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Discussion Starter #1
Can people share their experiences here? I believe the previous version of the Prius had a reputation for running out of battery power and then dogging it in the right lane on long uphills. How is the latest Prius? Any experience taking it from Denver to the ski areas or on similar long uphill drives? Can it maintain 65-70 mph for 45 minutes on an uphill grade?
 

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Don't know about out west, but I've gone up Sandstone mountain on I64 outside Beckley ( about 7 mile climb) with the cruise set at 80. No problem. Coming back down was the only time I've ever seen the battery indicator all green.
 

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Re: Mountain driving performance

You won't have problems driving your Prius in the mountains.

My 2002 Prius has been up & down the California Sierra mountains several times, and driven roundtrip from CA to Maine without any problems.

Enjoy your Prius, and have a safe trip!

- Peter
CA "MO MPG"
 

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Mountain Driving in Colorado Rockies

I was going to refer you to some other posts on Colorado mountain driving, but I think they were lost when this site got hacked a few weeks ago.

My wife and I have driven extensively in the Colorado Rockies, including Trail Ridge Road, Pikes Peak and around Breckenridge, Frazier and Granby. Our 2002 Prius handled Pikes Peak (14,110 feet?) and Trail Ridge Road (a little lower) fine. The only minor inconvenience was approaching the Eisenhower Tunnel from the west on I70, coming out of Dillon.

That is a long steep grade, and the batteries ran out about 2/3 of the way up. However, we were able to hold the speed limit on ICE only, passing semi's and RV's with caution (since there was not much reserve passing power). And, the batteries recharged within a couple of miles on the downhill side going into Denver.

I consider this one minor inconvenience for only a mile or two in 48,000 miles of driving the Prius. We have been over the Grape Vine north of LA on I-5, most of the mountains in Arizona, many of the National Parks in southern Utah (including Bryce, Zion, Arches and Monument Valley -- all relatively flat), and over many of the mountain passes in New Mexico; all without any difficulties.

In fact, on all grades except the western approach to the Eisenhower Tunnel, we were able to pass at will. And, even on this stretch, our Prius overtook many "ordinary" vehicles having difficulty with the altitude and grade.

I don't think you have to worry about driving a Prius in the mountains...
 

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Re: Mountain driving performance

Oh, and in addition to my previous comment:

Not only won't you have any problem driving your Prius in the mountains, if you observe the speed limit (+- about 10 MPH), you'll get the best average miles-per-gallon you'll _ever_ get in your Prius while doing mountain driving. All those "free" downhill miles really add up! At least, that's been my experience.

Again, have a safe trip, and watch out for those sharp curves! ;-)

- Peter
CA "MO MPG"
2002 White Prius
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, everybody, especially Phoenix for that detailed account. I agree that the approach to Eisenhower tunnel is about as tough as it gets!
 

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My '05 went over the Grape Vine without a complaint only a week after I got it! I won't say it got great mileage going up, but it easily held a steady 70mph speed and the battery never discharged completely. Going down we did get some of the "rough" running to burn off battery charge that I read about here, but all in all it did better than some of the vehicles we passing...
 

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I drove across several mountain ranges this weekend here in British Columbia, driving from Vancouver on the coast up various valleys and across passes to a town a few hundred kilometers inland. There were three people in the car and a full trunk. Going the speed limit (ranging from 80 - 110 kph, or from ~50 to ~70 mph) there was no problem.

Only once did I notice the car slowing down. I was returning to the coast, with only two people in the car and a lighter load in the back, by a route called the Okanagan Connector out of Kelowna going westward, which has a long, steep climb up to the plateau. I had set the cruise control to 120 kph (~75 mph), which is admittedly a notch or two above the speed limit. For quite a while (maybe an hour?) it did fine, then I noticed that gradually the speed was reducing, reaching a low of about 109 kph. I checked the screen that shows the battery level, and sure enough, I was down to one pink bar, the lowest I've yet seen the battery. Once the road began to level off, the speed picked up again until reaching the preset. The battery got charged up to its usual level fairly quickly as well.

I don't know if the speed reduction represented an actual performance limit, or was really the computer trying to avoid draining the battery. I didn't override the cruise control to find out, because shortly after that we'd reached the plateau and the speed picked up again on its own.
 

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Mountain driving

I take mine up to Silverthorn all the time. It's not neccessarily a "left lane" car but it can keep up if you want it to. I usually do 70+ all the way. The battery does dry up pretty quickly past Morrison and the gaas engine is pretty loud but it doesn't drop speed too much. It gets about 20 mgp up the hill. The battery gets a good charge coming down Floyd Hill but then drains again past Georgetown. All in all, it does very well. Coming down I've had all the bars at 99.9 across the board too. You can coast most of the way. You can also do 90 with light pressure on the accelerator and still charge the battery and get 99.9 MPG for a good stretch. By the time I get all the way back to denver my average is in the 48 range.
 

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I just had no problem crossing the Rockies in Wyoming at a constant 80+ MPH last week. I've had no problems driving up to ski areas in Oregon at 65 MPH.
 
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