Prius v (lowercase v for the Prius v wagon), EV Mode, ECO Mode and cold operation

Discussion in 'Prius v Main Forum' started by JamesWhite27, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. JamesWhite27

    JamesWhite27 New Member

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    Hey, new Prius v (lowercase v for the Prius v wagon) owners here. Trying to figure out best way to maximize fuel consumption and more use of EV mode for in city driving.

    We are located in Southern Ontario Canada and travel frequently cross country. We deal with temperatures that range between 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) and -55 Celsius (-58 F), within our regular travels. (We travel to Thunder Bay, Winnipeg and even Edmonton on occasion).
    We just purchased our 2015 Prius v (lowercase v for the Prius v wagon). It is a 2015 demo model with 22000 km (14000 mi.) and we are trying to figure out how best to keep the car in electric mode and maximize battery recharge (when possible or suitable).

    We bought the car in the early spring this year and have only seen one day so far at -10 Celsius (14F). In the cold weather, we cannot even start it from park in park in EV mode no matter the battery percentage or what. How slow we accelerate, speed or battery charge level doesn't seem to matter. It won't even switch to EV mode at all manually if it is below approx. 10 degrees Celcius (50 F). The Eco mode will still initiate eventually but only initiates during regenerative braking or coasting. It usually will maintain electric only in a parking lot but the gas engine will fire up sometimes even when the vehicle is stopped and the battery is above 50%.

    Eco mode DOES seem to run well and switches to electric throughout and in city trip depending on if we are accelerating or on a hill etc. I really wish we could regulate the car's electric running. If we cannot regulate this function as a user what is the point of EV mode? Are we using EV mode incorrectly?

    I realize that more driving style adjustments can be done to maximize regenerative braking to keep the battery charged, but what can be done to ensure EV mode whenever possible? Also is there any advice for consistent (or quicker) ELECTRIC ONLY (acceleration) or slight uphill acceleration techniques to maximize EV?

    I am a very proud new owner of the Prius v. A former owner of an excellent Matrix, we are just trying to maximize the efficiency of our new Prius v (lowercase v for the Prius v wagon) and learn how to utilize it to its full potential. With that being said;
    I am also hoping to see if the unit we have; (is, or is not meeting): acceleration, speed, charge and general EV requirements it was designed for.
     

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  2. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    EV mode is designed to function once the engine is warmed up, primarily to reduce engine emissions. Toyota does not allow much discharge of the battery in order to make it last over 100,000 miles, maybe 200,000. As a result, Prius hybrids usually can't go more than a mile or two on EV under any circumstance. The battery is primarily a short term energy storage device so energy regenerated going down hill or when braking is available for uphill and accelerating. There are "hypermiling" techniques to maximize mpg (maybe 37% improvement), but that technique is more about varying speeds widely, coasting, drafting semi-trucks like you were a NASCAR driver, maximum air pressure, no extra weight, etc etc. Keep your speed down and use ECO mode is good advice. Otherwise consider a full electric car like a Tesla.

    How to Hypermile (with Pictures) - wikiHow
     
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  3. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

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    First, there is no correct way to use EV mode, only what's most efficient for a certain condition. Second, by forcing EV mode or trying to stay in EV mode, you are doing the opposite of what you want and increasing your fuel usage. Follow below for efficient driving tips:
     
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  4. JamesWhite27

    JamesWhite27 New Member

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    I understand exactly what your saying. Tesla is not available here, nor is any other electric car. The new Tesla which is supposed to be within economical range is still $50000 US (or $66,000 + CAD) today which most of us just don't have...; which is why we decided at this point that the hybrid was our best option. (Plug in was considered but the style it is geared towards the regular Prius). We have a large dog and the regular new plug in model proved not practical for our regular use. The wagon is perfect! if only Toyota made a plug-in or even an electric version.....). I understand the idea of not exactly drafting transports and built for the everyday driver. But what then does the EV mode actually do? If it is just for the first mile or two, should the driver not be able control that effect as long as they have enough battery to facilitate it?

    Thanks for this!
     
