Greetings from another happy Prius driver

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by danl, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. danl

    danl New Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I've been browsing the forums for a week now, so I figure I should just stop in to introduce myself. My name is Dan. I'm from Boston, MA and I'm a new proud happy owner of a 2009 Metallic Gray Prius with Package 2.

    Background:

    Little background story for anyone who's interested. I've been driving a '92 camry since 2002 when I graduated college. It was a hand-me-down from my folks, and I thought I'd drive it until it died or I've earned enough money for a new car of my own, which ever came first. But the camry just kept going and going and going... 7 years later, its still going. LOL
    Mid last year the camry broke down. Ultimately, replacing the distributor brought the camry back to life, but that two weeks of downtime sowed the seeds of thoughts for a new car. Since then, I've been shopping around for a commuter car. Nothing fancy, just something that provides peace of mind drive to work. I considered the yaris, new honda fit, corolla, and even the Rav4. I ultimately eliminated the majority of them due to lack of utility, lack of safety, overpriced, or just plain uneconomical.

    For a brief time, I had considered the Prius, but it was so high in demand that I couldn't even get a test drive without making an appointment way in advance. Then earlier last week that I just happened to be at my Toyota dealership for maintenance work, and while waiting on my car, I struck up a conversation with a sale associate. He told me that they had about a dozen vehicles in stock. I guess availability increased as sales slowed down. Long story short, I took it for a test drive, and immediately fell in love with it. Three days later I pull out of lot in my very own Prius. Been smiling in my sleep ever since.

    Oh by the by, the camry is still in service and I still drive it once or twice a week and on snow days. Its like the epitome of Toyota reliability.

    Questions:

    1/ I read somewhere that the Prius employs electic heaters? Is that true? Does efficiency go down when I turn on the heat? Lately NE has been hovering between 0-20F.

    2/ For those in NE or frigid temperates, do you still bother to warm up the car? I know its inefficient, but I gotta believe its not good to run the car when the engine is cold and moving parts are brittle and oils have not warmed up nor circulated fully.

    3/ I read about the stretchable/resizing gasoline bladder. I don't understand why toyota built this into the car rather than a normal non-resizing tank. What is its benefit?

    Impressions:
    I'll reply back in a bit with impressions after driving it for a week. It safe to say that I love this car so far.
     
  2. sdtundra

    sdtundra Senior Member

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    Hey welcome to the Prius community!

    I wouldnt know firsthand about 0-20F weather but i'll try to answer your questions the best I can.

    1/2- I would look into the engine block heater from the Priuschat Shop. Heats up the engine block before you get in so you can have heat faster and run a little more efficiently.

    3- I believe the bladder is in place to help the Prius gain its low emissions rating and to keep vapors from evaporating into the air.

    Others will chime in I'm sure, just wanted to give you a fairly quick response from what I understand about those topics.

    Once again, enjoy your car, its a great piece of engineering
     
  3. ksstathead

    ksstathead Active Member

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    In any car, any electrical or mechanical energy has to come from its fuel source. 100% of Prius energy comes from gas. Thus heat, AC, radio, etc all reduce FE as they do in any vehicle. Use them as needed, but no free lunch. It takes a Prius to teach us these facts, it seems. Cold weather is a bear for FE.

    Note that anything not electric would not be available when the ICE shuts down, that's why they converted more functions to electric, so they would work with ICE off. You should shut those things down when you can to save energy.

    Unless you need maximum performance at startup, don't warm the car. Just let it warm up as you drive gently. 0 mpg while warming the car at a stop. If it is not working very hard, the ICE may as well be propelling you, vs doing nothing.

    They felt they needed the bladder for US emissions standards, but it is gone from the 2010. 04-09's are stuck with it. Just don't overfill. Your fills will vary in amount, that is just the way it is, esp. in cold weather.

    Good luck.
     
