Fuel economy - starting experience

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Fuel Economy' started by Bojan Lalic, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Bojan Lalic

    Bojan Lalic New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
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    Location:
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    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
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    I bought a second hand Prius 2007 about 2 months ago, with 44.400 km on. It has 16` wheels (195x55x16).
    I live in Macedonia, Europe, where winters are very cold (up to -20ºC -- minus4ºF) and summers are very warm (up to +50ºC .. +120ºF). I put only about 1000 km (650 miles) so far, but it is enough to get to know the car a bit.

    When I first got the car, I took a 300 km trip right away, 2x150 km. (160 km of highway and 140 km open road with long uphills, at a temperature of -6 to -2 ºC - below freezing!). Speeds from 90 - 130 km/h on the highway, 50-70 km/h uphill-downhill, 70-100 km/h on a flat open road). The result was 4.9 l/100km (48 us mpg) according to the monitor. Then I reset the meter ... the next 100 km, all city driving, were REALLY disapointing - huge 9.4 l/100km (25 us mpg) according to board computer!
    I was sure that something was wrong with the car! Anyway, I urged myself to understand that in that period the temperature was in the range from -20ºC (-4ºF) to max. -4ºC (39ºF), there was plenty of snow, and my commute was really short - 6km (3.7 miles) from home to work, then the car stayed outside for 8-9 hours, then 6 km back home. The other commutes I made were even shorter - up to 5km. Meanwhile the weather got warmer (arround zero ºC .. +32ºF). I got another 100 km without previously resetting the meter. The milleage raised from 9.4 to 7.6 l/100km. By using simple matematics, I calculated that if in the first 100 km I got 9.4, in the next 100 km the car consumed only about 6l (39 mpg) to make an average 7.6 l/100 km. That is suprisingly good, having in mind that it was still cold (as I said, arround 0ºC (freezing temp)), and I have winter tyres on - Hankook W44, nothing special). Just for comparison, meanwhile at work I drove in the city a Seat Ibiza 1.4 TDI, a Seat Leon 1.9 JTD and a Peugeot 206 HDI (all diesels and all praised for their fuel economy). I reset the meters in every one of them. The Ibiza had the best average - 6.8 l/100 km (34.5 mpg), while the Prius, as I said before, got arround 6l/100km. A friend of mine has Mazda 6 2.0 diesel, 119 hp. When the temperatures were -20ºC to max. -4ºC, he got above 10l/100km (23.5 mpg), and above 8l/100km (29.4 us mpg) life-time!

    So, that was the first 500km. The first phase of the other 500 km I got so far was 200km all city driving, temperatures several degrees above freezing, but with a little longer commutes (13km - 8miles). The consumption was arround 6l/100km (39 us mpg).

    Then I again took the same 300 km (187 miles) trip as when I first got the car, 2x150 km. (160 km of highway and 140 km open road with long uphills, at a temperature of freezing up to +3 ºC. Speeds from 90 - 110 km/h on the highway, 45-70 km/h uphill-downhill, 70-90 km/h on a flat open road.... four people in the car with lugage - total ~400 kg - 880lbs. Partly heavy snow, otherwise rain). The result was 4.7 l/100km (50us mpg) according to the monitor. Am i satisfied? - Definitely yes, because I know that I can expect the declared 56 MPG in summer, with summer temperatures and tires and a little more experience with the techniques.

    My first advice to everybody who is disapointed by the mileage - compare the Prius results with the results got by other vehicles in similar conditions!
    In the cold winters Prius needs more time to warm up and to actually become a hybrid (2-3 times longer then a diesel) but afterwards it compensates a lot more with the battery. So, for the next winter I will definitely block the grills to shorten the warm up process.

    My second advice.... it is ESSENTIAL to learn how to drive the hybrid to get good mpg. In fact, it is important not to accelerate briskly, but it is far more important to anticipate stops and drive like you dont have brakes. Even if you have to accelerate briskly, take your foot off the gas afterwards, and then press just a bit again to glide. When you then anticipate a stop, take the foot off the gas completely to coast (green arrows on screen) and crawl that way to full stop. Not only that you save fuel, but you also save the breaks. It is also important to use the EV button when you see a situation when you know you gonna have to drive slow, but dont drain the battery to the end.
    Pulse and glide is a bit tricky, but you can quickly get used to it. It helps a lot, there are sections in the city up to 600m that I pass without arrows on the board (free ride[​IMG]). When I learned it in souch a short period (only 650 miles), everybody can.
    On the highway, again some tricky skills are needed in order to get good mpg.... once you acelerate to the desired speed, you will learn that you can keep the same speed with two different positions of the gas pedal. Once you get the desired speed, release just a milimeter or two while watching the monitor - the mileage will raise significantly. If you release too much, the speed will start to decrease, meaning that you have not done it correctly, so try again. It can be learned easily. You can also P&G, but there is no need to bother doing that, since the consumption is already low with the technique that I described- I got 55-57MPG.

