that is same, and that would be a biggie for me. But maybe not a deal breaker since I've rigged custom paddled armrests in the past.

    I want a motorcycle with gas engine but like Prime has switchable to electric for "stealth" last few mile riding.
     
  9. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    The RAV4 Prime will be based on the current RAV4/RAV4 Hybrid (that’s new for 2019) so you can check out the interior today and see if it’s comfortable for you.

    Ohh I see. I don’t think that exists.
     
  10. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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