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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2008, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Default Mountain Driving

I have a forty-five minute commute to work, climbing 1500 ft. in elevation. Sure, I'm not trying to haul up Mt. Everest, but I'm looking for some driving tips on how to maximize my mileage on the way up. Coming down, I get about 52 MPG, but going up it's about 38 MPG. I also love the fact that I'm complaining about 38 MPG knowing my minivan or my Outback couldn't possibly get that on the climb.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2008, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Mountain Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by alrodrigu
I have a forty-five minute commute to work, climbing 1500 ft. in elevation. Sure, I'm not trying to haul up Mt. Everest, but I'm looking for some driving tips on how to maximize my mileage on the way up. Coming down, I get about 52 MPG, but going up it's about 38 MPG. I also love the fact that I'm complaining about 38 MPG knowing my minivan or my Outback couldn't possibly get that on the climb.
Is it a single hill, steady climb or rolling hills slowly gaining altitude?
If a single steady climb there's not a tremendous amount you can do. Try to keep the rpms steady, don't pass, drop your speed as slow as you can stand.

If rolling hills there's a bit more you can do. I allow speed to gain by gliding down the hills. Then I slowly accelerate to allow the ICE rpms to gain before I start the uphill section. What you want to avoid is letting speed and rpm drop on the initial part of the hill then suddenly have the cruise control try to regain your set speed by giving a wide-open-throttle condition with high rpms....that's a huge MPG killer. Sometimes on steep sections you need high (4000 or so) rpm, but it's better to slowly push the car to those higher rpms than to have it suddenly jump up.

Evan Fusco, MD
'04 BC/Seaside
Nixa, MO http://greenhybrid.com/compare/milea.../signature.png
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2008, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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Default Re: Mountain Driving

there are a couple climbs that are steady and long. the downslopes are quite a bit shorter and I find myself having to accelerate through them sometimes. I thought I might be putting the wrong gas in the car, but there seems to be a consensus about which gas to put and that's what I've been doing.

Thanks for the help!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2008, 09:39 PM
 
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Default Re: Mountain Driving

Last year I was in California and rented a Prius from Avis in Ontario (San Bernardino area). We went up and back down to Big Bear Lake twice in one week. That's a 8000 feet plus climb.

First time we went slow because the wife was with me. We did 37 mpg this way. The second time I was by myself and decided to push the Prius to see how fast she'd climb. I found it it climbs very strongly due to the traction motor. Speeds were not too high, from 35 to 50 mph, as it's a very winding road, and I was definitely pushing the Prius - the little engine was working hard; on straights I'd nearly floor it, then brake hard for the corners. In many curves I had the VSC acting up.

I had more chances to charge the batteries gong up fast as I had to brake for the curves, when I was driving slower a few days before I hardly had to brake at all. In the end I did 45 mpg driving fast. Both times I zeroed the MFD gas consumption screen about the same point before start.

So I'd say that f it is a windy uphill road you're better off driving faster, so you can use the braking opportunities to regen some power for the electrical motor. On a straight uphill you might be better off driving slower.

On the way down from Big Bear I did 99 mpg for a long time. I can't recall when the ICE kicked in going down. My overall mpg after getting down was 78 mpg!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 10:21 AM
 
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Default Re: Mountain Driving

Emphasizing one point: don't be afraid to floor the engine during a climb. It will scream while it provides the requested power but the computers won't let it redline or otherwise hurt itself.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
 
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Default Re: Mountain Driving

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Originally Posted by richard schumacher
Emphasizing one point: don't be afraid to floor the engine during a climb. It will scream while it provides the requested power but the computers won't let it redline or otherwise hurt itself.

Thanks for that. I've heard her complain some when I was pushing a little on the upswing and got a little worried I was mistreating her.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 11:52 AM
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Default Re: Mountain Driving

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Originally Posted by alrodrigu
Quote:
Originally Posted by richard schumacher
Emphasizing one point: don't be afraid to floor the engine during a climb. It will scream while it provides the requested power but the computers won't let it redline or otherwise hurt itself.

Thanks for that. I've heard her complain some when I was pushing a little on the upswing and got a little worried I was mistreating her.
While I fully concur that it will do no harm, I want to emphasis that it's far better (fuel efficiency wise) to avoid that condition (screaming high rpm/wide open throttle) by gradually increasing the RPM and even letting the speed fall off a bit. I have some very steep hills here in the Ozarks and can't recall every needing to go higher than 4300rpm and I work very hard to keep the rpm at or below 3000 as efficiency drops off quickly (even if not in wide open throttle condition) above 3000 rpm...but sometimes you have to just to make the climb.

Evan Fusco, MD
'04 BC/Seaside
Nixa, MO http://greenhybrid.com/compare/milea.../signature.png
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2008, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Default Re: Mountain Driving

You got me. I'm a n00b. How do you view the RPMs?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-29-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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Default Re: Mountain Driving

You install a third-party fanatic hobbyist computer monitor tool like a ScamBus or a CANgauge or somethin'. Normal people do not need to worry about Prius engine RPM :_>
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