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Lately I have been noticing that no matter what habits I display when driving (slow and steady OR jackrabbit with a lead foot, my battery is not charging all the way. A couple times it's even gotten down to the last two bars (purple) When I notice it THAT low, it freaks me out and I end up driving through So Cal with no lights, radio off, climate systems off (in near 90 degree heat btw) dropping my speed to exactly the speed limit or a little below and breaking 1/2 mile ahead of time to get a bit of a recharge. I've never driven where the battery has completely drained, but I'm wondering what would be causing it to not charge back up to full when I turn EVERYTHING off except the engine. Afterall, the fullest I've seen it in a LONG time is three bars down.
 

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And that's about all it will do, unless/until you coast down a really long hill. The car is giving itself charging headroom for just such a case. Also, restricting the charge range to roughly 30% to 70% of capacity increases battery life. In other words, All is well. Remain calm.
 

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What you have observed is totally normal.

Seeing 8 bars is extremely rare in non-mountain regions. So don't plan on it.

Reaching 0 bars is virtually impossible, since even without any bars showing it isn't actually dead. The display doesn't show you the full range, only the range most used.

And even if you were to stay in the "pink" (2 bars) range for awhile, it isn't going to hurt anything... or for that matter, impair anything. The engine will just run instead. That's the beauty of having a "full" hybrid like Prius. (The "mild" hybrids aren't as fortunate. There are a few unique circumstances where you actually can have issues. But even those are pretty rare.)

Most of the time, you will be in the 4 to 6 bar range.
 

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Ran mine down to 2 bars the other weekend; left my wife in the car with the A/C on while I used the ATM. Comfort vs. efficiency; which is partly why my MPG is lower at the moment than I'd prefer to see... :p
 

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TechnoMage said:
Ran mine down to 2 bars the other weekend; left my wife in the car with the A/C on while I used the ATM. Comfort vs. efficiency; which is partly why my MPG is lower at the moment than I'd prefer to see... :p
...or, another way to put it:

Wife's comfort level is directly proportional to the level of peace and quiet on the home front, right?

..er, did I say that correctly? I'm not really sure!
 

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BIF said:
TechnoMage said:
Ran mine down to 2 bars the other weekend; left my wife in the car with the A/C on while I used the ATM. Comfort vs. efficiency; which is partly why my MPG is lower at the moment than I'd prefer to see... :p
...or, another way to put it:

Wife's comfort level is directly proportional to the level of peace and quiet on the home front, right?

..er, did I say that correctly? I'm not really sure!
Close enough; besides, she's got the 2003 I bought last year, so that has to count for something - although she's making the (rest of the) payments. ;)
 

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Glad to see this thread... and the reassurances about the battery bars. This past week, I've been a bit nervous because there HAS been a change in the way the car's apparently working (I wrote elsewhere about the thing genuinely seeming to *learn*! Well - this may be another case in point... maybe.... LOL!)

We took the car to the top of Crater Lake mountain in Oregon -- and on the way down, of course it topped out on the green bars (literally)... and on a few more of the long down hills it would top out as well, after that. BUT - now we've been home on the comparative flats of southern California... and the battery, I would swear, is tending to stay in the top half virtually all the time now, from time to time going up to all BUT the very top green bar, but into the green non-the-less... and nada a hill in sight. Generally - it's running just fine... On the last three gallons or so of gas, running maybe 4 mpg less than "usual" before... but there's more to go yet and it does seem to be shifting upwards towards it's normal 44 - 46 mpg typical for California driving ... but I have sure been wondering about those green bars with no down hill to account for it...

SO question is this: -- someone said there was no real worry if it spends some time in the pink bottom bars (which I'm VERY grateful to know about)... but is there much to worry if it spends time in the green ones, do you think? Dealer (whom I trust) says he think's it may be just getting more "efficient" as time goes by and it works in... (oh - it's at around 3,600 miles now) -- he says most of what he hears, the bars rarely go over half level! Any thoughts? Insights?

Muchly appreciated! :D
 

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^^ staying in green is a bonus!!

The car will try to get rid of that access energy because it likes to stay in the Blue bars by using more electric power than gas power, and when it does that, you can just see your MPG keep going up and up even on heavy accelerations, it wont drop below 30ish, where as if the battery is low, during heavy accelerations my current MPG reader went down to 12 ;)
 

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I have noticed that on looong, flat stretches of 40 MPH (it's different each day, though, never exactly the same speed twice in a row) driving with no wind, traffic, or red-lights, I too, can make my battery display go to green (all but one bar lit).