    #4 JamesWhite27, Mar 14, 2016
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  5. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

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    There's a variety of uses for it. I use it to coast down a hill. Don't need the engine running for that. I also use it to repark the car when someone is in my spot after I get home. Unfortunately, you can't do that when the engine is cold. It's also nice to use it to get in and out a parking lot. There's a lot of waiting at a parking lot where running the engine isn't necessarily most efficient.
     
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  6. JamesWhite27

    JamesWhite27 New Member

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    Thanks for the Vid!
    I have found it particularly useful in parking lots as well. I was just hoping to use it even more i guess. At least this is a great stepping stone of what is hopefully sure to come.

    Also a little more tricky in the cold climates I guess...This could be a possible problem or Hurdle as we usually end up referring to them as for full electric vehicles up here!

    On a side note anyone know of any hazards associated with trying to run too much EV in cold temps?
     
    #6 JamesWhite27, Mar 14, 2016
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  7. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I think the EV mode button is a "bell and whistle" rather than a really useful function, eg the ability to manually control electric only. The Prius models through 2009 did not have it although people figured out how to hack one in. The reality is I can keep it in EV mode for parking lots by taking it easy and watching the indicator. Conversely, even if you have it in EV mode, it will jump out quickly when more power is needed. The battery is there to provide extra power for the relatively underpowered engine when needed and to allow the constant stop start of the gas engine and still have immediate power when the gas engine is off.

    The auto EV mode will do more than you think when it's essential. I once ran out of gas in my 08 Prius doing 60 mph on the freeway. The battery kept me going at speed for at least three miles to a gas station. Once I had gas and the engine started, the HV battery was almost fully discharged. Engine only power was extremely weak, barely able to get on the road again and I probably took a few months off the HV battery. I have never experienced such low engine power before or since because the HV battery is always available to add extra power to the engine when needed.
     
    #7 rjparker, Mar 14, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  8. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

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    Probably not. As discussed, the engine will turn on if temperature is too low. There's no hazard with low temperatures besides using more fuel when it's cold.

    In contrast, the hazard usually discussed is if temperature is too high. On hot days, it is recommended to use AC to cool the cabin which cools the battery instead of sweating without AC. You might use more fuel but you'll prolong battery life.
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats and welcome! is it spring up there already?:p
     
  10. jtv

    jtv /* No comment */

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    Don't forget that if cabin heating is called for, Prius will burn fuel.
    If not, it will shut down the engine much sooner after starting to drive.

    You can install and use electric engine block heater / cabin heater to preheat the car and save fuel.
     
  11. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    A block heater is strictly a comfort measure, it won't save any money. In fact it will cost more to use than to not use. But we're talking about pennies either way.
     
  12. jtv

    jtv /* No comment */

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    I agree that it is pennies that we are talking about.
    Whether it costs more or not depends on the price of gas and electricity.

    VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) conducted a study a couple years back.
    Incidentally one of the vehicles in the study was Prius+ (European name for Prius v).

    The conclusion was that it does save some fuel while the main benefit is reduced emissions (mainly unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides). All in all they recommend engine preheating.

    Fuel consumption was measured using NEDC cycle (20 minutes of driving including both city and highway driving).
    In -7 C (about 19 F) the combined fuel consumption was 8.10 l/100 km (29.0 MPG US) without preheating and 7.71 l/100 km (30.5 MPG US) after two hours of preheating with 300 W EBH.
    Energy-wise preheating consumed 0.6 kWh electricity and saved 0.44 kWh worth of fuel.

    The report can be found in here http://www.motiva.fi/liikenne/henkiloautoilu/taloudellinen_ajotapa/moottorin_esilammitys/tutkittua_tietoa_esilammityksesta.

    Unfortunately I couldn't find English translation.
     
  13. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    The North American block heater is 400w, not 300w. My personal experience suggests it does help for about 2 min. You can also let the car sit and idle for that same 2 min and get about the same heating benefit. The question will be which uses more energy. There's credible evidence right here in numerous threads that the 2 min idle might save gas, or at least not cost any.
    I think the block heater is a good option for personal comfort if a warm-up idle isn't for you.
     
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