  4. danl

    danl New Member

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    So big snow storm in NE today. I opted to leave the Prius at home and drive the Camry. I'm sure the Prius handles fine in snow conditions even with OEM tired, but the Camry is just a bigger, heavier car, and I put on new all weather tires just late last year.

    Back to the Prius. What can I say? I love it. It definitely lives up to its reputation of being an all round very practical, very efficient commuter car. Its got all the amenities I need. The gadgets are all very fun and useful, except I still can't get myself trust the backup cam. Handles great, even with 4 people in the car. Drive feels a little weird, but I'll get used to the engine kicking in and out. One time I felt my heart drop for a split sec as I thought I stalled the car. :-\

    I filled up for the first time last night. It was at 3 pips, and multiple threads here cautioned me not to let it go below 2. I had traveled 243 miles since I picked up the car, and I filled up 6.8 gallons. That would come up to be 35.6 mpg. I know, that's not supposed to be an accurate measurement of FE. And NE winter weather is awful for mpg for any car across the board. (For fun, I've been driving the Prius with the heat off in single digit temps lol)

    On the MFD, my avg mpg is 37. But even that shouldn't be accurate because it was at 21 mpg when I picked it up from the dealer. I never hit the reset button. Generally when I'm driving, I'd pay attention to the bar graph and just by eyeballing it I think I'm averaging 45-55mpg. I'm guessing that I'll need another 3 or 4 fillups and maybe a month of driving to get that average mpg score to be accurate.
     
  5. danl

    danl New Member

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    Oh I forgot to add. My commute to work takes 40-45 mins, 27 miles one way, 22 miles of which consist of fairly constant driving at 50-60 mph. The remainder 5 miles are in-city driving.
     
  6. runnerwithaprius

    runnerwithaprius New Member

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    I was wondering about the reset button...I recently hit it and saw my mpg average reset to zero (obviously!). Now after I've driven it to and from work for a few days (an hour's drive, both ways) it seems I have a better average than I did before. I was at around 43 mpg average for a good month, since I reset it I'm around 46. Are you supposed to hit the reset button? I probably could find the answer in the owner's manual but.....:rolleyes:
     
  7. Doc Willie

    Doc Willie Shuttlecraft Commander

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    Hitting the reset button means you will start recording your MPG anew from the time you hit it. When you do is up to you. If you want to know your lifetime mileage, you never hit it. If you want to know your mileage for each tank, you hit it whenever you do a fillup. If you want to know the mileage for a trip, you hit it at the beginning of the trip.
     
  8. danl

    danl New Member

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    Thanks for the response. It was strongly encouraged to me by a fellow prius owner never to hit the reset button. Mainly because that will be your lifetime mpg score, and you cannot get it back once its reset. Per tank or per trip mpg can be gathered by other means, i.e. scangauge. Still, lifetime mpg can be painful to look at if it keeps displaying 35mpg...

    For me my average is still going up, albeit slowly. This morning it was 34.7. by the time I got to work, its 35.

    Per trip mpg, I tried to eyeball the bar chart and average out my total mpg over 30 mins. Not sure how accurate that is, but its usualy between 40-50. This morning, it was a depressing 40. Going to inflate the tires this weekend. Hopefully that helps.
     
  9. danl

    danl New Member

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    Hello, just came back from pumping up my tires up to 36-37psi. Yeah its conservative compared to the 40+ psi mentioned in other threads. Just a quick thought though. With the tires being so rock hard, does that put more wear and tear on the shocks/struts system? What about vibrations and such?
     
  10. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    I probably wouldn't use 42/40 if the roads I drove were very rough.
     
  11. danl

    danl New Member

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    I did 37 in front and 36 in back. But I worry about the long term effects from crappy NE roads. Though a fellow coworker who also drive a prius has been doing 40/40 and he seems to be ok with it. Just that now, instead of watching my consumption screen like a hawk, I watch the road for potholes.

    On new question. On the consumption screen, next to the average mpg is the miles traveled. I noticed that was reset automatically since my last fill up. What triggers that? Is it just simply the opening of the gas door?
     