I think the thing to recognize is that the computer is programmed to change its "bias" or "favor", depending on the SOC (state of charge).

The farther above "half" it gets, the more it will favor electric assist or full-out electric power.

The farther below "half" it gets, the more it will favor ICE power + charging.

In my experience, it will often "go green" if I've been driving flat for a period of time, while maintaining a speed that allows charging to take place. Likewise, it will "go green" if I have been driving while it's charging, then suddenly, I go down a hill or off a long expressway ramp, suddenly causing more regen than the computer may have expected. Regardless of how it gets there, once it "goes green," it really changes its mind, and wants to discharge that battery. In fact, it's quite stubborn about it, because it's hard to make it "stay green" for very long.

Also in my experience, I find that it will often "go red" if I've been running the AC while parked, or if I have just started it cold and accellerate to the point of using a lot of electric assist (particularly since I like to drive "stealth" just before parking it for a long period, usually discharging the battery to 50% or less). But just as in my prior paragraph, I have noted that once it "goes red", it tends to really become resistant to discharging the battery any further. Again, the word "stubborn" comes to mind, because it seemingly only agrees to shut the ICE off at a dead stop or once the battery has gained a little charge to at least get it out of the "red zone."

You can "fool" it from time to time, but yes, I agree with the comments here that it generally likes to favor the dead-center on the battery. Personally, I think this is an indicator of a good bit of programming and design.
 

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learned the hard way

i just finished a 2000-plus road trip.

during a particularly twisty, mountainy portion....i ran out of gas!

now....i've had the car for about 4 months and feel quite familiar with my car's personality....especially the gas gauge.

however....i now am a firm believer in many posts i've seen here about the gas gauge: IT AIN'T ACCURATE.

it had just started blinking -- the final little square -- and then.....the car suddenly decelerated rapidly...while every dash light possible blasted on.

well....i won't even get into the hassle and lack of service from toyota roadside assistance....but suffice to say....i ended up using my insurance company's roadside service to tow the car to the nearest toyota dealership.

to make a long story short....i've come to realize that the charge in the battery is CRUCIAL to seeing top performance from the car. it was something i'd never paid much attention to. i was always focussed on the MPG. now, though, i'm looking at the battery charge display. the MPG will take care of itself.

so...from virtually no indicators showing on the charge....i carefully drove and, on the trip home, had it peaked out several times. now, it seems, the car is very happy to keep itself above half...in the blue...all the time.

whew.
 

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I need help from you techno folks. Let's talk battery-talk. Today I kept the energy screen on (not the comsuption screen.) My battery usually has purple bars It probably always "lives" with two bars down.

Today I noticed that my bars were green. I have to admit-- I do not look at this screen that often. I live in St. Louis where it is hot. Using the AC is not a luxury. It is a necessity. As I drove tonight, my green bars went up! But after a while, I had my usual picture: purple bars- 2 bars down from the top.

Explain colors. I understand the green. Green is always something good. What does "purple" mean?

And will someone discuss the salmon and gold arrows that go from the batteries to the wheels??? Let's talk colors on the energy diagram screen. I understand anything green. Please, someone, explain the other colors. Bless you for your kind explanation!
 

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john1701a said:
There is not any real meaning to the colors. They just contrast each other really well, that's all.

The purpose of color is to reduce the need to count bars. The contrast helps achieve that.
Not true. The gold and salmon colored arrows do mean something. As I recall, the gold arrows seem to appear when the wheels are working off the synergy of the electric backup battery. The salmon arrows appear to show when we are using gas. And green, of course, means GREAT. We are coasting and generating electricity and pumping up our battery. Anyone else out there who can help us?
 

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jsp said:
Glad to see this thread... and the reassurances about the battery bars. This past week, I've been a bit nervous because there HAS been a change in the way the car's apparently working (I wrote elsewhere about the thing genuinely seeming to *learn*! Well - this may be another case in point... maybe.... LOL!)
Have had my car for 1.5 months now, and I am also convinced it is *learning* , as I am seeing green (full) battery more often, and the blue bars seldom go below 1/3. And this is during summer when we have highs near 90F almost every day! The only time my battery display got down to pink was on the 2nd day I had the car, sitting in the driveway trying to program the %$#@ navigation system.

--or maybe the car is training me....
:wink:
 

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I get mine to "touch green" at least two of every three days I drive my car.

And I get it to "touch red" at least as often, sometimes on the same days, sometimes on different days.

As I mentioned earlier, it never stays at either point for very long.
 
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