    My thirth advice.... If you dont get the similar mileage that I got with similar conditions, there is surely something wrong with the car! Start with the regular maintenance and aux battery check. If it doesn`t get better, and the dealer say that everything is ok with the car, then you have no other option but to read read read many threads on this forum in order to fix your problem (fuel system cleaning, changing gas supplier, gearbox oul change, ev battery checks, ...)


    So, I have seen that in order to get good mpg, it is not enough just to have the Prius. You need regular maintenence, regular checking the tire pressure and air filter, regular battery checks (it it is weak, the engine will turn on often to charge it), obtaining some driving skills, and normal weather (with temperature above freezing).

    Another thing... According to my calculations, while city driving, with a little caution with the Prius you can save at least of 2L/100km (0.52 USGal per 62 miles) compared to other midle sized cars - even the economical diesels which tend to consume much more fuel while city driving. If you pass only 200.000 km (125.000 miles) with the car, which is normal, you will save more then 7.000 usd on fuel (with the current prices in my country - gasoline is about 1.71 USD per liter!). If hopefully everything is OK with the mashine, you can save additional 1.000 usd on maintenence, compared to other non-hybrid cars of the same class (both diesel and petrol).
    I got my second hand prius for 13.500 USD.... so, I aks myself the question - can I have a quality middle-high class comfortable and quiet and reliable car, full-packed with accessories, for about 5.500 USD(13.500 which I gave minus 8.000 which I will save on fuel and maintenence, if hopefully everything is OK)? I dont think so. I can`t help but look at it as a good investment.

    My observation is uninfluenced by anyone, I neither work for Toyota, or had a Toyota before.... in fact, I see at all car dealers partialy as thiefs who overcharge for everything :)

    My text is only based upon my experience and, which is very good so far, and a little research. The text is based on fuel economy only, but I must say that the Prius has many other pros (easy to drive, comfortable, quiet, many accessories...)
    The several cons that I can see so far is that the plastics are a little bit cranky and it is bumpy on rouhger roads (it doesnt have the uncompromised ride as the Toyota Avensis, Honda Accord, any Mercedes, VW Passat, and other higher class cars), so it is mainly a city car. Also, you`ll get trapped in snow/ice in winter without winter tires, and Prius can not be used for towing. For me, it doesn`t make any difference. I like it a lot.
     
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  2. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Hi Bojan, I also bought a 2nd hand Prius a few years ago. I'd say I'm saving at least 2L/100km even compared to my other much smaller car (Mazda2). For me there was literally nothing available in terms of efficient mid-sized diesels in the same price range (here in a Australia diesels are not quite as popular and diesel fuel is a little more expensive than petrol). So for me, a fair comparison for fuel savings is actually something like Camry, which consumes about an extra 4L/100km. This means that each year (32000 km) we're saving close to $2000 in fuel (compared to the Camry we were considering). Very happy with the Prius so far. :)
     
  3. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

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    Hello Bojan, An amazing post. You have become an expert on the Prius in just no time at all. One tiny point that you may not know, whenever your foot is NOT on the accelerator, it can be lightly resting on the brake pedal, this will give a faster regeneration. Also, the car gets better! as one accumulates mileage, the regeneration also gets better. There is not a day goes by, in which I do not attain a green battery. Good Luck continue to enjoy the Prius. :cheer2::cheer2::cheer2:
     
  4. Wimble

    Wimble Junior Member

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    Great post, really insightful.

    A relative of mine drives his Gen II in similar ( but not as harsh ) German winters. His driving style alters completely to balance safety against preserving mileage to that of summer. I gather from him that good winter tires make ALL the difference to ensuring that the mpg doesn't nosedive.
     
  5. Bojan Lalic

    Bojan Lalic New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    14
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    Location:
    Macedonia
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Things are getting better.... last 100km, with temperatures from 2 up to 15ºC .... 4.6l/100km (51 us mpg).
     
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