  12. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    When the gas tank computer realizes that the tank has been refilled it re-sets those on-screen meters.
     
  13. danl

    danl New Member

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    Is there a good website for tracking mileage and mpg? Sorta like this one.
     
  14. dwdean

    dwdean Member

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    I use the database over at Green Hybrid (see the link in my signature). There is much anticipation that PriusChat will be getting its own database. There was some design work that was done last summer, but I don't know much beyond that. Perhaps one of the moderators will chime in with additional input.

    I also keep an Excel spreadsheet to track lifetime numbers (I reset the MFD at every fillup so I get per tank FE that's combined to give the lifetime numbers.) Keeping this data on an exertanl also safeguards against accidentally pushing the Reset button or loss of the online resource, both of these unfortunate circumstances would result in flushing the "lifetime" total. If you don't feel that your Excel skills are up to setting up a sheet like this, I'm pretty sure that there are couple of plun-and-play versions out there
     
  15. dwdean

    dwdean Member

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    "Refilled" here I believe means adding more than 3 gallons of gas to the tank. I'm only about 99.44% sure of that number, but it's in that neighborhood. It doesn't necessarily mean that the tank was emptied and filled.
     
  16. danl

    danl New Member

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    Hello,

    Got another general (dumb) question. Regenerative Braking, does that happen when I actually hit the brakes or just when I release the gas pedal? I imagine its the latter since the brakes are standard disc and drum brakes.
     
  17. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    The miles per gallon only resets at fill up in early model Gen II Prius, in post 2006 you have to option to reset or not.
    I have just started running 48/50 in my tyres, I know another PC member runs 60PSI.

    Regen happens when you lift your foot and increases with moderate braking. Emergency braking and braking below I think 8mph uses friction brakes.
     
  18. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

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    The braking system is a dual-circuit hydraulic braking model. When you press the brake pedal, it pushes a master cylinder as normal. That pushes the brake fluid. However, in normal operation, the brake fluid only pushes a piston in a 'stroke simulator' cylinder to give the brakes some feel and allow the pedal to move. The pressure is sensed by a couple of pressure sensors, the outputs of which are passed to the Skid Control ECU.

    In a regular dual-circuit system, the Skid Control ECU runs servos which push the brake fluid to the appropriate brake pistons/actuators, and that's all - the electronic control allows better control of which wheels are braked, how hard. In the Prius, the Skid Control ECU sends messages to the Hybrid Vehicle ECU (HV ECU) telling it how much braking force it wants, and the HV ECU takes power off the main motor/generator (MG2) and tells the Skid Control ECU how much braking it's providing. The Skid Control ECU applies the friction brakes to complete the required braking force (which can be none if the motor is doing enough work).

    The upshot is that the Prius uses regen braking for whatever part of the required braking it can achieve. Sharp braking causes the Skid Control ECU to apply friction brakes quickly as there's a bit of lag before regen starts. Regen capability drops the slower the motor is turning, and at about 7mph there's no contribution from regen as the creep function takes over (you'll see the arrows on the energy screen shift from green to yellow).

    The dual-circuit system is also necessary for another reason: it's now common to offer vacuum-assist brakes, to increase the braking force from the driver, but the Prius engine doesn't offer a great deal of vacuum when it's running and none at all when it's not. The brake accumulator can apply more force than the driver applies with his foot.

    If the Skid Control ECU detects that electronic braking has failed, it opens a couple of valves in the brake system and fluid flows directly from the master cylinder to the brake pistons.
     
  19. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Yeah, that's what I said! :)
     
  20. runnerwithaprius

    runnerwithaprius New Member

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    I could have sworn that my total miles (not my MPG) reset to zero everytime I filled up. Then one day I physically hit the reset button and everything reset. I filled up my tank twice now and didn't see my mileage reset....am I crazy? I thought that used to reset...now I'm not so sure??
     
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